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Fun and Games (Charlie Hardie #1) [Kindle Edition]

Duane Swierczynski
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (87 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $14.99
Kindle Price: $9.99
You Save: $5.00 (33%)
Sold by: Hachette Book Group

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Book Description

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.


Editorial Reviews

Review

"Duane Swierczynski is a much-needed breath of fresh air in the book world. Sure, he starts with established archetypes and classic story lines. But he makes them new and making them new makes them fun. This guy is a great storyteller. I never know what he is going to come up with or where he is going to take me. I just know I won't be complaining about a thing once I get there." (Michael Connelly )

"Insanely entertaining." (Josh Bazell, author of the New York Times bestseller Beat the Reaper )

"So bloody satisfying." (Booklist )

"Breathless action. So much fun to read-on the couch or on the run." (Marilyn Stasio, The New York Times Book Review )

"Brilliant ... one hell of a roller coaster read. Mr. Swierczynski writes like Elmore Leonard on adrenaline and speed." (New York Journal of Books )

"With Fun & Games, Swierczynski has pushed his style to its farthest extreme yet, and from the looks of things, the rest of the trilogy is going to go even further; he has the chops pull it off like the perfect heist." (Los Angeles Review of Books )

"Swierczynski steps on the gas early in this pulse-pounding contemporary thriller and doesn't let up . . . an unforgettable climax . . . the sequel's appearance won't be too soon for many readers." (Publishers Weekly (starred review) )

"A load of high octane taught action. Readers who like their action fast, brutal, and smart, as well as fans of the Die Hard franchise, will be eagerly awaiting the next installment." (Library Journal )

"More exciting than whatever you're reading right now, this is Duane's breakout novel." (Ed Brubaker, Harvey- and Eisner-Award-winning author of Criminal and Incognito )

"A white-hot nuclear explosion." (Joe R. Lansdale, Edgar Award-winning author of The Bottoms, Leather Maiden, and the Hap and Leonard series )

"Cool, suspenseful, tragic, and funny as hell, Fun and Games is Duane Swierczynski's best yet. I haven't had this much fun reading in a long time." (Sara Gran, author of Dope and Come Closer )

"An audacious, propulsive thrill ride that kidnapped me on page one and didn't look back." (Brian Azzarello, Harvey- and Eisner-Award-winning author of 100 Bullets and Loveless )

Review

'Swierczynski steps on the gas early in this pulse-pounding contemporary thriller, the first of a trilogy, and doesn't let up...The sequel's appearance won't be too soon for many readers.' -- Publishers Weekly Starred Review 'A high octane, cinematic delight that uses film techniques of fast pace and quick cuts and highly visual scenes to rivet the reader to their chair. I loved it' -- Joe R. Lansdale 'A hip, dead smart novel, an entertaining start to what promises to be an addictive action trilogy' -- Australian 'Packs enough indestructible villains to satisfy a "Die Hard" fan, and each chapter ends on a cliffhanger...Written in deadpan sentences and funny as can be, this first installment of a projected trilogy left me greedy for more.' -- Bloomberg 'Cool, suspenseful, tragic, and funny as hell...I haven't had this much fun reading in a long time.' -- Sara Gran, author of Dope and Come Closer 'A furiously paced tale that cries out to be filmed' -- Canberra Times 'Reads like a Quentin Tarantino movie on speed, full of high-octane action, flying by at a breakneck pace, not for the faint of heart, but also with plenty of humor' -- CNN.com

Product Details

  • File Size: 742 KB
  • Print Length: 296 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: B00969ZBNC
  • Publisher: Mulholland Books; 1 edition (June 20, 2011)
  • Sold by: Hachette Book Group
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00486UCX2
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #243,207 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
35 of 36 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Pulp/noir sometimes has a tendency to become an oppressively dark read. Duane's novels have always had a great balance of fun and action to balance this out, and Fun & Games is no exception. This novel seems to be almost playful at times, yet still maintains an ominous tone that leads to moments of intense literary tension. I sat down to read a chapter and ended up reading though the entire night. So far this has quickly become my favorite novel of the year, and I anxiously look forward to the next two books in the series!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fast-paced and Back to Form July 16, 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Gotta admit that "Expiration Date" took me a long time to get through - though the payoff was great - but I charged through Fun and Games like there was no tomorrow. This is Swierczynski at his best. Relentless action. Non-stop adrenaline rush. And characters you care about, even if they are mostly despicable. I made the mistake of thinking the next book in the series was already available when I finished this one. Imagine how bummed I am to find out now that I have to wait until October! No doubt it'll be worth it though. Do yourself a favor. Grab this book, set aside a night or two, buckle your seatbelt, and enjoy the ride.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
If you can get past the unlikely contrivances that set up the story, you'll be sucked into a character-driven thrill ride that will have you preordering the sequel as soon as you turn the last page.

FUN AND GAMES balances the quirky story with characters that seem real--paging Lindsay Lohan for the role of Lane--and sympathetic. The mystery about what sent Charlie fleeing from Philadelphia interests us but so does the question of who wants Lane dead and why.

A lot of the fun of the story--at least for people who actually live in Los Angeles--is the sense of authenticity. The plot plays out like a mash-up of John Ridley's EVERYBODY SMOKES IN HELL and Elmore Leonard's GET SHORTY. The characters have history and context and their lives are complicated. Sometimes this is tragic--as with Charlie--and sometimes it's hilarious, with the suburban dad who calls himself FACTBOY having to seclude himself in public bathrooms to stay in contact with his client--while his vacationing wife and children get antsy.

