Fun & Games: fast paced pulp thriller about an evil secret society of assassins in Los Angeles
Duane Swierczynski, a veteran comic book and TV writer, takes this over-the-top premise and turns it into a terrifically entertaining, white-knuckle roller-coaster-ride of narrow-escapes, double-crosses, and cat-and-mouse moves.
On Monday I flew from Los Angeles to the Bay Area. Before leaving, I went to the family room to select a book from the growing mountain of review copies I keep there. The previous book I pulled out, Jenga style, from the heap was A Single Shot, by Matthew F. Jones. It was a winner, so when I noticed that Duane Swierczynski's Fun & Games had the same publisher (Mulholland Books), I took that as a good sign and stuffed it in my carry-on bag. It turned out to be the right choice.
The good guy: Charlie Hardie, a professional house sitter who used to work with the Philadelphia police force. Something went very wrong a few years ago, and now Charlie watches houses for rich people on extended stays. He passes the time by parking on the couch, watching old movies, and getting blotto.
The femme fatale: Lane Madden, a B-movie actress with a reputation to match Lindsay Lohan's. When someone tries to kill her on the freeway, she escapes and ends up in a house that Hardie has been hired to watch. Now, both Madden and Hardie are the targets of…
The bad guys: A sinister and highly-secret group of killers called "The Accident People" who are under the employ of the motion picture industry elite. Their job is to ensure that the ultra-rich remain ultra rich by getting rid of anyone who poses a threat to their profits, and to do so in a way that rules out foul play.
Duane Swierczynski, a veteran comic book and TV writer, takes this over-the-top premise and turns it into a terrifically entertaining, white-knuckle roller-coaster-ride of narrow-escapes, double-crosses, and cat-and-mouse moves between Hardie and a terrifyingly psychopathic leader the Accident People unit assigned to rub out Madden.
Truths are peeled away like layers of an onion. By the end of Fun & Games, we have some answers, but not all of them. It turns out that Fun & Games is the first novel of a trilogy, called The Charlie Hardie series. The second installment, Hell & Gone is out now, and the final novel, Point & Shoot, comes out April 30.
Good news: Fun & Games in paperback is just $6 and the Kindle edition is on sale for a limited time for $2.99
In 2012, Kim Stanley Robinson published 2312, imagining how the world and its neighbors might look in 300 years, loosely coupled with the seminal Red Mars books, a futuristically pastoral novel about the way that technology can celebrate the glories of nature; in 2015, Robinson followed it up with Aurora, the best book I read that year, which used 2312’s futures to demolish the idea that we can treat space colonization (and other muscular technological projects) as Plan B for climate change — a belief that is very comforting to those who don’t or can’t imagine transforming capitalism into a political system that doesn’t demolish the planet. Now, with New York 2140, Robinson starts to connect the dots between these different futures with a bold, exhilarating story of life in a permanent climate crisis, where most people come together in adversity, but where a small rump of greedy, powerful people get in their way.
Last December, I published my review of Andrew “bunnie” Huang’s astoundingly great book The Hardware Hacker: Adventures in Making and Breaking Hardware — without realizing that the book’s release had been delayed because the published decided to do some very fancy and cool stuff with the printing process.
It’s been fifteen years since the first edition of educator Rosalind Wiseman’s Queen Bees and Wannabes was published; now in its third edition — updated with current, timely material about social media and other fast-moving subjects, as well as reflections from girls who were raised on the techniques in the previous editions — the book is a compassionate, aware, and intensely practical guide to navigating the toxic, gendered lives of young girls in a diverse, politicized world.
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