Hard Case begins in a back alley warehouse in East Oakland, CA, where Harding fights for money, and to keep his skills honed, coupled with the fact he likes it. Harding does odd jobs with the only guy he trusts implicitly, his handler and manager, Tommy Sands. They bodyguard, escort tourists around the Bay Area, and do bail bond, skip trace work for a lawyer named Tess Connagher.
Two events throw Harding's seamy life in the shadows out into the light. Strobert is ordered to enlist Tess Connagher's law firm to act as an intermediary with Harding in order to protect an outspoken Afghani woman whose family Harding protected long ago. The woman's father requested him, and the state department realizes they'll be off the hook if anything happens to Samira Karim while under Harding's care. Secondly, Harding fights a particularly brutal fight with a Russian mob backed fighter named Van Rankin who hates Harding. They'd had words.
The YouTube video of Harding's subsequent beat-down of Rankin goes viral along with many of his prior fights. When Rankin's Russian mobster backer, Alexi Fiialkov pushes for a rematch on the UFC circuit, CIA Agent Strobert sees infinite possibilities since the United Arab Emirates has part ownership in the UFC. Some matches would be taking place in Dubai, where the CIA knows targets of opportunity show up from time to time.
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If John dies at the end, there will be blood!
Kevin Pierce really brought the characters to life, and hit all the right notes in menace and humor! Pretty cool!
John of course. Tess really got on my nerves sometimes, and she never stopped through all the other books. Can I bitch slap her?
The Dark Lord was awesome! I laughed so hard people were staring when I was in public! I also really loved Al, and The Cleaner, Director, Crewella, I'll call her whatever she wants!
It made me laugh, and made me cheer when the idiots were dealt with with extreme prejudice! Mr Deleo pulls no punches, and I really like that he hits so hard!
As stated before, if John dies at the end, there will be blood!! Keep them coming, hurry up I'm waiting!!!
- SA Shay
Episodic, but full of fun and action
John Harding was fun - a hard guy, but not as morose a Reacher. He has friends and a team too. Like the Detachment with John Raine. Some of the episodes needed to be tied in better. But it was a great listen.
Barry Eisler's John Raine is similar, but Eisler has had more time to develop as a writer. On the other hand, Harding has more fight scenes.