A couple years back, Duane Swierczynski started his Charlie Hardie trilogy, where the tough ex-cop-turned-house sitter fell into a one-man war against a secret cabal originally known as “The Accident People”. The First two books, Fun & Games and Hell & Gone, came out in 2011, with Charlie being shot at, beat up, burnt out of a house, thrown into a strange underground prison where he was both captive and guard, and then we were left hanging with him being shot into space. After what has felt like one of the longest waits in crime fiction, he wraps up the trilogy with Point & Shoot.
Charlie has been orbiting Earth in a satellite for over a year now. He knows he’s guarding inside it, but not what it is, agreeing to keep safe so the accident people don’t go after his ex-wife and son. His dull spaceman routine is interrupted by another craft attaches itself to the airlock. He has a visitor.
It’s hard to tell you much more without revealing the many fun twists that come after a great fistfight in the satellite. Swierczynski tosses them about with the swift precision of a circus knife thrower, closing a chapter that has one throwing time and commitment to the wind, going to the next chapter. What I think I can safely say is that the story concerns getting back to Earth and saving his family and that it involves a number of gunfights and fist fights, his doppelganger, and the return of his nemesis, Mann, the ultimate femme’ fatale. We also learn why Hardie as survived everything that’s been thrown at him.
Like the other two books Point & Shoot is flat out fun. Swierczynski keeps the story flying and makes the action non-stop. In the last few years, he has written for about every major comic book company brings and over that top attitude to play. A friend of mine described the series as “a thriller set in the Marvel Universe”. That said, he grounds the story in human emotion as Charlie and his dysfunctional family learn to function in these extreme circumstances.
Point & Shoot delivers what the first two books promised, capping off a modern pulp masterpiece with the trilogy. It wraps up everything we need to know in an entertaining way, dangling a few questions to tempt our imagination. Well worth the wait.