Kemper's Reviews > Fun & Games

Fun & Games by Duane Swierczynski
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really liked it
bookshelves: 2011, crime-mystery, vast-conspiracy, thriller, bouchercon, signed-by-author, charlie-hardie

One reason I never bought into any of the conspiracy theories that swirl around celebrity deaths like Princess Di or Marilyn Monroe is that they always seem to be based on the notion that there are these shadowy figures that can orchestrate murder on demand and cover it up without leaving a trace. Hell, when Nixon wanted the Watergate black bagged, he had to use incompetent bastards like G. Gordon Liddy and a ragtag group of Cuban exiles, and he was president of the United States. If there really was a network of efficient criminals to do some dirty deeds, you’d think Nixon would have had them on speed dial.

However, while I don’t believe in the idea of vast conspiracies with armies of hired killers, that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy stories about them. Duane Swierczynski (And I won’t be typing that again.) has come up with a highly entertaining twist on the whole conspiracy theory thriller genre.

Charlie Hardie used to work for the cops but these days he’s a professional house sitter. The job lets him indulge in his hobby, binge drinking. When Charlie shows up for a gig in LA, he doesn’t even get his bottle of bourbon open when he’s attacked by a woman hiding in the house. Even more shocking is that she is Lane Madden, a B list actress who frantically claims that people are trying to kill her. Charlie thinks he’s just dealing with another drugged out celebrity until some very bizarre and dangerous shit starts to happen very quickly. It turns out that Charlie has interrupted the Accident People as they were in the midst of their latest project, killing Lane Madden.

The Accident People are a group that specialize in killing high profile targets and providing an air tight cover story so that no questions will be asked. In Lane’s case, their plan to off her via a car accident went off the rails when Lane managed to escape and hide.

Duane S. put a unique twist on the shadowy conspiracy operatives in this with the Accident People. They are made up of a lot of former film people with a ’director’ coming up with the narrative about how they want the death to play out, and then using actors and technical people to make it happen. They’ve also got access to a variety of lethal weapons like poison gas and drugs that induce heart attacks. It’s a little over the top (What conspiracy thriller isn’t?) but it at least puts a thin layer of plausibility and explanation as to just where the hell one would an obtain a covert network of people able to get away with murder.

Fast, dark and fun, this was some high octane reading. Duane S. springs some big surprises in this, and it keeps you guessing throughout. This is the first part of a trilogy so there’s a bit of a cliffhanger at the end. If you’re in the mood for a crime thriller that reads like a good action movie, this fits the bill.
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Reading Progress

June 22, 2011 – Shelved
Started Reading
August 28, 2011 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-15 of 15 (15 new)

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message 1: by Stephen (new) - added it

Stephen This looks really good. I have both this and The Wheelman by him on my on deck circle. Nice review.


Kemper Thanks. Wheelman and The Blonde are both very good too. I didn't like Severence Package or Expiration Date quite as much though.


message 3: by Stephen (new) - added it

Stephen Kemper wrote: "Thanks. Wheelman and The Blonde are both very good too. I didn't like Severence Package or Expiration Date quite as much though."

Good to hear. BTW, I read Flood yesterday largely based on your review and really lked it. What a nice, light, feel good piece of fluff.


Kemper Stephen wrote: "Good to hear. BTW, I read Flood yesterday largely based on your review and really lked it.

I hope you have a team of therapists and a perscription for Prozac handy then....


message 5: by Stephen (new) - added it

Stephen Kemper wrote: "I hope you have a team of therapists and a perscription for Prozac handy then...."

I finished Song of Kali by Dan Simmons on Friday and this on Saturday. Between the two, I have completely forgotten how to smile.


Kemper Stephen wrote: "I finished Song of Kali by Dan Simmons on Friday and this on Saturday. Between the two..."

I haven't gotten to Song of Kali yet. Other than the depression, how was it?


message 7: by Paquita Maria (new)

Paquita Maria Sanchez I hope this thread quickly devolves into a nasty back and forth about the Kennedy assassination.


message 8: by Stephen (new) - added it

Stephen Kemper wrote: "Stephen wrote: "I finished Song of Kali by Dan Simmons on Friday and this on Saturday. Between the two..."

I haven't gotten to Song of Kali yet. Other than the depression, how was it?"


Definitely worth reading and much shorter than his later books. It's a first novel and is not as polished as his later stuff, but it is still high quality and the story is really engaging. I'm gonna give it 4 stars.


Kemper Paquita Maria wrote: "I hope this thread quickly devolves into a nasty back and forth about the Kennedy assassination."

Feel free to kick it off...


Kemper Stephen wrote: "Kemper wrote: "Stephen wrote: "I finished Song of Kali by Dan Simmons on Friday and this on Saturday. Between the two..."

I haven't gotten to Song of Kali yet. Other than the depressi..."


I still gotta read Rise of Endymion to finish off the Hyperion Cantos.


message 11: by Stephen (new) - added it

Stephen Definitely read that one first.


message 12: by Steve (new)

Steve This looks great. It also looks like a series (I checked this out at library, along with Hell & Gone. Oh, and Oswald didn't do it (or he had help).


message 13: by Kemper (last edited Dec 06, 2012 07:38AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kemper Steve wrote: "This looks great. It also looks like a series (I checked this out at library, along with Hell & Gone. Oh, and Oswald didn't do it (or he had help)."

It's a trilogy. Part 1 & 2 are out. Part 3 releases next spring, I think.

Yeah, yeah. Oswald was just a patsy for the vast conspiracy made up of the Soviets,Cubans, CIA,Mafia, military industrial complex, and National Dairy Farmers of America.


Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede Sounds like a book just for me. I love books/movies where a guy get dragged into something he didn't ask for and has to fight his way to stay alive. :)


Kemper Magdalena wrote: "Sounds like a book just for me. I love books/movies where a guy get dragged into something he didn't ask for and has to fight his way to stay alive. :)"

Then this is definitely the book for you.


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