Monday, April 12, 2010

Expiration Date -- Duane Swierczynski

It's been only five years since I reviewed Swierczynski's Secret Dead Men, and since then he's more than fulfilled the promise of that novel. His latest book, Expiration Date, was to be publishes as a serial in The New York Times Magazine, but when that publication dropped its fiction, Swierczynski decided to make the story into a novel instead.

About the only thing you can expect from a Swierczynski novel is that you never know what to expect. This one might (notice I said might) be described as a time-travel/serial-killer novel. When Mickey Wade takes what he believes is a Tylenol in his grandfather's apartment, a funny thing happens. He wakes up in 1972. He can see and hear people, but they can't see and hear him. Well, most of them can't. It's complicated.

And it gets even more complicated than that when Mickey starts trying to change the past. If you know about time-travel paradoxes, you know that making those changes might not get you what you want.

As usual with Swiercznyski, the book moves like a bullet. It's also short, which is fine by me, and Swierczynski manages to tie all the plot elements together in the end. There's some great local color for fans of Philadelphia, and there's a really nice nod to Secret Dead Men. There are even illustrations. Check it out.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I was looking at that in B&N over the weekend. Got it on order. It sounds (at least superficially) like the TV series LIFE ON MARS.