Thursday, May 29, 2008

"Secret Dead Men" by Duane Swiercyznski

After reading "The Blonde", I was anxious to find something else by the author to check out. We have a copy of "Severance Package", his newest book, on order, but who wants to wait? So I found myself a copy of an older title, "Secret Dead Men". And after reading it, I'm just not really sure what to think.

This is not one of those logical action sort of books, where point A leads to point B leads to a neatly wrapped package of an ending at point C. I would most definitely call this a mind-f**k of a book. It's interesting in a "what the hell is going on here?" kind of way. And it's short, clocking in at just under 200 pages, so it's not as if it takes forever to reach the end.

Detective Del Farmer has an unusual ability to collect souls, often consulting with them after their deaths to help solve their murders. He's got an elaborate "Brain Hotel" in his mind where he compartmentalizes his souls, giving them the opportunity to have a bit of a life after their deaths. He even relies on them at times to take over his body to perform certain parts of the investigation. It's all been going fairly well until now. This last collection has become a complete fiasco, even though it may finally lead Del to the mysterious Association, the super-secret group he was investigating when he himself was killed. Yes, that's right - Del is actually a collected soul as well. After his collector, Robert, decided to "move on", Del was left in charge of the collecting - and the body that Robert was using. Del Farmer was incinerated in a car fire by The Association, thus his need for closure (and possibly revenge).

Del has gone to Woody Creek to investigate the death of one Brad Larsen, a professor in the Federal Witness Protection program. He "collects" Brad, who tells Del that he'll help him track down The Association (he has inside knowledge) if he will in turn help Brad get even with his killers. Brad's wife, Alison, was also at the remote cabin and now lies dead on the floor, something that is devastating to Brad when he finds out. Del agrees to the deal. But is Brad really who he says he is?

It's hard to say. There's Del, there's the characters "living" in Del's brain, there's the killers, there's a possible robot, and a whole lot more. As I said in the into, this is one weird book, but I liked it. It's a bit hard to follow at times, especially the leaps from "reality" to the internal world of the Brain Hotel. It does make sense in a strange kind of way, but you have to be willing to go along for the ride. Do NOT try to use logic on this book!

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