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Book Review- “Point & Shoot”

PointShootHEY YOU! Are you looking for something cool to read? Well have I got some good news for you! I just finished reading Duane Swierczynski’s latest novel “Point & Shoot” and I loved it. It’s like a carefully crafted cocktail of the best elements from 70’s and 80s action films, classic conspiracy stories like “The X-Files” and “The Parallax View,” and the awesome mind bending trippy twists of the films of writer/director Duncan Jones. Sound good? Great because now I have even better news. “Point & Shoot” is the concluding volume in a trilogy of novels starring police consultant, turned house sitter, turned target of a shadowy conspiracy Charlie “Unkillable Chuck” Hardie. So if you haven’t read the first book in the “Fun & Games” go do so now. Don’t worry we’ll wait.

Okay. You’re back. That was fun wasn’t it. How’d you like the ending? Don’t worry it’s picked up in book two of the series “Hell & Gone.” You should really go read that too. It’s cool, we’ll wait.

See what I mean? Wasn’t that cool? Okay now that you’re caught up I can elaborate on my thoughts on “Point & Shoot” because I try to keep my reviews spoiler free, but I don’t think we can talk about this novel without understanding the context of the other two and what they’ve done to Charlie Hardie. So that being said you have been warned. THERE BE SPOILERS AHEAD FOR “FUN & GAMES” AND “HELL & GONE.”

“Fun & Games” and “Hell & Gone” came out within a few months of each other and “Point & Shoot” was supposed to follow shortly after, but because the life of a professional writer can become very complicated and some stories demand extra care readers had to wait an extra year for “Point & Shoot,” but as I indicated above the wait was worth it.

“Point & Shoot” picks up right where the agonizing cliff hanger of “Hell & Gone” left us with Charlie Hardie trapped in space aboard a satellite and forced to do the bidding of his enemies, the shadowy conspiracy known as the Cabal, in the hope that they’ll leave his ex-wife and son alone. Swierczynski makes you feel Hardie’s loneliness right away.

Then suddenly someone is knocking on the door of Hardie’s satellite. I can’t say much about Charlie’s rescuer without spoiling some fun and very swierczynskicool reveals. What I can say though is this is where a large part of the novel’s fun and trippy head twists come from. The first quarter of the book is almost a psychedelic sci-fi movie as you watch Hardie and his would be rescuer interact.

What goes up must come down though, and in the second quarter of the book that’s the satellite that Hardie and his rescuer were on. Once the Satellite crash lands “Point & Shoot” transforms into another fun genre that Swierczynski expertly handles, the buddy action pic and road movie combo. Imagine a blending of “Midnight Run” and conspiracy films and you’ll get an idea of the fun of this sequence.

Hardie and his rescuer are on a cross country trip to save Hardie’s family from the Cabal and their foot soldiers, the assassin army known as the Accident People. So the final half of “Fun & Games” is a bloody, action packed thriller as Hardie and his rescuer battle some old enemies in an attempt to save his family.

Those old enemies include Mann, the one-eyed Assistant Director of an Accident People cell that Charlie first matched wits with back in “Fun & Games.” She’s as delightfully evil as she was in that book and in “Point & Shoot” we get to see how she’s haunted by her failures with Charlie in the first book. We also to catch up with Factboy, Mann’s amusing information specialist and Abrams and Doyle the remaining heads of the Cabal, both of whom have physical and mental scars from their battles with Hardie in previous books.

Old friends come back as well like Hardie’s FBI contact Deacon Clarke. In the second half of “Point & Shoot” we get to see some scenes from his perspective and get to appreciate how competent and resourceful he is. Plus we get more with Hardie’s ex-wife Kendra and more with his son CJ. Both are interesting characters. And of course Charlie Hardie himself remains a fascinating and fun character especially in light of all that’s happened to him.

So with old enemies and old friends coming back, and events escalating, it feels like everything is coming full circle in “Point & Shoot. With “Fun & Games” and “Hell & Gone” the writer built a fun and exciting trilogy with an amazing character. And in “Point & Shoot” the writer brings that trilogy to a hell of close.

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