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The Blonde Paperback – 30 Oct 2007

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Product details

  • Paperback: 278 pages
  • Publisher: Griffin; Reprint edition (30 Oct. 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312374593
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312374594
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 1.7 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 838,567 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Duane Swierczynski is the author of thrillers Expiration Date and Severance Package,and the Charlie Hardie series. He also writes for Marvel Comics and co-authored Level 26 with CSI creator Anthony Zuiker.

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By D. J. Wheatley on 30 Dec. 2006
Format: Hardcover
"The Blonde" opens with a great line - "I poisoned your drink", a hook that pulls the reader into the rapid descent into mayhem of the protagonist's previously mundane life.

The author guides the reader seamlessly and smoothly through each transition, each tightening of the screw, each step on the road the mayhem. And what a journey - it's packed with mystery, drama, dark dark laughs and gore.

This is a great read, and if you pass this one by you'll regret it.
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By rachelcreative VINE VOICE on 11 Jan. 2011
Format: Paperback
Really really enjoyed this, quite cleverly written. I'm left with the feeling that this book is a bit like watching a good action movie except being a book you get even more immersed in it.

It's not deep. It *is* pretty violent and a bit gory in places with adult themes.

But I agree that hook with the opening like "I've poisoned your drink" is great and I've never read a book like this before. Kind of original, sassy and not predictable.

It held my interest and kept me guessing where the story was heading next.

It also includes a novella in the back The Redhead which is basically a "what happened next" continuation of the The Blonde. Pretty good. I could have lived without reading it and having it left to my imagination but overall really enjoyed the book. Something a bit different.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 40 reviews
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Warning: Do Not Open This Book... 25 Dec. 2006
By Gary Griffiths - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
...unless you've no plans for the rest of the day.

Trust me - this is about as good as modern pulp crime fiction gets - a frantic, dark, and cynical half day romp through a Philadelphia night that combines the lean, no nonsense tough guy style of the classic masters of crime with a neat pop science fiction twist. This is the bizarre offspring of Raymond Chandler, were he writing for the iPod generation, and Michael Crichton, without the tedious baggage of scientific supporting detail.

Jack Eisley is a Chicago newsman, traveling to Philly to meet his wife's divorce lawyer. Meeting beautiful blonde Kelly Whyte on the flight, Jack succumbs to a drink in the airport bar. And from the "I poisoned your drink" opening line to a satisfyingly twisted climax 226 pages later that will come too soon, this is a rock-`em, sock-`em, in-your-face thriller that will keep you as close to this book as Kelly, you'll learn, needs to keep Jack. Rising above the crowd in this solid cast is Mike Kowalski, an ultra-secret government operative and part time vigilante who, in his spare time, is assassinating the Philadelphia mob, goomba-by-goomba, to settle an old score. Kowalski is a memorable thug, an indestructible, larger than life lethal weapon of a man who'd be comfortable knocking around with Bennie and the biker in Sam Peckinpah's "Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia." And though Swiercynski is not one to allow plot complexities to slow down the not stop mayhem, the players and pieces do eventually come together in a conclusion that if macabre, is satisfying.

Duane Swierczynski is the real deal - a writer who clearly enjoys his craft and practices it with hip, clean prose that is meant to shock and entertain. I thoroughly enjoyed last year's "The Wheelman"; "The Blonde" obliterates any risk of sophomore jinx. Do yourself a favor - get to know Swierczynski and his rocking tales of Philadelphia noir.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
A White-Hot Bullet Right Between The Eyes 12 May 2007
By Mel Odom - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Duane Swierczynski has, with the publication of THE BLONDE become one of the new next-gen crime writers I'm watching. He's an editor-in-chief of a major Philadelphia newspaper, so his lean, muscular prose come to him naturally from a daily grind. The imagination is purely his, but it's a new twist on a lot of the old noir-style books and movies that I love so much.

I never know what to expect from his characters. In The Blonde I wasn't even sure who the good guys were until the final pages of the book were sorted out. It was a great ride, and I couldn't stop turning pages once I'd started. I'd read the warnings on the book posted by other writers and reviews, but they really meant it.

His previous release from a mainstream publisher came in 2005. THE WHEELMAN was a blistering read that kept you glued to the story in a merciless grip. See, Swiercynski has this take-no-prisoners mentality that just grabs the reader by the throat on page one, introduces a problem the protagonist has to handle just to survive, then turns the tables on him (and the reader!) before another 15 or 20 pages have gone by.

Reading the twists and turns of his plots is like constantly getting surprised by an opposing boxer's hooks and jabs slipping right through your defenses. No matter how ready you think you are, you keep getting smashed and broken up, and get left wondering how it's all going to shake out.

THE BLONDE has one of the best opening sequences I've seen in a long time. A woman in the Philly airport tells Jack Eisley, the main character, that she's poisoned his drink and he's going to be dead in eight hours. He blows her off, thinking she's just weird. And the reader watches as Jack gives her the slip and walks away. Normally there would be something that would prevent him from doing that.

Not in Swierrcynski's world. He finds a reason to make the protagonist give in and go back to the airport hoping to find the woman, Kelly White. Jack's nausea and vomiting convinces him he has been poisoned, so he returns for the antidote. Only the woman fesses up to him and tells him she actually needs him because she's infested with nanobots that will kill her if she's left alone.

Okay, we've suddenly entered the Twilight Zone as our crime thriller goes into Michael Crichton overdrive.

Then we pick up the next main character. His name is Kowalski. He's an operative for a super-secret government organization. A close reader will remember him from THE WHEELMAN, and I thought it was great that Swierczynski rewards his fans like that. The author's building quite a little violent family out in Philly. But he's not afraid to kill them off, either.

