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The Blonde    by Duane Swierczynski order for
by Duane Swierczynski
Order:  USA  Can
Minotaur, 2006 (2006)
* *   Reviewed by Tim Davis

Jack Eisley has arrived in the Philadelphia airport, and he is dreading his upcoming appointment with his wife's divorce attorney. So, to keep his mind off his marital problems and to kill some time, Jack spends a little time in an airport bar where he meets a beautiful blonde. Things are looking promising for Jack and the blonde. Then things get really strange and scary when she leans over and whispers those four little words no one really wants to hear: 'I've poisoned your drink!'

Then, as if the relationship isn't already off to a somewhat unusual beginning, the blonde tells Jack that they need to stay together if he wants to have any hope of getting an antidote for the poison; making matters even more fantastic, the blonde says something else: 'If I don't have someone within ten feet of me at all times, I'll die.' As it turns out, this blonde - calling herself Kelly White - has apparently had devices called Mary Kates implanted in her body, and she tells Jack, 'If the Mary Kates detect that I'm alone, they'll travel to my brain and make it explode.' So, of course, Jack and Kelly decide to spend a little time together at a hotel.

Meanwhile, Mike Kowalski, a super-secret operative with apparent connections to the Department of Homeland Security is busily involved in an enigmatic and murderous mission in Houston, Texas. He learns, however, that he must change his plans and go immediately to Philadelphia. Once there, he must track down the elusive Kelly White; otherwise, an ostensibly benign experiment in bioterrorism research is about to spin terribly out of control.

So, with that as the opening premise for The Blonde, readers are invited to follow along as Jack Eisley, Kelly White, and Mike Kowalski are about to experience the most peculiar intersection of their three separate lives. In a tale involving relentless assassins, philandering husbands, a violent waitress, eccentric crime scene investigators, shady cab drivers, and some of the most unexpected settings and circumstances in crime fiction, The Blonde becomes a non-stop, roller-coaster ride of excitement and surprises. Alternating between the macabre and lascivious, the violent and the humorous, and the politically-incorrect and quirky, author Duane Swierczynski's novel is original, intense, and consistently entertaining. Eschewing all things ordinary and commonplace, The Blonde is certainly a powerful antidote to the run-of-the-mill mystery thriller. Read it and discover why best-selling author Joe Lansdale calls Swierczynski the hottest new thing in crime fiction. Learn why Laura Lippman calls The Blonde perfect. Read it and enjoy!

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