Swierczynski, Duane. Fun and Games.

NY: Mulholland Books, 2011.

This is the first volume in the author’s rather off-the-wall “Charlie Hardie” trilogy, and it’s a doozy. Charlie, now around forty, was never actually a cop but he used to work with the Philadelphia PD on legally questionable crime-fighting assignments. Then everything blew up (almost literally) and his partner (together with his wife and kids) was massacred by a drug gang and Charlie’s own wife and son are in Witness Protection while Charlie himself scratches out a living around the country as a house-sitter.

He lives out of a single suitcase, keeping an eye on expensive properties while he watches old movies, drinks far too much, and waits for his life to wind down.

At the moment, he has a month-long gig up in the Hollywood Hills, but when he goes around to check the doors and windows, he’s suddenly attacked (with a microphone stand) by Lane Madden, a beautiful, young, petite B-level actress who’s hiding out there from Them. Because They are determined to kill her, though she doesn’t know why. “They” turn out to be the “Accident People,” a very professional and very widespread assassination organization whose operatives are largely current and ex-actors and directors. Building and maintaining the narrative is very important to these people, which is how they’ve managed to stay under the radar for so long.

The first encounter between Charlie and Lane sets the stage for their next fifteen hours together, trying to survive after being variously impaled, poisoned, suffocated, tasered, burned, and nearly drowned. Reading the story is like watching a non-stop action-adventure film of the sort Lane specializes in, but then you run up against a startling tragedy and have to re-read the passage and catch your breath. That’s the way Duane writes and it’s addictive.

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Published in: on 18 June 2017 at 10:08 am  Leave a Comment  
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