Hell & Gone - Duane Swierczynski
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Mulholland Books
27 Oct 2011
There is nothing more infuriating than putting a really good read down, completed, after what only seems five minutes. Sadly, however, this scenario is what readers should expect with Duane Swierczynski’s second Mullholland outing, Hell & Gone which sees the continuation of the fantastic Charlie Hardie’s exploits after Fun & Games earlier this year.
There are some criminals so dangerous the world can never know about them.
They can't be held in regular prisons. They must never be released. They're here - in a secret underground prison miles away from anywhere. And now, so is Charlie Hardie.
The shadowy organisation running the jail sent him there as punishment for getting in their way, but he's not a prisoner … he's in charge. He can leave any time he wants, he's told. There's just one catch: if he goes, everyone in the prison dies, including innocent guards. But when Charlie realises his family may be in danger, he knows he must protect them at any cost. Even if it means blasting his way out, one inmate at a time.
From first to last, Hell & Gone is an absolute delight for all those who like their crime fiction so raw you smell the blood, so high octane you can smell the fumes and so disturbingly brilliant its, well, disturbingly brilliant.
Though a lot of this is down to “Unkillable Chuck”, there are also a whole plethora of other characters who are so well rounded you don’t know whether to admire them or kick them to see if they bounce.
The setting, too, though unusual in the extreme, is also so familiar thanks to the author’s deftness of touch and panache so that even as the plot heads for utter silliness it is pulled back before heading into that particular crevasse quite remarkably.
Of course there’s a downside and this is in the fact that this is Book 2 in a series of 3, though whether the demise of Charlie H is imminent or not, who knows, but on the evidence of both Hell & Gone and Fun & Games, we can only hope not.
A truly tremendous read.
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