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Severance Package

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Overview

Jamie DeBroux’s boss has called a special meeting for all “key personnel” at 9:00 a.m. on a hot Saturday in August.

When Jamie arrives, the conference room is stocked with cookies and champagne. His boss smiles and tells his employees, “We’re a cover for a branch of the intelligence community. And we’re being shut down.” Jamie’s boss then tells everyone to drink some champagne, and in a few seconds they’ll fall asleep—-for good. If they refuse,...

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Severance Package

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Overview

Jamie DeBroux’s boss has called a special meeting for all “key personnel” at 9:00 a.m. on a hot Saturday in August.

When Jamie arrives, the conference room is stocked with cookies and champagne. His boss smiles and tells his employees, “We’re a cover for a branch of the intelligence community. And we’re being shut down.” Jamie’s boss then tells everyone to drink some champagne, and in a few seconds they’ll fall asleep—-for good. If they refuse, they’ll be shot in the head.

Escape is not an option. Jamie’s boss has shut down the elevators and rigged the fire towers with chemical bombs. Panic sets in, chaos erupts, and no one is sure whom to trust. Jamie quickly realizes that there’s only one way he’s ever going to see his family again: the hard way.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Praise for Severance Package:

"[A] kinetic story, which never stops moving...turbocharged entertainment." —Marilyn Stasio, The New York Times

"Swierczynski writes a brand of thriller whose pacing forces us to reexamine our casual use of the word breakneck...This is essentially one long action scene that begs for the next Tarantino to direct. But if that sounds like faint praise, it isn't: there are both enough cliche killers and comedy to make us raise two thumbs up. If you want your thrillers to be, well, thrilling, pop a big bowl of corn—you won't leave your seat until the end."—Booklist

"The best word to describe Swierczynski's latest thriller is frenetic, and even that is likely an understatement." —Library Journal

"Fans of crime fiction will find Swierczynski's latest offering to be a guilty pleasure of unparalleled magnitude. With pedal-to-the-metal pacing, characters who appear to be meek cubicle dwellers a la 'Office Space' but are really cold-blooded, black-ops killers, and enough gut-churning violence to make a Quentin Tarantino movie look like a Disney musical replete with singing candlesticks and teapots, the dark, twisted energy in this novel is palpable." —The Chicago Tribune

“A hot shot of adrenaline straight to the neural plexus.” –Joe Schreiber, author of Chasing the Dead and Eat the Dark

Praise for The Blonde:

"Compulsively readable...rockets forward with inventive ferocity. [The] plot uncoils in a rapid-fire series of time-coded moments that generate a relentless tension. Brilliantly paced insanity."

Houston Chronicle"Hardboiled enough to crack walnuts, [with] action more precipitous than a bobsled run." —Philadelphia Inquirer

"Rapid-fire pacing, hard-boiled dialogue and excellent local color."—Publishers Weekly

"This is another fast, funny, and action-packed outing from a writer who, fortunately for us, doesn't seem to know how to slow down."—Booklist

"THE BLONDE will be the most madcap, mordantly funny and completely mesmerizing novel you will read this year. The action begins in the first sentence and doesn’t let up until the last."—Mystery News

"Duane Swierczynski's new novel, THE BLONDE, is as lean as a starving model, mean as a snake, and fast as a jet. It's also one hell of fine read. This guy has got to be the hottest new thing in crime fiction, and THE BLONDE is one of the best crime reads I've had in some time."—Joe R. Lansdale, bestselling author of THE BOTTOMS

Patrick Anderson
Just what is Swierczynski up to with this cornucopia of blood and betrayal? At the very least, he's written one of the most outrageously original spy thrillers I can remember…This dark satire…resembles Robert Littell's sardonic portraits of the CIA in The Defection of A.J. Lewinter and The Sisters. Swierczynski's first novel, The Wheelman, was an expert but conventional look at a bank robbery and its aftermath. There's nothing conventional about this novel, his third, and it places the author up there with Charlie Huston among the most interesting of the younger crime writers.
—The Washington Post
Marilyn Stasio
Few of the potential victims are the corporate wonks they appear to be, and some are more interesting than others, but characterization isn't the point of this turbocharged entertainment. Action is—via macabre bursts of violence dished out with extreme cruelty and astonishing cleverness.
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly

At the start of this violent and intense noir and espionage hybrid from Swierczynski (The Blonde), David Murphy, the CEO of a Philadelphia financial company, summons his seven staffers for an important Saturday meeting, where he informs them that the business is being shut down, and that unfortunately he has to kill them all. Every escape route from the 36th-floor office has been sealed off or rigged with lethal sarin gas. Suddenly, mousy Molly Lewis pulls out a gun and puts a slug in Murphy's head. The resulting chaos sets off a panicked scramble, as the reader gradually learns that the business is a front for a covert intelligence group called CI-6. Thousands of miles away in Scotland, two men monitor "Molly Lewis," who's actually a highly trained Polish operative named Ania Kuczun, as she performs her own private audition, which involves the systematic elimination of her co-workers using a truly imaginative array of methods. This action fest moves swiftly to its darkly satisfying conclusion. (May)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Library Journal

