Thursday, April 12, 2012

Bookish Thoughts: Fun & Games by Duane Swierczynski

Runner-Up for the Independent Literary Awards Mystery Category:

Fun & Games by Duane Swierczynski
Mulholland Books, 2011
Crime Fiction; 304 pgs

From the Publisher:
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.

And I thought The Two Deaths of Daniel Hayes was high octane. Wow. Fun & Games is even more so. And like Sakey's book, Fun and Games is also movie perfect--plenty of action with high suspense.

My husband was excited to see this title among the Independent Literary Award short-listed nominees for the Mystery category. He is familiar with the author in his capacity as a comic book writer. That made me even more curious, although I really had no idea what to expect. From page one, I had trouble tearing myself away from the book when I had to. It didn't help that the chapters often ended with little teasers leading me straight into the next chapter. I have a love/hate relationship with those types of chapter breaks. I tend to read on, not even noticing I'm going from one chapter to the next--something that hampers finding a good stopping point. Of course, with chapter endings like that there is no good stopping point, is there? The author really knows how to build on suspense, creating an intense read.

I was caught up in the Hollywood landscape. Swierczynski did a good job of setting up his characters and the story as well as in creating his version of L.A. I love it when an author researches the area he writes about, adding in a little history here and there. It ties me a little closer to the setting, making the story more real.

I really am not sure what else to say about this novel in terms of content, frankly. As cliche as it sounds, with every new chapter, it was like peeling back the layers of an onion. To say much at all about the content of the story or the characters would be to give too much away.
I will say that I really liked Hardie. He comes across as a nice guy trying to do the right thing. He is very hard on himself, especially because of his past. It colors just about everything he does. He is up against some very deadly people who are not only cunning but smart. I couldn't help but wonder what it would be like in Hollywood if The Accident People truly did exist. Parts of the book seemed to be taken straight from the headlines, including the B-rated actress, Lane, who reminded me a lot of Lindsay Lohan.

Believability? With books like this, who cares? I had no trouble losing myself in the story and setting aside my disbelief. Swierczynski proved he is a talented writer who can take me out of my own life for awhile and transport me into the pages of his book.

The book did slow down for me a little towards the end, but just a tad. The climax was well worth the wait. I can't wait to get my hands on the second book in the trilogy.

You can learn more about Duane Swierczynski and his books on the author's website.

Source: I personally purchased an e-copy of this book.

© 2012, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved.If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.


  1. Oh, I am so excited that you loved this one, because I bought it after reading Kathy's wonderful review! I need to read this one soon. It sounds like it would pull me out of a reading slump and really get my blood pumping! Excellent review today! I am so thrilled that I have this book waiting for me!

  2. I definitely had to suspend disbelief with this book but it didn't matter since it was so much fun!

  3. Even though this doesn't sound like my toe of book, I get a feeling that my oldest son would love it! I'm going to see if a Kindle version is available so I can gift it to him in Okinawa!

  4. I'm definitely going to have to read this one! It sounds like my type of read for sure :) I hadn't heard of it before now but I'm looking forward to reading it. Great review!

  5. I am completely unfamiliar with this book and the author but I love a book with plenty of action and high suspense as well as one that is hard to stop once you start reading! I haven't read many books set in Hollywood and I like that the author researched the area bit, it just adds that extra bit of interesting to the story!
    I love your review and am excited to get my hands on this book!

  6. Sounds like a guilty pleasure read or at least for me it will be!


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