Monday, August 25, 2008

Book Review: David Karp, Hardman (1953)

Hardman is more of a character study than a crime story, but there is never that much character to study. The title character, Jack Hardman, is an infamous, best-selling, hard-boiled writer whose demon is sadism. Readers are not meant to like Hardman. Perhaps they are meant to be intrigued or fascinated. But his character is too one-dimensional for that. He enters the book a sadistic punk, he leaves the book a sadistic punk, and there is nothing much interesting about him in between. Oddly, it is the characters who surround Hardman--his agent, his editor, his woman, his hangers-on, his reading public--who give this book its interest. Grade: C-

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