Expiration Date – Duane Swierczynski


This is a weird book; it takes the classic crime fiction setting of the big bad city, where there is a mystery to solve, and injects some elements of fantasy and science fiction. And it does it all with some crisp writing, an absence of literary pretentiousness, and an effective storytelling technique.

The central character is Mickey Wade. He is an out of work journalist forced out of his own apartment by his changed circumstances, and drawn back to the neighborhood of his youth where his sick grandfather’s apartment lies empty and available. Once he thought he had escaped from this bad area, but it has clawed him back. Not only that, but it also gives him the springboard for his adventures as he strives to find out more about the death of his father.

I won’t spoil things by offering any more description of what happens, but I will say that this was a book that surprised and entertained me. I found it fresh and engrossing, and was truly sad when I got to the end.

The author is heavily involved in the comics scene which may explain why he felt the need to include a few illustrations in the body of the book. As for the excellent pacing, it seems that the book was written for a twelve part serialization that was canceled. So, we get to read the whole thing in one package.

Difficult to categorize, but easy to recommend.