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SECRET DEAD MEN by Duane Swierczynski

Secret Dead Men

Detective Del Farmer is investigating a murder. But the usual suspects are all in his head.

Del Farmer isn’t your ordinary hardboiled private eye. Instead of collecting fingerprints or clues, he collects souls of the recently dead. His latest dead guy, Brad Larsen, might just be the key to destroying Farmer’s longtime nemesis, The Association.Of course, Farmer is sadly mistaken. Larsen isn’t offering up the goods. An FBI agent unstuck in time is toying with him. A mysterious couple keeps trying to kill him. Another job — a mundane babysitting gig that pays the bills — is threatening to steer him way off course into a violent hell of sexual deceit, fractured identities, and cheap apartment toilets.

“Believe in nothing, believe in Hell, believe in the Brain Hotel . . . Secret Dead Men is the most inventive, uplifting, hilarious, moving novel since Catcher in the Rye.”

“It is inevitable in genre fiction that a certain sameness will characterize many of the books within a given category. Nowhere is this truer than with the detective novel, an area of fiction riddled with staleness, lethargy and cliche.

That is why it is such a treat to discover a book that takes the traditional forms and puts a unique spin on them, reflecting the mind of an author with both new ideas and an idiosyncratic personality. Secret Dead Men, the debut novel from Philadelphia City Paper editor Duane Swierczynski, is just such a book.”

DUANE SWIERCZYNSKI, the biggest name (literally) in American crime writing, is the author of six non-fiction books, including This Here’s A Stick-Up: The Big Bad Book Of American Bank Robbery (Alpha, 2002) and The Big Book O’ Beer (Quirk, 2004). He’s worked as an editor at Men’s Health, Details and Philadelphia magazines, and now teaches journalism at La Salle University. God help those kids.

Some strange—yet true—facts about the author’s vowel-challenged name:

* “Swierczynski” loosely translates into “dweller near a fir tree.”

* Duane and his brother Gregg were named after the Allman Brothers

* Duane’s mother actually got a shorter name by marrying his father. (Her maiden name was “Wojciechowski.”)

* Duane named his first-born son “Parker” in honor of the Richard Stark character.

* In Poland, “Swierczynski” is pronounced “Smith.”

SECRET DEAD MEN, Duane’s easy-to-pronounce crime fiction debut, will be published later this year by PointBlank.

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