Cover Image: Fast Charlie

Fast Charlie

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Member Reviews

This is fun.

It's wham, bam, thank you ma'am with things going boom, shots fired and bodies everywhere.

It's an adrenaline rush with fun characters, plenty of gangsters, and a very good character who happens to be kind of a bad man.

I enjoyed every page of this one!

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My second around, having read the novel when it was first released as Gun Monkeys (back in 2001). Charlie Swift is head thug and fixer for Crime Boss Stan. When a rival decides it is time for Stan to 'retire' Charlie faces a tough time trying to save Stan and stay alive. When this originally came out it was part of a new wave crime modern noir, very quirky, very violent, with a bad guy as the lead, and the way to get sympathy for your bad guy character is to give him a redeeming feature - in Charlies case it is loyalty. Charlie can get away almost the entire novel but stays despite the overwhelming odds and constant injuries so he can save the man who looked after him, and to save his family. Looking forward to seeing the film version as Gun Monkeys was definitely written with the movies in mind.

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The opening line of Victor Gischler’s Fast Charlie instantly hooked me. Charlie Swift is one smooth customer. He’s a mob enforcer who is having a bit of a rough time lately. This is a wonderfully fast paced, gritty, action packed adventure with a healthy dose of violence and dark humor. I absolutely loved this story and only hope the upcoming film version is half as good. Can’t wait to check in out. I’d like to thank Titan Books, Hard Case Crime, and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review the fantastic Fast Charlie.

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Being a junkie for hard boiled crime fiction in the 21st century can have its bleak moments. Where's the new Raymond Chandler? the new Dashiell Hammett? Just when I'm fearing going cold turkey and cozy-ing up to an Agatha Christie lookalike the postman rings twice with a copy of Fast Charlie.
Victor Gischler is a straight shooting author taking one right to the seedy underbelly of Central Florida. This is a blankly comic ride into a crime abyss with all guns blazing. The writing is taut, razor-sharp and infused with a mixture of misdeeds, melancholy and violence.
The author writes with real exuberance; every scene a flourish of action and emotion; one of the most abundantly talented purveyors of hard boiled crime fiction working today.

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Thanks to Titan Books, Victor Gischler, and NetGalley for the Advanced Reader Copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

This is a very fast paced story of Charlie, who is loyal to his boss when rivals move into his bosses territory. Charlie deals with the newcomers while seeking his boss; evading the bad guys and the FBI; and working to decide who he could trust. Recommended for those who like fast paced action.

Review posted manually to Goodreads due to linkage issues.

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This was good fun...a breezy crime novel with some bite.
Started off almost like a madhouse Carl Hiaasen story, with a bit of a darker edge, then progressively got grizzlier.
Recommended for fans of sleazy Florida crime capers.

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This book was originally published in 2001 as Gun Monkeys. It is being republished by Hard Case Crimes publishing and retitled to match the upcoming movie staring Pierce Bronson. This is a hard boiled mafia crime novel with a huge sense of humor. Kind of a Goodfellas meets Pulp Fiction with constant violence, offbeat humor, and non stop action. The characters are almost caricatures, with their sarcasm, humorous asides, and nonchalant attitude towards the over the top violence. Strongly recommended for any fans of hard boiled crime novels.

Thanks to NetGalley and Hard Case Crimes for an advanced reader copy.

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Rarely does a book fit a publisher as well as “Fast Charlie” by Victor Gischler, published by Hard Case Crime. Because Charlie is a hard case criminal, a killer with little remorse and his own code of ethics, whose world comes crashing down on him in a brutal and spectacular way.

It all starts with a killing gone bad, a victim who’s missing his head and is therefore hard to identify, to prove the hit. Charlie Swift does some quick thinking and figures out how to verify the kill and meets a pretty damsel along the way. But then the betrayals start. First his partner, then others. Charlie has to retrieve a briefcase, but killing FBI agents along the way wasn’t part of the plan. Trying to stay loyal to his boss while foiling a takeover by a Miami gang and fighting off the Feds at the same time, Charlie doesn’t know who to trust and how to put his world right once more. So he does what he does best: kill anyone who gets in his way.

Lots of bodies, lots of blood, ultraviolence in a deliberate over-the-top fashion, this book is a lot of fun. Yes, you have many of the cliches that you expect: the love interest with a heart of gold, the indestructible lead character, the crooked cops eager for a payout, the briefcase that everyone’s after. But when these cliches are done well, it’s a great joyride.

I requested and received a free advanced electronic copy from Titan Books, Hard Case Crime via NetGalley. Thank you!

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A riveting dark noir with panache, gritty action, and dramatic hook to keep you captivated through and through. It is one of the most engaging thrillers you'll read this year.

