Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Duane Swierczynski: Revolver

I've been a fan of Duane Swierczynski's writing for a long time, and I ended up translating his break-through novel The Wheelman in Finnish. Later on I also translated The Blonde. The books weren't big hits, to put it mildly, but the Finnish crime fiction market is now flooded with Scandinavian titles, and we have also lots of our own crime writers, though not many seem interesting to me. The books don't sizzle the way Swierczynski's books do.

And Revolver, Swierczynski's newest novel, sure sizzles. It's a tale of three generations of cops and possible future cops (the latest one in the line is studying forensics), and the murder of the cop of the first generation. In the first story line, Stan Walczak and his black friend, Wildey, work in the 1960s Philadelphia with all its racial tension. They end up getting shot, and the case if officially closed. In the second story line, Stan's son Jim, also a cop, is digging in the 1990's into a murder case that seems like a serial killer on the loose. The third story line is about Audrey, the daughter of Jim Walczak, who, as a part of her exam, is trying to dig into Stan's killing in the present time. Audrey finds new evidence and the plot starts to unravel.

Swierczynski shows that racism hasn't ceased in the USA. He out-Ellroys Ellroy with his depiction of the corrupt society and the secrets cops have had to take part in. The book shines especially in the delivery of the three separate story lines.

Swierczynski also creates a great female character in the daughter. Audrey is a troubled young woman who doesn't really love her family and feels like no one loves her. She's smart and stubborn, and she consumes large quantities of Bloody Marys during the course of the book. I was actually starting to feel I'd have to have one myself.


Elgin Bleecker said...

Juri – This sounds like a good one. Thanks for the review.

jurinummelin said...

You're welcome!