Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Fun & Games

Duane Swierczynski

Fun & Games

Mulholland Books UK, 2011

Lane Madden, third-rate actress, drives on Hollywood highway to unwind and breathe the air, when a psychopath begins to pursue her. Miraculously surviving the accident, Madden seeks salvation and gets into one of the empty houses in Hollywood Hills. By coincidence, soon in this house arrives Charlie Hardie, an ex-cop, now a man with a curious profession – he is a housesitter. Hardie, for a few years after the massacre of his partner and his family by Albanian mobsters, has been flying across the United States, guarding expensive houses of the rich, while they are away. The next gig is also not going to be anything extraordinary, just watch old movies and drink beer all day. But in the house Hardie meets an intruder - Madden, armed with a mic stand. The actress thinks that Hardie is one of Them, and almost kills him in self-defense. THEY are The Accident People. When the housesitter has still convinced the actress that he is not one of Them, but simply has come to watch the house during the absence of the owner, he understands that these professional hitmans will not leave alive neither him nor the actress.

If you've read once about a book that it is a page-turner and endless action, then it was a lie. Because compared to the «Fun & Games» other books may seem a snail runs. The action begins with the first page and does not stop at all. The heroes of the book have an opportunity to think only on the run, on the walk, crawling on all fours, in a jump, in the car chase. By heroes, I mean not only Hardie and Madden, but The Accident People as well. The narrative changes from Hardie’s point of view and from The Accident People’s point of view. And the mysterious killers have to come up with more and more ingenious plans to assassinate an actress, along with Hardie, that is him who puts a spoke in the wheel of well-functioning mechanism.

You might think «Fun & Games» is just another shooter. And it's true. But what is wrong with this shooting, if the author has one hundred aces up his sleeve and he is a crooked gambler. Moreover, «Fun & Games» is a science-fiction crime novel, and it is possible that the final book of the trilogy will show us that that it is not even sci-fi, but fantasy. There were quite a lot of successful hybrids of crime and fantasy in recent years, but this hybrid is absolutely original. Fantastic elements allow Swierczynski invent more and more new plot twists. Here, indeed, there is fun and games. Swierczynski is able to make his characters run. The fact that this is only the first book of the trilogy says only that the author has shown not all of his possibilities.

Hardie himself is far from original. He is an ex-cop who after the shooting of his partner and his family, refused to contact with his own family, safely hid it, so that what happened to his partner, has not repeated with Hardy. But what happens with Hardie and how he has managed to end up in such a story, this is a highly original and sometimes extremely funny.

People should build queues in shops to buy «Fun & Games».


  1. Moral of the story..."too many Grisslies spoil the pot"

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  3. Yes great idea they should really form queues to buy Fun Games.