Severance Package:
A novel for foodos.

There are foodies and then there are foodos. Foodies sample food and enjoy fine dining. I'm a foodo. I like to eat and the setting does not matter. It's the eating that counts.


That is why foodos will savor Duane Swierczynski's new novel Severance Package.

On the first page we learn that Paul Lewis has seven minutes to live. By page seven, his loving wife Molly has assassinated him with her special potato salad styled after his grandmother Stella's traditional Polish delicacy.

On page nine we learn that Molly's boss, David Murphy, has catered a Saturday morning staff meeting with "an array of cold cuts and Pepperidge Farm cookies" plus Cokes and Diet Cokes.

On page fifteen, we find Molly in the parking garage at 1919 Market Street. She dumps the contents of a white bakery box---containing cannolis purchased at the Reading Terminal and doughnuts (not donuts as in Dunkin) on the floor of the garage and places a loaded pistol between the two sugar jelly doughnuts which stuck to the bottom of the box.

On pages twenty and twenty one, we learn that on the way to the meeting Ethan Goins uses a debit card at McDonalds to purchase a large Coke, an Egg McMuffin ("With a slice of Canadian bacon wedged between the soft marble slab of egg and flour-flecked sides of a gently warmed English muffin") and four hashbrowns.

The night before, Ethan went drinking with the females from the office and got plastered with French martinis which tasted like Tang and were "sweet as a child's breakfast drink." For Ethan "the infusion of meat and caffeine and carbohydrates and protein was the only prayer he had of making it through this morning alive."

If you want to know what Philly is like in the 21st century, read Swierczynski. He is a shining Philadelphia writer and Philadelphia should be boldfaced. He celebrates the ethnic flavors of our town. He gives tastes of the social, political and architectural history of the city.

Swierczynski uses subtle humor--the kind you realize two days after reading it. In Severance Package, Paul Lewis is thankful that fifty years ago his family changed their name from Lewinski. Imagine everyone asking if Monica was your cousin?

I won't give away the plot. Get the book.