In Hell and Gone by Duane Swierczynski, Charlie Hardie is gone, hidden away in a secret underground prison that is effectively hell for him and the others trapped there. This is the second in the series, picking up where Fun and Games left off. Hardie has barely survived his encounters with the Accident People, but they’ve got worse things in store for him now. Just a note, you really do need to read the first one before Hell and Gone.
Where Fun and Games was fast-paced and action-filled, Hell and Gone is more of a psychological thriller, in a way. Yes, there’s plenty of violence, but the “inmates” and “guards” are all at the mercy of a bodiless voice, who orders them around, provides the food and heat or lack thereof. They turn on each other, test each other, form their own plans and loyalties in a closed society where a few have all the power. I do have to give it to Swierczynski, he knows how to torture his characters, and I mean that in a good way.
Fun and Games was almost like an action movie that totally grabbed me by the end; I had to know what happened to Hardie next. Hell and Gone, though, just never really pulled through for me. The beatings and electrocution were brutal, the secrets and Accident People’s methods interesting, but I just didn’t care. I read it to the end, thinking maybe it would eventually hook me, but it was work the whole way through. Most of the time, I was like “Really? Are you serious?” And the end has another doggone cliffhanger, but this one is more outrageous than the last. I think I’ done with this trilogy. I guess I’ll never know what happens to Hardie in the end, although if They are as all-powerful and hidden as They seem he’s going to have to end up dead. But since he’s effectively unkillable, I doubt that’ll happen. And I don’t care enough to wait and see.
2 out of 5 stars
Category: Action & Adventure
Charlie Hardie #2
Published October 31, 2011 by Mulholland Books
Charlie Hardie Trilogy
Book source: For review