Once a special consultant to the Philadelphia Police Department entrusted with critical, off the radar jobs, Charlie Hardie’s life went off the rails when a job went spectacularly wrong resulting in several deaths. Now Charlie spends his time moving from one house-sitting job to another. His clients are wealthy people with cushy houses in desirable locations, the latest of which belongs to a movie composer who lives in the Hollywood Hills.
He gets more than expected this time out, however, when doing a walk-thru upon arrival he finds a wild-eyed young woman hiding in the house. Apparently strung out on drugs, she keeps babbling about how “they” are trying to kill her, accusing Charlie of being one of “them.” Though he finds it a little too coincidental that the power goes out shortly after he arrives and neither of their phones can get a signal, he’s not quite ready to believe there’s a group of assassins outside on a mission to kill some junkie…though she looks sorta familiar.
Turns out there’s a reason for that. Charlie finally realizes the woman is Lane Madden, a well-known young Hollywood actress. She explains that she broke into the house after getting away from some people who ran her car off the road then injected her with drugs to try and make it look like she crashed after OD’ing. Ok, Charlie thinks, so she’s not some random junkie. She’s a cokehead, paranoid, B-List actress. And he’s still not buying that there are people outside waiting to kill her. Wanting to prove that to her, Charlie decides to go outside despite Lane’s frantic pleas that he not open the door. You know, he really should have listened to her.
Suffice it to say “The Accident People” really are outside, and they most definitely want to kill Lane. And now that Charlie’s blundered into the mix screwing up their carefully laid plans, they’re not really keen on him continuing to breathe either. Author Duane Swierczynski has really outdone himself with Fun & Games, as Charlie’s decision to open the door sets off a chain of events that soon have him making the aforementioned observation about how quickly things can spin out of control.
A reluctant hero, Charlie would really prefer just to watch old movies and drink until he passes out, but he’s more than capable of rising to the challenges Swierczynski sets out for him. And this being a Swierczynski novel, those challenges are numerous and the action is high octane. Before all is said and done beating, impaling, tazing, shooting, chemical poisoning, and drowning will all be involved. Among other nastiness.
Fun & Games is the explosive start of what promises to be an action trilogy for the ages. Cruel, cruel man that he is, Swiercznyski ends Fun & Games on a cliffhanger that will have you ready to storm his house to get your hands on the next book, Hell and Gone, which is set for an October 31st release. The final book, Point and Shoot, is scheduled for March 2012. — EAW
Fun & Games is available from Mulholland Books (ISBN: 978-0316133289). Though the official release date is June 20th, word on the street is that Amazon is already shipping.
Coming Tomorrow: A guest post from the man himself, Duane Swierczynski.