Sunday, June 8, 2014

Severance PackageSeverance Package by Duane Swierczynski
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Judging by numerous references in the text (and by the writer's surname) I share ethnicity with Duane Swierczynski, the author of "Severance Package". Alas, this will be his last book for me. The first 25 pages are intriguing, then the plot becomes a ridiculous roller-coaster and the novel turns into a non-stop orgy of senseless violence. I have nothing against heavy violence in literature; for example, I rated "Mixed Blood" by Roger Smith, "Eleven Days" by Donald Harstad, "Savages" by Dan Winslow, and "Six Bad Things" by Charlie Huston all with fours stars, because the extreme violence in these novels makes sense. Here it does not. Mr. Swierczynski's novel is just a comic book translated into prose, targeted at readers enamored of killing and torture.

Mr. Swierczynski's characters are totally over-the-top. They can fight with their hands cut off, like the knight in the famous Monty Python sketch ("'tis but a scratch"). A rather small woman can carry two 200-pound men on her shoulders. Also, there is something utterly adolescent in the author's fixation on brassieres; for example, a woman, who is fighting for her life, thinks "Let him see me in my bra". Another woman, mortally injured, gives a guy "a clear view of her bra". Huh? Mr. Swierczynski twice mentions dying at "9.8 meters per second"; 9.8 does not represent velocity - it is the gravitational acceleration, 9.8 meters per second square.

My rating would hit the minimum of one star if not for the first 25 pages and for one hilarious sentence about the misery of being married to an actuary.

One and a half stars.

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