This Blonde is Definitely More Fun
The name just rolls off the tongue, don't it?
Okay, granted, Duane Swierczynski’s last name may be almost impossible to spell (just ask his publisher... or me, for that matter) but that's not nearly as difficult a task as putting down his new book. Which is why I named it one of my favourite books of 2006 for January Magazine.
Not that The Blonde (St. Martin’s Minotaur) is ultimately anything more than a banged-together compendium of occasionally hoary pulp-fiction and B-movie archetypes and plot devices, but man, Swierczcynski has such a grand old time wielding his literary nail gun that you just don’t give a damn.
It hits the ground running, with Jack Eisley, businessman and average joe, having a few drinks and doing a little low-level, no-harm, no-foul flirting with the pretty young woman (guess what hair color?) sitting next to him in the Liberties Bar at the Philadelphia International Airport. Things are going along swimmingly, until the titular babe politely informs him that she’s just poisoned his boilermaker and he could be dead in twenty-four hours.
Not to worry, though -- she’ll give him the antidote if he takes her to his hotel. Jack figures it’s some kind of scam and doesn’t need any more complications in his life right now (he has a meeting scheduled for the next morning with his wife’s shark of a divorce lawyer), so he politely blows the blonde off, thinking that’s that -- he’s finished with this strange, pretty wingnut.
Wrong, Jack. As she puts it, “Sweetheart, I haven’t even started yet,” which may well be crime fiction’s understatement of the year.
Over the next 24 hours, Jack will bounce back and forth across the City of Brotherly Love like a pinball machine, in an increasingly frantic effort to stay alive. He’ll be kidnapped, beaten up, poisoned again, handcuffed to the wall in a private sex club for cops, and hunted down by a mad scientist and a hired gun carrying a decapitated head in his sports bag. It all plays out like a decidedly modern, turbo-charged twist on that old film noir classic D.O.A. -- a twist Swierczcynski has jokingly referred to as D.O.A. meets Speed. But what this book really is, is D.O.A. on speed; a wild, preposterous white-knuckle ride that would probably fall apart if you had time to stop and think about it. Not that that’s likely to happen -- once you start reading this one, you won’t be able to stop. It’s pure pulp-fiction popcorn, in all the best ways -- simply one of the most rip-snorting reads of the year. Hook up with this blonde as soon as you can.
And if you want another taste of Duane's peculiar brand of pulp fiction, be sure to check out The Wrong Man to Cross in the new issue of The Thrilling Detective Web Site. Take it from me -- this Pole got Soul.