The best word to describe Swierczynski's (The Blonde) latest thriller is frenetic, and even that is likely an understatement. Jamie DeBroux is unhappy about being called in to work on a Saturday morning. But things get much worse when Jamie's boss tells him and his coworkers that he's called them into the office for the purpose of killing them all. While Jamie has served as media relations director for what he believed to be a financial services group, he's the only employee unaware that the company's a cover for an intelligence agency. Within minutes of that fateful Saturday meeting, two people are dead, and the remaining employees are left to square off against one of their own in an attempt to survive. Death and violence arrive in the first chapter and continue throughout; the graphic content is plentiful, mixed with an equal dose of black humor to lighten the tone. While not for everyone, this single-sitting thrill ride should find some readers in public libraries. [See Prepub Mystery, LJ7/07.]
—Craig Shufelt

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312343804
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 5/27/2008
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 5.54 (w) x 8.12 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Meet the Author

Duane Swierczynski is the author of The Blonde (St. Martin's Minotaur) and the writer for the monthly Marvel Comics series Cable. Until recently he was the editor-in-chief of the Philadelphia City Paper, and almost never wanted to kill his employees.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 12 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(7)

4 Star

(3)

3 Star

(1)

2 Star

(1)

1 Star

(0)

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Sort by: Showing all of 12 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 15, 2012

    A Modern Day Noir

    With non-stop action and multi-dimensional characters, this novel is captivating, cover to cover. One of my favorites!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 17, 2010

    FANTASTIC!

    Anyone who has ever had an office job can relate to this action filled book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 9, 2008

    Oh so good

    I just completed an advance readers addition of Duane Swierczynski's Severance Package and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The plot of this story is strange and very engaging. Going to work everyday can be difficult, going to work on the weekend even worse, going to work on the weekend and then realizing that you've be summoned to your death is the worst. Fun action packed summer reading. Probably better thatn most of the summer movies.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 21, 2008

    Violence in the workplace

    Severance Package is pretty much pure violence. There's no plot or point to the story other then killing from every characters possible. Although the fight scenes (and just about every other scene as well) are not very engaging, possibly because such violence doesn't translate to paper as well as it does on the big screen. One of the reviews on the back of the book states that it has 'close-quarters Bourne-style mayhem,' but it's not anywhere near the level of the Bourne trilogy. It is also very predictable, especially the ending, and few of it's twists are at all surprising. Overall, if you like violent stories and are looking for something easy to read when you're bored, this book will be fine for that. It's not horrible, it's just not that good.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    action packed espionage thriller

    In Philadelphia CEO David Murphy gathers his seven underlings to a weekend business meeting at the 36th floor office. Once they gather together, David informs the septet that he has shut down the firm and more important to them he must kill them. --- There is no escape as David has locked vacuum sealed tight all exits with some containing saran gas if opened and others just shut. All seven are stunned, but the least of them, Molly ¿mousy¿ Lewis pulls out a gun and shoots Murphy in the head. --- Across the ocean in Scotland, two operatives keep in touch with their agent inside the finance firm Ania Kuczun. What the other six fail to realize as Ania begins her assignment is that she is Molly and the company they worked for was a top secret covert operations, but lost their usefulness so each employee must be eliminated. --- This modern day, action packed espionage thriller salutes Agatha Christie¿s AND THEN THERE WERE NONE as the employees learn that their SEVERANCE PACKAGE is death. The story line is fast-paced from the moment that David informs his subordinate there is no escape as they must die and never slows down until the final death spin. --- Harriet Klausner

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 11, 2008

    Quentin Tarantino's 'The Office'

    Truly outstanding thriller, with some of the best written action in recent memory. The formula is easy: Take 'The Office', or any of the similar work place drama/comedy productions that have of late become so popular, and imagine them re-worked by Quentin Tarantino. So that, you know, Jim and Pam might be trying to kill each other as much as get the other in bed. The office dynamic is very authentic, while the violence and action are generally realistic, but highly stylized in a fashion similar to Kill Bill. The characters' personalities are very well fleshed out over a very quick paced, quick read novel- I couldn't put it down. If there was a four-and-a-half star option I may have ranked it there, as I felt there were a few questions unanswered. After reading the synopsis for his earlier novel 'The Blonde', I suspect I'll find some if not all of those answers there, even though the books aren't so much sequels or featuring the same characters. They simply seem connected by a very interesting plot thread I look forward to seeing more of. The light political commentary isn't bad either, nor heavy handed.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 17, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 12, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 10, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 28, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 23, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 12 Customer Reviews

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