Fun and Games Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
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.
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|Listening Length||7 hours and 32 minutes|
|Whispersync for Voice||Ready|
|Audible.com Release Date||June 20, 2011|
|Best Sellers Rank||
#288,727 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals)
#288 in Crime Action Fiction (Audible Books & Originals)
#912 in Mystery Action Fiction (Audible Books & Originals)
#1,470 in Hard-Boiled Mysteries (Audible Books & Originals)
Top reviews from the United States
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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. Charlie does manage to get into the house, but it turns out he's not alone. Hiding on the bottom floor is the owner's girlfriend, Lane Madden, a mid-level actress on the verge of stardom. Someone tried to kill her on the highway during the early morning hours, and now she's afraid to go home. Charlie thinks she's crazy as a loon because she believes the killers are actually outside the house, waiting to finish the job. The thing is she's right. Charlie soon learns that there are some very talented and skillful killers after her and that they don't have a problem with taking him out, too. He's just collateral damage.
Fortunately for Lane, Charlie is no ordinary ex-cop. Charlie was a government killer long ago, and he hasn't forgotten his special job skills. He's also a very difficult man to kill as other people have found out to their dismay. The Accident People, as Lane refers to the killers, are being employed by some heavy Los Angeles hitters who want Lane to die. The thing is her death has to look like an accident. That's the specialty of the Accident People. In fact, that's how a lot of famous Hollywood stars have died over the last fifty years. Their murder was made to look like an accident--drug overdose, car accident, accidental drowning, or a suicide. To get to Lane, however, they're going to have to get through Charlie, and it's not going to be easy. If Charlie's going to have a bad day, he's going to make sure everyone else has one, too.
Fun & Games was not only suspenseful and filled with priceless nuggets of Hollywood lore, the story had me laughing out loud in several places. Charlie Hardie isn't your ordinary hero. The guy has had a hard life and now all he wants to do is take it easy by babysitting some rich guy's home and watching old Hollywood movies on television, until it's time to pack up and leave. Unfortunately, he doesn't get to do that in this novel. His job is going to be keeping himself and Lane Madden alive, until he can finally figure out what to do and who to go to for help. The thing about Hollywood is that you can't really trust anyone. That's something Charlie has to learn the hard way over the loud protests of Lane Madden, who happens to be more wise in the ways of Tinsel Town.
You can tell that the author, Duane Swierczynski, is having loads of fun with the story, and that he's a major Hollywood buff. Each chapter begins with a line of dialogue from a famous actor or actress or movie. The thing that surprised me is that I already knew most of the lines and had seen the movies they'd come from. Also, the author has a way of developing unique characters that sound like real people; yet, are flawed in some unusual way and have very memorable quirts. Mr. Swierczynski certainly knows how to build suspense and to keep the reader turning those pages. He's a true master of his craft and the genre, and Fun & Games holds you till the last sentence is read.
So, what all of this comes down to is that I'm eagerly awaiting Hell & Gone to come out in October. I'm anxious to find out what happens to Charlie Hardie next and if the Accident People will be uncovered by the police and state authorities. You know I've always felt that actress Marilyn Monroe was murdered, and that her death was faked to look like a drug overdose. This book gave me more to think about in that regards.
If I had to pick a favorite character (and this is nothing short of a difficult task), I'd have to say Mann topped the charts. She focuses on the score, and she has a body and an attitude that just won't quit. Despite being maimed and mauled (and her thing against guns), she's going to see her assignment through all the way to end, as long as she still has a breath or two left in her. She focuses on her script, and she sets out to direct her masterpiece, even if she has to improvise her plan multiple times.
If FUN AND GAMES had been set anywhere other than LA, the high speed chases on narrow mountain passes, the tan, shaved woman sunbathing on her deck in the nude in broad daylight, the impalement of Charlie by a beautiful woman in a t-shirt and bikini underwear wielding a microphone stand like it's a machete, and the house that goes up in flames faster than a hayfield after a lightning strike, the antics might have strained my believability factor, even though I have a high tolerance for suspending disbelief. But I figured this was LA and all bets are off, literally, and I thought absolutely nothing of the shenanigans, as I pushed the car close to ninety in the middle of the freeway, flipping page after high-octane page, and enjoying the ride with every smooth turn.
Author of Falling Immortality: Casey Holden, Private Investigator
Top reviews from other countries
However neither was I ever fully engaged by the book. None of the characters really grabbed me. Nor did their predicament or how they would get out of it. The whole thing just felt rather shallow and superficial. Even the author's attempt to give his characters back stories felt slightly formulaic. Former law man with a troubled past. B-list actress past her prime. None it felt terrible fresh or original.
Fun and Games is not a bad book but nor was it such a great read that I'm going to pick up the next volume Hell and Gone (Charlie Hardie Trilogy 2) , despite the cliff hanger ending to Fun & Games. The book just didn't make me care enough about Charlie Hardie to have to know his ultimate fate.