Thursday, May 28, 2015

THE BLONDE by Duane Swierczynski


"I poisoned your drink."
"Excuse me?"
"You heard me."
"Um, I don't think I did."
The blonde lifted her cosmopolitan. "Cheers."
And thus starts Duane Swierczynski's bizarre thriller where Jack Eisley is poisoned by a sexy crazy woman in a bar who claims that she has something in her blood that will make her head explode if she doesn't have anyone within ten feet of her at all times, and essentially takes him hostage in exchange for the antidote.

It's a set-up that forces you to pick the book up and read it, a modern Hitchcockian-thriller that's a mash-up of noir and science fiction. It's also told in what seems like real-time with clipped chapters and a Woolrich-like clock ticker. It seems like the book was tailor-made for me to love it! So why was I strangely uninvolved? I'm not sure. I mean, I love Swierczynski's writing style and humour, and there are some sequences and moments that are actually pretty clever and entertaining. But at the end of the day, it wasn't the wild, un-put-downable, rollercoaster ride that it promises to be. I was never bored, just never as interested as I should've been. It might be the fact that it felt like I was never allowed to truly engage and empathize with any of the characters. They never felt like real people to me. And some of the sequences felt forced and out of place, as if they were there just to put the characters in another crazy situation, without really adding anything to the story. The Sybian Club and the train accident for example are two sequences that could've been left out and probably not really affect the story much. 

But I loved Swierczynski's The Wheelman and I really admire the author from what I know so far. He seems fearless in his ideas and execution, creating his own genres, and all of his books just scream to be read. He's a more exciting writer than most people out there right now. I feel like I should give all of his work a chance. It's just that this one was a little disappointing.

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