Secret Dead Men is an interesting concept disastrously executed.
Del Farmer is a murdered reporter who has his soul absorbed by someone investigating his killers. He eventually takes over the investigation himself, absorbing souls along the way and housing them in a hotel within his brain. As concepts go it’s not without potential but, by the end, it devolves into a god awful mess. The characters are paper thin and jumbled, no one’s actions or words ring particularly true and the original interesting concept continues to evolve in ever more ridiculous directions.
I enjoyed the last two books I’ve read by Duane Swierczynski, (The Driver, a straight forward crime novel about a double-crossed get away driver and The Blonde, another high-concept crime novel that works well once you accept the somewhat far-fetched central conceit), so it pains me to give this book one star but, this was a real stinker. By the end I was muscling my way through simply because I was close to the end and it was a quick read.