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Secret Dead Men Paperback – March 22, 2007

11 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: PointBlank (March 22, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0809556383
  • ISBN-13: 978-0809556380
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #596,398 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Duane Swierczynski is the author of several crime thrillers, including the Edgar-nominated and Anthony Award-winning Expiration Date, as well the Charlie Hardie series (Fun & Games, Hell & Gone, Point & Shoot), which has been nominated for Anthony, Shamus, Macavity and Barry awards and optioned for TV. He currently writes Birds of Prey for DC Comics, Godzilla and the forthcoming Judge Dredd for IDW Comics, Bloodshot for Valiant Comics, and has written about the Punisher, Cable, the Immortal Iron Fist, Werewolf By Night, Black Widow and Deadpool for Marvel Comics. Duane has also collaborated with CSI creator Anthony E. Zuiker on a series of bestselling "digi-novel" thrillers which include Level 26: Dark Origins, Dark Prophecy and Dark Revelations. In a previous life, he worked as an editor and writer for Details, Men's Health and Philadelphia magazines, and was the editor-in-chief of the Philadelphia City Paper. He lives in Philly. You can say "yo" to him at or

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Untouchable on March 8, 2005
Format: Hardcover
When a man and his wife are found murdered in the tiny town of Woody Creek, Illinois, the FBI are called out to the scene, including our protagonist Special Agent Kevin Kennedy. The dead couple were part of the witness protection program at the time of their brutal murder. Sounds like your standard opening to a run-of-the-mill thriller, doesn't it? But this is anything but. You see, not only is Kevin Kennedy really Del Farmer, but Del Farmer has been dead for years.

In a nutshell, Del Farmer was murdered by The Association, which is his name for the unknown members of the Las Vegas mob, with whom he had run afoul thanks to his work as an investigative journalist. When he died, his soul was "collected" and stored inside the mind of another person effectively keeping him alive, at least in spirit if not in body. He now controls that body and devotes his time to hunting down The Association with the aim of eliminating them. Along the way he collects the souls of the dead, using their talents to draw him nearer to his goal. But while Del is concentrating on satisfying his thirst for revenge he is unaware that one of the souls he has collected is about to send his virtual world spinning out of control.

Secret Dead Men is a fast-paced story based around murder, revenge, peace of mind and peace in mind. . The obvious difference here to other murder investigation stories is that people are seeking revenge for their own murders! Author Duane Swierczynski (it's pronounced the way its spelt) has come up with a mind bending scenario for life after death and the possible fate of your soul once it has departed the body.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Gary Griffiths VINE VOICE on January 12, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
OK, so if you're like me, you may be put off by the premise that this hard-boiled detective collects the souls of the recently dead, rather than fingerprints and clues. But not to worry - in the hands of Duane Swierczynski, if not the most talented, certainly the most original young author it hit the pages in the last decade or so, mixing crime fiction and metaphysics is child's play. "Secret Dead Men" is an incredible achievement: fresh, inventive, darkly humorous, unconventional, bizarre, and ultimately an unforgettable page-turner. It will have you scratching your head and flipping back through the pages in some parts; laughing out loud in others, while thinking "I can't believe Swiercynski pulled this off" though out.

So yeah, Del Farmer is a private detective, but he is also dead, murdered about a decade before the novel's 1976 setting. Upon is death, his soul was transported into the body of another, and from that point, Farmer is able to "host" the souls of others in his own "Brain Hotel". This comes in handy as Farmer, bent on taking revenge on the mysterious "Association" that offed him in real life, is able to collect the souls of folks with knowledge and facts that could help him on his quest of vengeance. Sound convoluted? You bet - but trust me, it works. Swiercynski's management of the Brain Hotel is brilliant - Sartre created a philosophy and won a Nobel Prize with less - while Swierczynski simply bends culture, religion, the spirit, and noir for fun.

Look, this is a book that is better read than reviewed. Just do it - or you'll be missing the first truly original novel of the 21st Century. Well done, Mr. S!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Nancy French on June 12, 2005
Format: Hardcover
"Secret Dead Men" is in a realm by itself.

When I picked up this book, I literally couldn't imagine where the author would take me from one page to the next. Swierczynski creates this odd afterlife (not the kind learned at church) and forces the reader to emotionally invest into the whacky characters and their plights.

Set in Philadelphia in the seventies, I didn't understand any of his cultural allusions. However, by the end of the novel, I was fully familiar with the Brain Hotel, the soul stealing capabilities of the protagonist, and even had a new appreciation of toilets.

This is the kind of book that will make you giddy with the eccentricity of it all... and might make you a tad disappointed in the next book you pick up. But, don't fear... I think the author has another novel coming out soon.

If it's anything like "Secret Dead Men," buy it on a long weekend. You'll want to do nothing else!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Tania Hutchison on July 13, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This book is a fantastic combination of an imaginative premise, traditional mystery/crime elements, and humour. The story is both unique and compelling, with some of the most colourful characters I've ever had the pleasure of reading. Some parts do require careful reading; there are a lot of characters and some of the action (especially near the end) gets wonderfully complicated.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By David Montgomery VINE VOICE on February 21, 2005
Format: Paperback
Readers looking for a change from the sameness that plagues so many mysteries are advised to check out the fresh and idiosyncratic debut Secret Dead Men, by Duane Swierczynski.

Del Farmer is a P.I., but he doesn't collect clues; he collects the souls of the recently dead, hoping they can help him with his investigations. Of course, they usually don't. Most of the time they just end up causing him trouble.

Del is trying to get the goods on an organized crime group known as "The Association," but the harder he digs, the less he seems to know. The souls he keeps stashed away in his mind (in a place he calls the "Brain Hotel") are no help either, not even those of the former FBI agent or the mob hit man.

If you're starting to suspect that Secret Dead Men is not the ordinary mystery novel, you're right. It is offbeat, quirky and confident, revealing Swierczynski as a talented newcomer.
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