Aug 7, 2011

Duane Swierczynski : Serial Thriller

Serialization – Publication in serial form.

When I was a little girl in Burlington Vt. I was introduced to Buck Rodgers on our black and white T.V. The 60s version Batman could be heard every afternoon, “Same Bat Time. Same Bat Channel.” The summer between 7th and 8th grade I sat in a movie theater and with millions of others read the words, “Long Ago, In a Galaxy Far, Far away.” The Star Wars movies and George Lucas have defined “serial” for three generations now.

Certain forms of “publication” have used this format for a very long time. Both Dickens and Doyle were serialized in Magazines. I remember reading Agatha Christie in my Grandmother’s Ladies Home Journal. Play Boy was the first glimpse we had of many talented authors. There’s panache and a history to the very idea. There’s Star Wars.

In the last decade of the last century Stephen King released GREEN MILE through every outlet that ever sold a book. I was all in. It was a glorious experiment. Green Mile was a great but not all together successful work of Serialization. It’s a fine work and King talked frankly about the Death Penalty, mortality and morality within the parameters of the form. I wasn’t sharing my views at the water cooler though. I think mainly we were just waiting to figure out the deal with the mouse. No one peels back a story better than King but like many I didn’t get over the King part of it all.

A few years back, when the NYT had a better budget they serialized works by some of my favorite writers including Ian Rankin and Laura Lippman. Great stories and bound together, really good books. Waiting in the wings with a story of his own was a young writer by the name of Duane Swierczynski. The Times concept didn’t pan out as they’d hoped and EXPIRATION DATE was released as a novel. A fan of the book, I wondered how would this experience have been, waiting week to week to see what would happen next?

Swierczynski is younger than me. Star Wars has always been a part of his life. He’s a true scholar of not just popular fiction but pop culture. All of it. Movies? I suspect he can quote dialog from just about any movie, ever. Music? Try to stump him.

When Little, Brown & Company announced a new imprint called Mulholland Books in 2010 they released a mission statement.

“The goal of Little, Brown’s Mulholland Books is simple: to publish books you can’t stop reading. Whatever their form—crime novels, thrillers, police procedurals, spy stories, even supernatural suspense—the promise of a Mulholland Book is that you’ll read it leaning forward, hungry for the next word. With a focus on online community building, internet marketing and authentic connections between authors, readers and publisher, Mulholland Books will be at the center of a web of suspense.”

Duane Swierczynski is just one of the terrific writers published under this imprint.His is a special story.
FUN &GAMES was released earlier this year. A good book demands you read it. FUN & GAMES left me frothing for the next book. In the cliffhanger to end all cliffhangers ….

The story of a man with a past and a young actress thrown together… The author pulled out all stops creating an Entertainment for the reader that had me buzzing like nothing in any form since those words scrolled down the movie screen. My expectations for the sequel to FUN & GAMES was so high I quite wondered if HELL & GONE would be able to further enamor me or if it would be a Phantom Menace in book form.

I am so very happy to report that in the middle of a too busy week I opened this book and once again dove into Swierczynski’s world with abandon. The author accelerated in FUN & GAMES . He floors it in HELL & GONE. Charlie Hardie and the Accident People are destined to entertain for a long time to come. Swiercyski’s series defines serialization for the book world like Lucas has for the movies. Now, where the hell is book three?


Lynne Perednia said...

Excellent! Swierczynski has been a fav since The Wheelman. He hasn't let me down since then.

Janet Rudolph said...

You nailed it! Excellent review!