Tuesday, February 16, 2016

What we're reading: Pulp mysteries

After reading Duane Swierczynski's book Canary a while back, I knew I would want to check out some of his other books, but our three teen book clubs took me out of mystery mode and into Alice in Wonderland territory for a while, reading The Looking Glass Wars, by Frank Beddor, and Splintered, by A. G. Howard, in preparation for our Mad Tea Party last Thursday night.

When that was done, though, I had a mystery standing by: I read Fun and Games, the first book in a trilogy of "pulp thrillers" by the man with the impossible-to-spell moniker.

The main character is not a prepossessing guy -- he's Charlie Hardie, ex-cop, current alcoholic house-sitter. He has no apartment, he has no connections, he barely has luggage -- he flies from town to town, living in other people's homes, watching old movies, and drinking himself into oblivion on a nightly basis.

His latest gig, however, comes with complications: Turns out there's an actress hiding in the house who has some paranoid story about a bunch of people who are trying to kill her, and who won't let him leave the house. Unfortunately, the old saying about "just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get you" proves true in this case, and Charlie and Lane are in a genuine bind.

Reading along and watching the whole thing play out is a major thrill ride around the hills of Hollywood, home to industry people and, apparently, their hitmen! (and women) I enjoyed this breathlessly entertaining and convoluted first book, and plan to check out the other two as soon as possible, if only to find out if Duane finally reveals the hinted-at secrets about Charlie's former life. Fellow librarian Duedsml tells me I also have to read The Blonde and Severance Package to fully appreciate Swierczynski. I guess that now I have learned how to spell his name, I might as well give his books a shot at a few more reviews!

1 comment:

Duedsml said...

Swierczynski has a new book, Revolver, set to be published this July. My past blog posts about Severance Package and The Blonde can be found http://burbanklibrary.blogspot.com/2008/07/what-were-reading-severance-package-by.html and http://burbanklibrary.blogspot.com/2007/01/what-were-reading-blonde-by-duane.html