REVIEW: Fun & Games by Duane SwierczynskiFriday, September 16, 2011 1:00
Sybs passed Fun & Games on to me because she knows that I sometimes read comics. I’m not a big Marvel girl, but I accepted because I had heard of Duane Swierczynski. I didn’t know enough to have expectations, but I had heard of him. It paid off, because there’s plenty of fun to be had in Fun & Games.
The book begins with Lane Madden, a cult actress who loves to drive, particularly on a winding mountain road outside of L. A. A man purposefully wrecks her car and then injects her with drugs. Lane, being awesome, throws smashed glass into his eyes and throws herself over the guardrail. But the man isn’t working alone, and the people trying to kill her aren’t going to be stopped so easily.
Did I mention that Lane is awesome? She is. She keeps a cool head and remembers her stunt classes. She’s not equipped to go face to face with the Accident People, but she’s going to go down fighting. If that means running a man through with a cymbal stand, then so be it.
Fortunately, the house she escapes to is being housesat by ex-cop Charlie Hardie. He’s got baggage, literally and figuratively, but he’s also good at getting out of tight situations. Plus, her would-be assassins are scrambling to figure out how to handle this wrench in their plans. And I’ll admit that Hardie is pretty cool. He’s a bit less exciting than Lane to me because he’s more typical, but he’s intelligent, which is always a big plus in an action hero.
The violence is sometimes too over the top for my taste, but Fun & Games is a modern pulp story. (In a review about a book by a man named Swierczynski, you’d think that would be my spelling problem. No. I keep typing the title as Fun & James, which sounds like a terrible buddy cop movie.) I don’t find the computer geek character’s circumstances as amusing as the book wants me too, but I otherwise enjoyed Swierczynski’s humor. One of my favorite things is the structure – the Accident People get fleshed out, Lane’s and Hardie’s pasts are revealed in due time, and various non sequiturs turn out to have a purpose in the end. It’s nifty to see everything tie together.
I’m looking forward to the next Charlie Hardie thriller in October. Hardie gets himself into some interesting trouble during the course of Fun & Games, and I’m curious to see how he’ll survive.
The first of three explosive pulp thrillers arriving back-to-back from cult crime fiction sensation and Marvel Comics scribe Duane Swierczynski.
Charlie Hardie, an ex-cop still reeling from the revenge killing of his former partner’s entire family, fears one thing above all else: that he’ll suffer the same fate.
Languishing in self-imposed exile, Hardie has become a glorified house sitter. His latest gig comes replete with an illegally squatting B-movie actress who rants about hit men who specialize in making deaths look like accidents. Unfortunately, it’s the real deal. Hardie finds himself squared off against a small army of the most lethal men in the world: The Accident People.
It’s nothing personal-the girl just happens to be the next name on their list. For Hardie, though, it’s intensely personal. He’s not about to let more innocent people die. Not on his watch.
Read an excerpt here.
Other books in this series: