Friday, May 10, 2013

Point and Shoot

Duane Swierczynski
Point and Shoot

Mulholland Books/Mulholland UK, 2013

I should immediately warn you: Point and Shoot should be read only after if you are familiar with the previous two books of the trilogy. This third book about Charlie Hardie does not really work as a stand alone novel, which, if read in isolation from the previous books of the series, will not have much sense.

For the same reason, write a review on Point and Shoot is pretty hard: a reviewer every time is risking to step on the minefield of spoilers. Those who have read the first and second books already know what happened to Charlie Hardie before he, at the beginning of the third book, found himself on the Earth's orbit. Those who have not read previous books, you’d better run and get Fun and Games and Hell and Gone as soon as possible.

The first novel of the series was not for me not just one of the best thrillers of 2011, but one of the best thrillers ever written. Duane Swierczynski’s imagination knocks you down, and the novel could justly be called the King of the Pageturners. Hell and Gone had a very different pace: the novel was important as part of the whole story, but on its own was a disappointing read. The author went too far with the melodrama, and the book smelled of cardboard and stupidity.

The third book was to be decisive: Will Swierczynski be on the level of the first book, or will fail, as in the case of the second? Point and Shoot is a worthy conclusion of the trilogy, but still not up to the level of Fun and Games. In the first two books Swierczynski used so many unexpected twists that it seemed there’d not left any for the third. Certainly not. In Point and Shoot imagination is bursting, so there will be enough surprises for a few more books. Having started the book on the orbit of the Earth, Unkillable Chuck as a meteorite will rush to Earth to save his family.

Disappointing point in the novel is only that a sense of fatalism disappeared, which was plenty in the first book. The plot wobbles, twists surprise, Charlie is striking in its indestructibility, but from the very first pages it becomes clear how the book will end.

And hard to read lines like these with a straight face:

«Hardie decided he wanted a beer. Like, yeah, right now. It was the morning in Philadelphia, but it was afternoon here in space. He should have insisted that they install a cooler in this damned thing, maybe arrange for monthly shipments of quarter-kegs or even a couple of six-packs. Beer is packed with nutrients, right? If you're going to stick a guy in a tin can, at least give him a couple of cans to open every now and again.
But no. The satellite was too small for such an extravagance as a beer. »

However, the trilogy is complete. BOOM! It’s your own fault, if you haven’t read it yet.

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