Monday, November 4, 2013

Review of Severance Package by Duane Swierczynski (Minotaur Books, 2008)

With a new born son, Jamie DeBroux, is not happy to be having to go into work on a Saturday morning.  He’s even less happy when the boss announces that he is terminating everybody’s contract forthwith, with the termination involving a fatal drink, the doors exiting the 36th floor rigged with lethal sarin gas.  A moment later and the boss is on his back, a bullet lodged in his brain and all hell has broken loose.  DeBroux thought he was working as a press officer for a financial company; it turns out that it was a top secret organisation targeting terrorist bank accounts.  Everyone else on the floor seems to be equipped with specialist operative skills and it appears that it’s every person for themselves.  All DeBroux wants is to make it back home to his wife and son, but the least well equipped he’ll be lucky to survive at all given the rising body count.

Severance Package starts at a quick clip and never lets up in pace.  Taking the form of a locked room escape drama, with a small number of operatives trapped on the 36th floor of a Philadelphia skyscraper pitted against each other, the story is laced with black humour and is full of twists and turns.  And over the course of a few hours Swierczynski cranks up the tension through a continuous conveyor belt of engaging action sequences.  Indeed, the strength of the story is the plot, with the characters having just enough back story to give them substance.  I thought it was a blast.  If I was a movie producer, I’d snap the options on Severance Package as it’s a ready-made action movie script, one that has three very strong female lead roles.  Overall, great fun with a lovely sucker punch ending.




4 comments:

Margot Kinberg said...

Rob - Oh, this does sound like a good 'un. I like the elevator premise too. Thanks for the fine review.

verymessi said...

Swiercynski is one of my favorite writers. Have not read this one. Have to put it on the pile!

Marina Sofia said...

Sounds not just exciting but also like macabre fun! Or do I mean fierce sarcasm?

TracyK said...

This sounds like one I should try. And I agree, while I was reading your review I was thinking what a great movie it would make. Great review.