rachel's Reviews > Expiration Date

Expiration Date by Duane Swierczynski
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Apr 24, 2010

it was ok
bookshelves: 2010, sci-fi-fantasy
Read from April 18 to 24, 2010

** spoiler alert ** I'll readily admit that my failure to love this book is more my problem than Swierczynski's. It's decent for what it is and it's one that I would recommend to comic-book-action-film-noir-lovin' friends (those interests tend to overlap in people, I've noticed). But though I enjoy comics and action films here and there, and certainly books and films that incorporate elements of comics and action, they aren't my main loves. I know...I'm boring.

Swierczynski's writing, although it has nice noir phrasing here and there, is lean, sparse, and very contemporary. Problem is, I like my noir Lady From Shanghai style, a little more circular and less straightforward. I realize that this may not be fair as criticism. Not everyone can or wants to be Orson Welles. Unfortunately.

The prose may be straightforward, but the plot is definitely not. Many characters are moving back and forth in time to kill each other in all different ages of life, as revenge for other murders, all of which are committed in the time travel as well. These motives and intentions to kill are all revealed in the last thirty pages of the book, providing a wallop of exposition that threw me off keel.

Around the third time in the span of 30-odd pages that a character reveals that he is going back in time to kill someone to prevent that someone from killing someone else, I laughed out loud. I don't know if it was supposed to be funny, but I couldn't help it. My brain shouted "Diabolical!" and I kept thinking that and laughing all the way through the end. When all's said and done, I did have a good time with it. Absurdity may even have been Swierczynski's intention. He does seem to have a sense of humor.

The best part of this book comes when Mickey first travels back to 1972 and sees his section of Philadelphia before it became a hollowed out slum. Evocation of place is something I clearly go nuts over, and Swierczynski's love for his city comes across in Mickey's longing to travel in time just to see what downtown is like (for example).

I still want to read Severance Package. The plot description and preview pages up on Amazon are hilarious.
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Reading Progress

04/18/2010 page 1
0.41% "For book club."
04/19/2010 page 70
28.57% "Read this while making dinner in the oven. Took dinner out to cool, went back to reading. Dinner got cold. :("
04/22/2010 page 110
44.9% "Stealing comics and time traveling vigilantism! Mickey Wade is becoming a Gary Stu and I don't like that."
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