Monday, March 12, 2018

FUN & GAMES by Duane Swierczynski

*Book 1 of the Charlie Hardie Trilogy*

Damn, talk about a thriller! This thing comes guns blazing right out the gate and maintains it's fast pace all the way through. One thing you definitely can't say about Swierczynski is that he's boring. He really knows how to keep the reader interested. He tells us the story of Charlie Hardie, an ex-police "consultant" who is trying to distance himself from mistakes in the past by enjoying the exile and solitude of house sitting. On his latest job in the Hollywood Hills, he stumbles onto a beautiful woman claiming to be hunted by a connected network of professional assassins, and the action only rises from there.

One thing I've noticed about Swierczynski's work is that he's not afraid to go over the top. But he does it with so much gusto and confidence that I totally go with it. Sometimes that walk on the tightrope of ridiculousness is what makes things really engrossing. The book also doesn't ignore the important stuff either, which sets it apart from your usual forgettable action thriller. Instead of slow-paced exposition at the beginning, the backstory and character development is cleverly laced into the action throughout, so not only do we get discoveries and twists amidst the real time action, but we're also constantly learning new twists about the history of the characters. In my opinion, this is one of the smartest things a writer can do to keep a reader engaged.

If you're curious about how to write great thrillers, check out this and Swierczynski's other work, to see how clever plotting and structure, humor, relatable characters and fearlessness can leading to pure entertainment.


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