Kowalski has been killing Mafia guys off the clock on his own time as revenge for the death of his girlfriend and their child. That plotline goes back to the previous novel, but it isn't necessary to have read it first. It does add to things, though.

Now Kowalski's been given a new assignment: Find a professor and bring back his head. Kowalski never even flinches at the prospect. It's all business to him. But his business goes south in a hurry as events go awry.

Swierczynski's characters are all interesting people, but I wouldn't want to meet any of them. None of them care for much outside their own skins. But, man, they are an absolute blast to read about.

THE BLOND is a white-hot bullet of a story that hits the reader right between the eyes. Taking place in less than nine hours, the story will leave you breathless with anxiety and brimming with anticipation of what's going to happen next. It's a race to the finish as Swierczynski wheels this high-octane, V-8 thriller for the checkered flag.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Sit Down, Strap In, and Shut Up..... 17 Jan. 2007
By Don In Fremont - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
You are gonna need sweat bands to read this book!

The Blonde swirls with violence, humor, politics and just plain craziness. Duane Swerve, uh, Swycz, oh hell, let's just call him Duane S., shall we? OK, so it's Swierczynski. I don't want to make him angry, after all, god knows he's capable of some serious revenge. Anyway, he has created an instant classic, a book that SCREAMS (literally and loudly) for Tarentino, Rodriguez, or even Frank Miller to adapt and film.

Swierczynski, at the book's outset, drops us square in the middle of a personal hell belonging to one Jack Eisley, a soon-to-be-divorced journalist from Chicago. You see, poor Jack, who also appears in Swierczynski's previous novel, The Wheelman, had the misfortune to be targeted by a particularly industrious blonde, currently named Kelly White, and she informs him, out of the blue, 1) she's poisoned his drink with a "luminous toxin"; 2) he has but hours to live; 3) he must accompany her for the foreseeable future in order to receive the antidote. If this reminds you of a certain classic noir film...good...you are in the right place.

Because then, Kelly takes Jack on a little tour of his hell, complete with nightmarish blood-borne surveillance devices and scenarios best described as Jim Thompson with a shot of Phil Dick.

If that's not enough (and believe me when I say it isn't), Swierczynski is also developing another narrative, that of Mike Kowalski, sniper/assassin/comedian of unknown affiliation. He might work for Homeland Security, or any other nameless and scary group of law-takers. Doesn't really matter, because, with all his demons, he is immensely likeable. Part of Swierczynski's genius is that he has made Kowalski the hero of the book. Somehow. And if you think this is all just crazy-mad style, get over yourself. He's crafted a serious story around all the outsized action, with an ending as satisfying as they come.

OK, so we have hot girls, self-replicating killer-spy nanomachines, journo-suckers, affable hit-men, double-secret government cadres; are we forgetting anything? OH YEAH, a severed head in a duffle bag!!


So whip out the card, mortgage the farm, do what you gotta to, just GET THE BLONDE!! It overflows with noir-y goodness.....
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Just suppose ... 21 Sept. 2009
By D. Sturm - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
... that government scientists were working on a secret project to create microscopic, self-replicating robots called nanobots that could ... yeah, nanobots, microscopic robots. Just let me finish. These nanobots can thrive in the human bloodstream and when a cute girl scientist gets infected she goes on the run ... well, why can't scientists be cute blondes? Are you sexist? ... Anyway, these nanobots can make the infected person's head explode ... I don't know how, exactly, it's just the way these nanobots work. She meets this guy in a bar at Philadelphia International Airport and poisons his drink. Kinda funny, the first line in the book is "I poisoned your drink." ... Why? Because she's promised him the antidote if he stays within 10 feet of her. ... Because if no one is within 10 feet of her her head will explode. See? She's got the nanobots. Meanwhile, there's this Homeland Security black ops agent named Kowalski ... Why can't black ops guys be Polish? Watch your step, my mom is Polish. ... Anyway, he's after the girl scientist and needs this dead guy's head ... What? Oh, he needs the head because, uh, I forgot ... Oh, and did I mention this black ops guy has a vendetta against Cosa Nostra kingpins. He's murdering them one by one. ... Well, you see, it's because he had this girlfriend ...

I liked this blistering-paced pulp novel, and you will too if you can keep tongue firmly planted in cheek. This is 100 percent calories, 0 percent nutrition. You shouldn't eat it every day, but once in a while is a treat.

I seem to be reading Duane's books backwards. I started with "Severance Package," which is a better book than this one. I want to check out "Wheelman," too. I used to live in Lancaster, Pa., and my ex-wife is from the Germantown neighborhood in Philly. Got to like the city ... but you have to not mind seeing razorwire everywhere.

If you liked this novel and haven't yet introduced yourself to Charlie Huston's Hank Thompson trilogy, starting with "Caught Stealing," you owe it to yourself to take the plunge. Huston's plots move just as fast and are just as violent, but there's more furry animals.

Both these guys need Hollywood contracts, big time.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Dark sci fi - noir 26 Dec. 2006
By Tim Niland - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Very dark humor prevades this well written noir mystery about Jack, a man on his way to his divorce proceedings when he becomes entranced by a bewitching blonde at the airport bar. The blonde is a scientist on the run from a shadowy outfit and she and Jack soon wind up being chased by a demon haunted homeland security agent who carries with him a severed head and truly warped sense of humor. The book proceeds at a furious pace, but doesn't overstay it's welcome. If you enjoy pulp mysteries by the like of Ken Bruen or Richard Stark, this one is for you.
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