Full review to follow on

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My thanks to both NetGalley and the publisher Titan Books- Hard Case Crime for an advance copy of this book of noir set in Florida about a loyal man, the many troubles this loyalty has caused him and massive amounts of violence this man will use to solve these problems, and keep his Mom happy.

The word professional is used a lot in crime fiction. Mostly as a way of saying this is not a normal citizen who has found himself on the wrong side of the tracks, or some person who thinks holding up a 7/11 is the Brinks job of robberies. A professional is usually one who has chosen the life of crime with few regrets, who works and carries themselves with a certain code, and moving from civility to savagery is just something that must be done. Grand Master Donald Westlake under the name Richard Stark wrote about Parker, a professional thief who had a code of don't mess with me when I want what is mine. Jef Costello of the movie Le Samouraï is a professional assassin loyal to his own moral code past death. Charlie Swift would also like to think of himself as a professional. Loyal to his boss and his friends, a son who tries for his mother and to be a good brother, however Swift has a few things going against him. One he is a criminal in Florida, and that can never be good, and while his last name is Swift, Charlie is sometimes not the brightest of bulbs. However he is an Energizer bunny of vengeance. Fast Charlie, previously titled Gun Monkeys was the first book by Victor Gischler which was nominated for an Edgar award. The book is a look at a long few days for Charlie has he tries to find his boss, find out who is gunning for him, and find out who he is going to have to kill to get some peace.

Charlie Swift spent time in the military learning how to do bad things to a variety of different people. Upon returning to Florida Swift was hired by a local mob boss to deal with problems. Swift is very good at his job, earning a variety of different nicknames based on things he has done to people in the past. Everything seems to be going ok for Swift, he has a new woman in his life, he's trying to talk his brother back into school, he talks to his mom alot. And though he has just destroyed a rental car, had to tattoo a dead associate, and shot a taxidermied polar boy, his job is going well also. Until Swift's boss sends him to a strip club to get a case, and eliminate anyone around said case. Which causes problems when some of the people have police badges. Swift's problems get worse when his boss disappears, their headquarters gets burnt down, and allies start becoming scarce. Swift is going to have to go professional on a whole lot of people to avoid the same fate.

A really good noir story that is told in a very straight ahead way, with some great characterization and lots of ultraviolence. One can see why Gischler was asked to write the Punisher comics for Marvel, Gischler has a really good grasp on action, and how to describe what is happening. And what happens afterwards. Charlie Swift is a lot of fun, not a brilliant guy, but loyal to his boss, and his family. Some of his decisions one could question, but to him everything he does makes sense. Swift just has some of the Florida luck that is so present in many crime books. The story is fast paced, never drags, and though the story seems like a lot of noir stories, is very fresh and really well-written. I didn't mean to read this in one sitting, it happened because even the idea of making dinner didn't seem as important as what Charlie Swift was going to do next. A really good crime story, in fact a really good story in general.

I understand this is going to be a movie, and in the right hands this could be great. Lots of violence, and yet the lot of good moments with the characters just interacting which really helps build the story. A really good book and though I was familiar with Victor Gischler's comic book work I was unfamiliar with his prose writing, and would like more. A great noir gift for the holidays for someone who likes their stories dark and gritty.

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Gischler released his first novel, Gun Monkeys, in 2001. After several false starts, it will finally be released as a major motion picture starring Pierce Brosnan, Morena Baccarin, and (in his final role) the late James Caan. It is not clear right now when the movie will be in theaters near you although it has been previewed at an October 2023 movie festival. The book is being re-released by Hard Case Crime as Fast Charlie to follow along with the movie title.

If you are looking for a fast-paced, hardboiled crime novel that is filled with cover to cover action, you are not going to find anything better than this. It’s a mix of Goodfellas with pulp noir elements and features the misadventures of a gun monkey, Charlie Swift, caught in the middle of a battle between two warring factions in Orlando.


When there is a change of corporate management, it’s always stressful on the peons. Heads often roll and loyalty often seems not to matter. Here, Charlie is rather unhappy when Stan and Stan’s team seem to have outlived their usefulness to the Outfit. The thing is though such a corporate restructuring is extremely painful and often fatal when dealing with criminal elements.

Charlie though decides he’s not going to just pick up stakes and leave. He’s loyal, this one. And he’s going to try to pull off whatever he can to protect whoever is left on his side when the smoke clears – and there aren’t many.

But what’s really incredible about this book is the voice it’s told in. It is told in a matter of fact tone that just draws you in. This book has more gunfire and bodies wrapped in plastic and and all out battles than almost any other book. And it’s hot that gallows humor thing going right from the start.

This is what happens when the crime boss you’re working for disappears and your other gun monkeys are taken out one by one, an army of trained killers and FBI agents are on your tail, and you have to figure out who gave you up.

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