the blonde duane swierczynski

The Blonde by Duane Swierczynski – review

the blonde duane swierczynskiThis is a reprint of a review that originally appeared at another site.

The Blonde begins with Jack Eisley, sitting in an airport bar, having a drink with a beautiful blonde when she leans over and utters the opening line of the book “I poisoned your drink.” It’s a great opener that drops you right in the middle of the action and fits the tone of the book perfectly. This stripped down action packed thriller starts off cruising at highway speeds and only gets faster as it goes through the guard rail and crashes into the abandoned toy factory.

Apparently, the blonde informs him, she needs to keep someone within ten feet of her at all times or she will die. So if Jack stays with her for the night then she will hand over the antidote. Sounds simple right? Nah, simple wouldn’t be fun and Swierczynski puts his characters through the paces.

Along the way Jack will encounter a veritable rogue’s gallery of pulp piction near archetypes only to be rivaled by those found in Charlie Huston’s novels. We will meet an assassin, a spook working for a super secret wing of the government, a mad scientist, a dirty cab driver and a waitress with (pauses to clear throat) interesting extracurricular activities.

Swierczynski’s goal is to entertain you by breathing new life into old pulp conventions and coming up with just enough plot to hang a flat out purge of non stop action onto. The plots not the thing here, it’s the delightfully weird and off key characters, the unusual situations that they find themselves getting into and the increasingly interesting and over the top solutions that they come up with to escape them.

Bottom line with this is that The Blonde is a wild and unforgettable ride. Swierczynski has earned his place among the best of the new crime fiction writers while quietly carving out his own brand of neo-pulp fiction.

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Brian Lindenmuth

Brian is the non-fiction editor of Spinetingler magazine and one of the fiction editors of Snubnose Press. In addition to Spinetingler his work has appeared in Crimespree magazine and at BSC Review, Galleycat and the Mulholland Books website. He also heads the Spinetingler Award committee.

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