Fun & Games by Duane Swierczynski

Published by Mulholland Books (Hodder) on 23rd June.

I tweeted Duane Swierczynski last night, well at gone 1am this morning in fact.

This is how that went:

@swierczy could you call my boss tomorrow to explain why I’m so tired please?  FUN & GAMES is superb!  Thank you.

@keithbwalters I will call your boss personally if that would help? (Thanks, Keith.  So great to hear.)

And there it is, the changing face of books, the way we read (this was my first downloaded and read novel on my kindle) and the way we can interact with authors old and new and, more often than not, get a personal response.

I’d been told by more than one person that reading on a kindle seems to be quicker than reading a ‘book’ and I’d agree that the technology and the fact that we are all so used to scrolling through screens of texts, emails and tweets means that the pages do seem to rush by quicker on an ebook.

However, I think in the case of Fun & Games, speed reading is just what the book encourages – it cracks along like many a wreckless driver along Mulholland Drive itself, risking throwing the reader off course at various bends and twists along the way.  But, it’s all okay, Swierczynski has a trilogy here, so we can be somewhat safe in the knowledge that we have a safety belt on, and that his great central character, ex-cop and house-sitter Charlie Hardie is coming back and back again.

In the past, Swierczynski (and yes, I’m going for that rather than Duane, just for the typing challenge!) has worked on Marvel comics and episodes of CSI – all of which has clearly given him a great visual style, a love of movies and a real grip on what makes a great story with characters you want to hear about.

Charlie Hardie goes to the Hollywood Hills in the beginning of the novel, setting out for a house-sitting job – what normally equates to a couple of weeks of living in luxury with nothing to do but drink, eat and watch great old movies on DVD.  However, on this occasion his love of movies comes crashing into his real world with the appearance of actress Lane Madden who is in hiding from the ‘Accident People’ who are said to be out to place a hit on her and make it look like anything but a hit.  The ‘Accident People’ are rumoured to have had a hand in many a celebrity death from John Belushi to Marilyn Monroe.

Peppered with great lines, humour and some fantastic quotes at the beginning of each chapter (everything from Ron Burgundy to To Live and Die in LA) this is a pop-culture meets film noir collision right in the centre of the winding Hollywood roads.

Whether it was the humour of the situations or the setting of the stilt house in the hills, I’m not sure, but it made me recall some great Shane Black scripting from the Lethal Weapon movies (another movie that is quoted), with Charlie Hardie leaping from one crazy situation to another, and none of that’s a bad thing.

I won’t spoil the details here, but WHEN you buy the book (and you will) look out for a great solution to one of Charlie’s problems in which he enlists the help of some major action heroes, including Sly Stallone and Gene Hackman – literally Gene-ius!

It’s also the first book I’ve come across which mentions why Mulholland Drive is named that – again, if you don’t know, there’s another reason to buy the book.

The book is dedicated to David Thompson (who the author describes as ‘my ideal reader’)- probably the greatest crime fiction fan and ambassador that the US crime writing community had up until his untimely death last year at just 38 years old.  It’s very sad that he never got to read Fun & Games as I’m sure he would have loved every page of it – it really is, as Mulholland state in their releases brochure a ‘Rollercoaster read’ and I cannot wait to see what Swierczynski puts Hardie through in the two follow up novels ‘Hell & Gone’ (Oct 2011) and ‘Point & Shoot’ (March 2012).

Go on, go get it and have yourself a hell of a lot of Fun with Fun & Games.

Keith

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1 Comment

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One response to “Fun & Games by Duane Swierczynski

  1. Pingback: WIN A CHANCE TO BECOME A MULHOLLAND DRIVER ! « Books and Writers

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