Publisher: Mysterious Press
Publication Date: 1999
Book Condition: Fine
Dust Jacket Condition: As New
Signed: Signed by Author(s)
Edition: First Edition.
Signed by Author 0892965932 This hardcover book is square and tight. The boards and spine have no wear with pristine gilt. The pages and endpages are clean, with no markings or folds. The dustjacket is As New. Original Price is intact. Not ex-lib. No remainder mark. Signed by the Author on the title page and dated 9/20/99 with the following non-personalized inscription: "Do you think we can say this puts you between a rock and a hard case?" (all in his hand). Bookseller Inventory # 002315
Synopsis: Pierce Duncan, a young man just out of Notre Dame, sets off for the roads & rails of postwar America. It leads to strange & fateful meetings with individuals along the way; the most influential encounter is with a hard-nosed private eye who changes Pierce's life forever, leading him to San Francisco, where he must decide his ultimate path.
Review: Joe Gores, who has won the Mystery Writers of America's Edgar Award three times in his long career, says about his latest book, "In Cases I have tried to mix fact and fiction so thoroughly that nobody--not even myself--can now untangle them." No wonder this wide-ranging saga of a young man's entry into the life of a San Francisco private detective has a fragmented, often familiar feel to it. Bits of real life and enhanced memory seem to have become mixed up with the many films noir that Pierce Duncan enjoys on his journey from Notre Dame to Baghdad by the Bay.
There's the Georgia chain-gang movie, where convicts murder a cruel guard; the Las Vegas crime-and-boxing movie, where an honest pug dies rather than throwing a fight; the Los Angeles religious cult movie, where a young man finds love among the loonies. And finally, there's the movie that Gores has been acting out, and writing down so well, for most of his professional life: the San Francisco private-eye film: part homage to Hammett, but mostly his own richly detailed vision of the world of skip-tracers, hired guns, sexy dames named April and Sherry, and corruptible gumshoes like the memorable Drinker Cope.
Cases may be a less-than-perfect novel, but it's definitely a valuable addition to our knowledge of Gores. It reads best as the source of local color for his greatest hits--from Hammett and Dead Skip to the more recent Menaced Assassin and Contract Null & Void. --Dick Adler
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