The client is an intriguing character herself. We know absolutely nothing about her but it's fascinating to watch her unravel as she has to invent more and more narratives to cover the scenarios that unfold when her plan goes FUBAR. We're not the only one horrified by her total lack of compassion--even second in command can't believe she's so cold-blooded.

Both Lane and Charlie are terrifically damaged people. The writer gives us their internal dialogue so that we are invested in their survival. It's funny that most of Lane's survival skills were learned while making various cheap action movies.

Charlie is almost ridiculously resilient but at the end, he's still standing.
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15 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Swierczynski has become one of my favorite authors, but this novel is not one of my favorites. Excellent characters...snappy dialog...nonstop action...what more could you want? A believable main premise for one. Although I was entertained throughout the book, I couldn't stop thinking about how ridiculous the main premise was. It really detracted from my full enjoyment of the story. To better explain, I must divulge this key issue: **WARNING - SPOILER ALERT** The central theme in this story is that some huge clandestine group initiates 'murder-by-accident' contracts through its organization of wayward movie directors, actors, etc. who script the accidental deaths of problem celebrities and then proceed to actually stage the scripts to their fatal conclusions. The large group of both highly-regarded and young promising filmmakers willing and able to easily commit murder I found totally unbelievable. If you can swallow that central premise, you're home free!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is the most fun I've had in the last several months! September 10, 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Fun & Games by Duane Swierczynski is the first in a trilogy of novels featuring Charlie Hardie as the protagonist, with the second book coming out in October and the third one in March of 2012. After reading the first book, you'll definitely want to get the other two when they hit the bookshelves. I know this from personal experience because reading Fun & Games was the most fun (no pun intended) I've had during the past year. It's nearly 300 pages in length, yet I read it in less than a week. This is now a record for me since I only average about a hundred pages a week on most novels I read. Some less and some a little more depending how busy I am. Now, before I go any further, let me also say that Duane Swierczynski is the author of The Wheelman, which is one the damn best crime novels I've ever read. It's right up there with Tom Piccirilli's The Cold Spot and The Coldest Mile.

Okay, what about Fun & Games? The story centers around ex-Philadelphia cop, Charlie Hardie, who was nearly killed while on the job. He soon retired from the force and became a professional house sitter, moving around the country and babysitting other people's homes while they are away. His new gig is in the Hollywood Hills of Los Angeles County. He's taking care of a house that's own by a movie soundtrack artist, who's away in Europe for a whole month.

When Charlie flies into LAX and discovers that his suitcase has been lost, it's only the beginning of a really bad day. Charlie then rents a car and drives it up to the Hollywood Hills where the house is located. He quickly finds out that the house keys aren't in the mailbox where they're supposed to be, so he has to climb the roof and make his way to the back, hoping to get in through the rear door.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't
It's amazing, though, to read a hundred pages and find that I absolutely to do not give even the tiniest fraction of a shit.
Published 3 months ago by Alex
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting idea, wanted to like it, writing falls short
Some clever ideas in here and well-formed characters, but the writing's trying too hard to deliver which is at best distracting and at worst annoying. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Marc Y. Leonard
5.0 out of 5 stars A good read
A great new find for me...read all 3 in the charlie hardie series...and hope there will be a number 4
Published 4 months ago by Robert P. Polli
5.0 out of 5 stars Beginnings
The initial Charlie Hardie book is a great read. It is action packed, thrilling, and most importantly, the protagonist, the hero, Charlie Hardie is totally the best. Read more
Published 5 months ago by K. Zhou
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Book, but stop -- don't read the other two!
Fun & Games is a fun, clever, wild ride -- you'll enjoy the wacky characters (Unkillable Chuck, Deke, and Mann), and the crazy imaginative story makes it a page-turner! Read more
Published 6 months ago by Otis T. Silas
5.0 out of 5 stars Pure adrenaline
Fun & Games is a great crime thriller/page-turner, and will keep you on the edge of your seat. It isn't a deep book, but then it isn't meant to be. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Andrew B
3.0 out of 5 stars Good Read
And interesting thriller/mystery novel. There's something lurking behind the scenes that I'm still curious about so I may pick up the other novels at some point.
Published 9 months ago by SilverJade451
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun and Games #1
This is a good quick moving story, but with a few flat spots that could have been avoided with no harm to the story. none the less worth reading.
Published 9 months ago by John Shearer
4.0 out of 5 stars A page turner
If there really were a conspiracy, this is what it could be. The author knows how to hook you. Don't think deeply, just ride along. Have fun. Wait for the next one.
Published 11 months ago by John Bowes
5.0 out of 5 stars highly original
Lane Madden, third-rate actress, drives on Hollywood highway to unwind and breathe the air, when a psychopath begins to pursue her. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Ray Garraty
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More About the Author

Duane Swierczynski is the author of several crime thrillers, including the Edgar-nominated and Anthony Award-winning Expiration Date, as well the Charlie Hardie series (Fun & Games, Hell & Gone, Point & Shoot), which has been nominated for Anthony, Shamus, Macavity and Barry awards and optioned for TV. He currently writes Birds of Prey for DC Comics, Godzilla and the forthcoming Judge Dredd for IDW Comics, Bloodshot for Valiant Comics, and has written about the Punisher, Cable, the Immortal Iron Fist, Werewolf By Night, Black Widow and Deadpool for Marvel Comics. Duane has also collaborated with CSI creator Anthony E. Zuiker on a series of bestselling "digi-novel" thrillers which include Level 26: Dark Origins, Dark Prophecy and Dark Revelations. In a previous life, he worked as an editor and writer for Details, Men's Health and Philadelphia magazines, and was the editor-in-chief of the Philadelphia City Paper. He lives in Philly. You can say "yo" to him at www.secretdead.com or twitter.com/swierczy.

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