Saturday, April 23, 2011

Fun & Games -- Duane Swierczynski

Five years ago, I reviewed Duane Swierczynski's Secret Dead Men. When I heard the premise of that one, I didn't think anybody could pull it off, but Swiercyznski did, and he's gone on to write a number of books with equally outrageous premises that in his hands become (almost) believable. The latest is Fun and Games, coming soon, and it's the first book in a trilogy.

Here's the deal: Assume to begin with that the "star whackers" that Randy Quaid went on and on about are real, that they're called the Accident People, and that they've been killing people for years. They're organized and financed by someone who must have billions of dollars, considering their numbers and their equipment. Now they're after Lane Madden a former star who knows too much. But their first attempt at killing her fails, and Lane escapes to a house being looked after by housesitter Charlie Hardie.

If Lane is hard to kill, Charlie is even hardier (har-de-har-har). You think Yosemite Sam had problems with Bugs Bunny? That's nothing to the problems the Accident People have with Lane and Hardie. The book takes place over the course one one day, and it's a really bad one. I lost count of the attempts on Hardie's life.

If you're looking for character development and deep philosophy, this isn't the book for you. What it does is slam you with one damned thing after another after another after another. It never slows down, not even for a second. As I said, it's the first book of a trilogy. I have no idea where it's going, but I'm looking forward to finding out. I'm sure you will, too.

There's an afterword in which Swierczynski thanks several people, one of whom is David Thompson. Well done, Duane.


Stephen B. said...

Now I have to find this.

Was there a Richard Matheson story (or Bradbury?) about people who would appear at the scene of any accident, and then appear again at a later accident or car wreck, and so on, and hasten the demise of the hurt person?

Unknown said...

A nice, succinct review. Good show, sir!

Having just powered through this excellent book for review over on The Speculative Scotsman, I begin to wonder if there's a single aspect of Fun and Games that wasn't built from the ground up on neat wordplay potential. I like your Charlie Hardier; give me a minute and I'll see what else I can come up with! :)