Saturday, September 13, 2008

Book Review: Severance Package by Duane Swierczynski

Brutal. Violent. Relentless. Fun. This could be easily be a four-word review, as these particular words go a long way in preparing you for Duane Swierczynski's third novel, out on the heels of The Blonde. Severance Package does a wonderful job of combining corporate office politics and the deadly world of nothing-is-as-it-seems espionage, raising the question of exactly which profession is more ruthless, cut throat, and soullessly ambitious. One would be tempting to describe it as a cross between The Office and Three Days of the Condor, but that would barely be doing it justice.

Duane Swierczynski’s writing style has one major asset that many authors tend to overlook these days: brevity. His descriptions are colorful and informative, yet they aren’t weighed down by their own poetic license. Characters and locations are set up and knocked down as quickly and efficiently as dominoes, without ever leaving the reader confused or unsatisfied.

Even the story itself, which takes place in the time frame of a few hours, is tight and compact, with all of the action and suspense layered delicately from beginning to end. Swierczynski’s storytelling style is as quick and hard hitting as a lead sap to the temple.

The comic book reminiscent illustrations scattered throughout the book are interesting and fun, even though some might find them a little distracting. Of course, considering that Swierczynski authored the Cable series for Marvel Comics, and is currently helming a six issue run of The Punisher in Garth Ennis’ absence, the presence of the silhouette artwork is understandable.

If you like your novels short, sweet, and chock full of balls-to-the-wall action, you should definitely not pass this one up. Just don’t forget to punch in.

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