Duane Swierczynski’s POINT AND SHOOT

MULHOLLAND BOOKS
April 30th, 2013

If you haven’t read the first 2 books in the Charlie Hardie trilogy by Mr. Swierczynski, stop reading right now. Do not pass go, don’t collect shit. If you have read them, then proceed by all means but I’m warning you now. I gotta give up a little to do this review proper.

In the first book Fun and Games, you meet Charlie Hardie and the Accident People. Hardie in a previous life was a consultant for the Philadelphia police known as Unkillable Chuck. His partner was killed by Albanian gangsters and Hardie while wounded, blames himself. He leaves his wife and child behind and goes into self-imposed exile, getting a job as a house sitter. While on a job in L.A., he comes across an actress hiding in a house he is tasked with watching. She says she is being hunted by a group called The Accident People. The Accident People are a shadowy group who kill people and make it look like an accident. They are run by very powerful people. At the end of the book, the actress is killed and Hardie is captured.

In the second book, Hell and Gone, Hardie wakes up in a secret prison with the job of warden. The prisoners, he is told, are the most dangerous on Earth. There is no escape. If you try, everyone dies. The prison is run by the same shadowy group that ran the Accident People. Hardie quickly figures out the angles and learns the secrets to the prison. He does the impossible and escapes, vowing to take down the shadowy group in charge of it all. All Hardie wants is answers and revenge. It goes to shit and he is captured again.

Now comes the 3rd and final book in the trilogy, Point and Shoot. Hardie wakes up in a fucking satellite in low orbit over the earth. He has a new job guarding the most sensitive information known to man. He is allowed to watch his family briefly everyday. He was told if he completes this task, in one year he will be brought back to Earth and given his life back.

Ok, I thought P&S was uneven. It had moments of brilliance and moments I thought just didn’t work. The book was originally supposed to come out a year ago but was delayed for reasons unknown to me. In some ways this trilogy reminds me of the much superior Henry Thompson trilogy by Charlie Huston. I loved the first 2 books, Point and Shoot and Hell and Gone but this one, I don’t know. The first 3rd of the book was brilliant. Hardie in space was a unique concept. How he gets back to earth was inspired. After that, I felt the book would stop and start. In a way it felt rushed. I was disappointed by the ending. It sort of leaves you flat. Duane Swierczynski is a truly brilliant writer. I’m just not sure what happened here. I have every intention of reading this book again in a few months. Maybe I will see it differently.