Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Mean Streets Crime Review -Fun & Games by Duane Swiercznski

The first of three explosive pulp thrillers arriving back-to-back from cult crime fiction sensation and Marvel Comics scribe Duane Swierczynski. Duane Swierczynski is the author of several crime thrillers and also writes the X-Men spinoff CABLE for Marvel Comics and IMMORTAL IRON FIST. His latest novels include EXPIRATION DATE; LEVEL TWENTY-SIX, cowritten with CSI creator Anthony E. Zuicker; and SEVERANCE PACKAGE, which has been optioned by Lionsgate films. But until now he hasn't released anything in the UK.

On the strength of this, the first title in a Charlie Hardie trilogy - he's about to take the UK (and US) by storm with an explosive and action packed thriller.

There are a few shocks in store and although I had a pretty good idea what would happen towards the end I didn't quite get everything right! Although a very pacey read, the book appears to quicken up in the last third of the book and I guarantee you won't want to put it down until its denouement.Zany crime caper that reads just like a cartoon story and does what it says on the tin. The hero, Ex-cop Charlie Hardie (Road-Runner), and Mann, the big-breasted female baddie (Wile E. Coyote), backed by a great supporting cast.

Hardly surprising when you realise that Duane also writes for comic books , his understanding of how to weave a graphic and comic tale shines through this book. He has signed an exclusive deal with Marvel Comics and is co-writing a screenplay of one of his earlier works. His fiction draws heavily on crime noir themes, making frequent use of femmes fatale, hence Mann in this tale.

Cop Hardie's latest job is a house sitter at an isolated mansion. Easy life, watching old movies and drinking bourbon. But it comes with an uninvited guest, a D rated actress (Lane Madden) who says she's being hunted by professional hitmen. Hardie thinks she's paranoid, but he's wrong. Mann's hi-tech team - The Accident People - are well prepared to take them both out - preferably in body bags.

But when the action arrives, Hardie's not the sort of guy to lie down and he fights back to protect Lane Madden - and his own past demons from surfacing again.

It's fast, furious, and funny. With a story line that is part credible and part creative - but always entertaining. I rarely read a book in one, or even two, sittings - but this one gripped throughout and had me wanting more. Some brilliant one-liners from Hardie, even in desperate situations.

What critics call a page-turner, all 280 pages. I can't wait to read the next one, Hell and Gone. Duane Swiercznski (remember the name) is here to stay - big time.

Harry Bingham invited Stephen Terry to contribute this review to Mean Streets Crime Fiction ( The Writers' Workshop also offers feedback on writing (

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