Monday, August 18, 2008

Severance Package

I just finished reading the novel Severance Package by Duane Swierczynski.  I've been in the mood recently to read a straight forward action novel and on my last trip to the bookstore I spotted this book.  It definitely lived up to the action billing but it's really anything but straight forward.

Severance Package is a fun, goofy action/espionage novel.  The high concept is that an everyday guy goes to work one morning and is given the unfortunate news that he actually works for a cover organization in international espionage and that due to some mistakes everyone in his office is going to have to commit suicide.  The star, Jamie, doesn't agree with the program and so the rest of the novel details his adventure in trying to get out of the building.  Along the way you are introduced to the whole crew in the office some of whom know the deal and others who were in the dark.  

There is a lot of humor in the book, office politics on a small scale mixed with international intrigue and terrorism and the action scenes are very entertaining but there are a few problems with the story.  It really feels like it was written to show around Hollywood, it's like a book that wants to be a movie and I wouldn't be surprised if it ends up in theaters in the next year or two, as a matter of fact I would be surprised if it DOESN'T end up a movie.  It feels like it could very easily be a Tarantino movie or possibly more likely a Tarantino-imitator movie and I think it would make for a good one.  This isn't a bad thing necessarily but it makes for a story that seems very thin, I read this book in just a couple hours.  The characters are pretty thin and aren't given much to do outside of a short introductory scene for each of them, aside from the main two characters I mixed up who was who quite a lot and honestly I don't think it made one bit of difference.

In the end, I would recommend it if you like action but if you're looking for anything more you could very easily wait for the movie on this one.

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