Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Expiration Date-Duane Swierczynski

Expiration Date
Duane Swierczynski
Minotaur, Apr 6 2010, $13.99
ISBN: 9780312363406

Thirty-seven year old reporter Mickey Wade recently lost his position at the Philadelphia City News. Broke and heeding his mom’s advice, he moves into the apartment of his ailing grandfather to reduce his costs and to help care for his elderly relative. The Frankford neighborhood is nasty; worse than when he was a child living there and looking forward to escaping from the place. This is where his dad the musician “the Human Jukebox” was murdered.

As Mickey goes to bed with a hangover, he uses expired Tylenol to ease the headache. When he wakes up he finds himself in the neighborhood he knew over two decades ago and is especially shaken when he hears the El passing overhead. Even more shocking is to learn he is breathing on his birth date February 22 1972. He soon learns he can change things when he loses two fingers and, however upon returning to 2009, the fingers are back but useless. He begins to go back to learn more about the man who killed his father; who as a boy lived below his family.

This is an entertaining complicated time travel tale although the premise of going back to change the past even to prevent a murder has been done with plenty of frequency. Still the story line is fun to follow with a few delightful twists including a stunner and the hero is terrific as he meets the “rest of the family” and his dad’s killer when the murderer was a tweener. Expiration Date is a fine sub-genre entry, but remembers to throw away those expired pills.

Harriet Klausner

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