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December 5, 2011 / John Sheridan

Review – Fun & Games by Duane Swierczynski

I read “The Blonde” (Amazon, Amazon UK, Book Depository UK) a couple of years back and that was great – all high paced action and non-stop adrenaline. Fun & Games (Amazon UK) is in a similar vein. The grim mundane reality of everyday life doesn’t even merit a sideways glance here in a novel packed with wicked humour (see some of the quotes below). Caution – there may be some spoilers below.

Charlie Hardie has been watching dvds from the classic period of Hollywood and drowning in booze for the last three years ever since he accidently led some hitmen to the house of his best friend and watched his whole family die. Since then he hasn’t seen his own family and has fallen into a housesitting job that doesn’t require much of him other than the aforementioned dvd’s and booze until today that is when on his latest housesitting job in the Hollywood hills he encounters Lane Madden, an actress with dependency issues of her own which may explain the paranoia. But then again, just maybe they are actually trying to kill her and anyone else, specifically Charlie, that happens to get in the way. Creating the grand conspiracy to beat them all just about everyone and everything is set against Charlie on this one-man mission.

“Hardie had one of his usual take-stock-of-your-current-situation moments and realized he was standing on a downward slope of the Hollywood Hills, surrounded by multimillion-dollar upside-down homes, talking to a topless vigilante / killer. Okay. Just wanted to make sure he had it right.”

“But these motherfuckers weren’t zombies. They were smart. They were determined. They had gear. They had plans. They had ambitions. They had huge breasts. And they had all the time in the world.”

“Hardie took a step back, breathed out, put his palms on his knees. Thought about the events of the day. Women punched in the face: 2. Men thrown off something high: 2. Hardie was nothing if not consistent.”

“AD2 turned to see Hardie’s eyes glaring back up at him, and a blood-spattered face that now twisted into a wicked grin, and then there were three miniature explosions ripping through AD2’s body and he was floating in the air and the house tumbled around him and then, all too late, he remembered his gun, in his hand, which would have been really useful about two seconds ago.”

It’s a hell of an enjoyable ride with Charlie courtesy of Duane Swierczynski and while it may not be too taxing of a read sometimes pure escapism is exactly what you need particularly with a last line that sets up the next installment perfectly. It works for me anyway so next up I’m jumping straight into part two of the

Charlie Hardie trilogy – Hell & Gone (Amazon UK).

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