Review: Revolver by Duane Swierczynski

9781444754247I’m a massive fan of Duane Swierczynski. His novels are usually almost out-of-control roller coaster rides where you have no idea where the story is headed next. While sometime his plots seem a little far fetched he always grounds them in a reality that makes you believe. With his new novel he has written a historical crime novel spread over three generations. He dials down the usual craziness but at the same time dials up the authenticness that always grounds his work and in doing so produces his best novel to date.

Revolver is told over three generations with each chapter alternating between each generation. The first story is set in 1965 where two cops are gunned down in a bar. In subsequent chapters we flash back twelve months to meet these two cops. See how they became partners and follow the events that led up to their tragic deaths.

The second timeline is 1995 and we follow Homicide detective Jim Walczak. Jim’s father Stan was one of the cops killed in 1965 and his death has shaped Jim’s career. Jim has just caught a high profile murder but is distracted from the case. The man he believes shot his father has just been released from prison, sent away for a different crime, and Jim is going to get a confession out of him one or another and possibly his own version of justice.

The third timeline is 2015. Jim’s daughter Audrey is studying (and failing) forensic science and sees her grandfather’s unsolved murder as her ticket to graduation but the more she digs into the old case the more family secrets she begins to unearth and the man everyone thought was the shooter maybe completely different but it also maybe too late.

Swierczynski unfolds each story brilliantly and they could easily be their own stand alone stories. But as each story comes to its’ conclusion the tension is built tenfold each with a twist with huge ramifications for the next. This is an absolute masterclass in crime fiction by a writer I already knew was top shelf but who will now proved it to a lot more crime readers.

Buy the book here….

Review: Canary by Duane Swierczynski

9781444754186It’s been awhile between drinks for a Duane Swierczynski novel but as always it has been worth the wait. Straight away its like jumping on a runaway train with that instant pleasure of having no idea where Duane Swierczynski is going to take you this time.

After the brilliant insanity of the Charlie Hardie series Duane Swierczynski grounds this story in college in Philadelphia. Sarie Holland is an Honours student who stays well away from trouble. That is until she gives a friend a ride and is left holding the bag. Busted by the cops she’ll do anything to stay out of trouble including turning into a confidential informant. A role she quickly discovers she has a talent for.

The only problem is someone appears to be bumping off snitches and that’s when trouble doesn’t just come looking for Sarie it is literally hunting her on the streets of Philadelphia. Now this Canary must unearth the rat who is helping bump off Philly’s CI’s while keeping her family in the dark about her new after school job AND study for her final exams. You just know this isn’t going to end well for a lot of people. And in Duane Swierczynski’s hands that’s just the beginning of the fun.

This is probably Duane Swierczynski’s most conventional crime novel since The Wheelman (and yes there is a link if you keep your eyes open). Packed full of the humour, unpredictable plot twists and history of Philadelphia’s underbelly fans have to come to expect this is another original page-turner that keeps the throttle on full right until the end.

Buy the book here…