Mysterious Book Report No. 283

by John Dwaine McKenna

The MBR has often reviewed works of historical fiction—plotted as crime fiction, murder mysteries and whodunnits of all flavors, sizes and eras—and even some which take place in the future.  This week however, is as unique a piece of historical fiction as we’ve yet encountered, and an awesome job of suspenseful, twisted plotting to boot . . .

Revolver, (Mulholland Books/Little Brown and Company, $26.00, 316 pages, ISBN 978-0-316-40323-8) by Duane Swierczynski, takes place at three different times; 1965, 1995 and 2015; and from three different points of view: Stan Walczak, a Philadelphia cop who’s gunned down in a bar in ’65; his son Jim Walczak, who’s followed his father into the  Philly PD in ’95; and lastly, in 2015, Audrey, Jim’s daughter, who’s studying for her masters degree in forensic science.  She’s determined to use her classroom knowledge to solve the fifty-year-old case of her grandfather Stan’s murder for a research paper she’s writing.  Except her father, two older brothers and a whole secret cabal of heavy-duty movers and shakers in the local government, the Philadelphia Police Department and even a sprinkling of shady local community leaders . . . don’t want any part of the case revisited, reexamined, or reviewed in any possible way.  The case is notorious . . . and dormant . . . and needs to remain so as far as they’re concerned, and they’re prepared to go to any lengths to keep it that way.  With intrigue so thick the reader can almost slice it like cake, Swierczynski masterfully weaves a complex plot involving three distinctly different characters into a single surprising, electrifying and focused conclusion the likes of which MBR hasn’t ever seen before.  A master wordsmith and spellbinding storyteller at the top of his game, this author’s a surefire winner!

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