I’m only 1/5th of the way into Earthquake Weather, but I am ready to say that Expiration Date is the weakest volume of The Fisher King trilogy.

As a part of a larger overarching story, it’s not. In Last Call there are a couple of references to a minor character that you don’t meet until Expiration Date, and in Expiration Date there is one sentence when you find out that the odd habits of one of the characters is a result of her attempt to participate in the main events of Last Call. Finally, in the early chapters of Earthquake Weather there are constant explanations of the main concepts in both previous books, and frankly improbable suggestions about how they tie together and form a cohesive background.

As a standalone novel, Expiration Date is less than riveting. Most of the novel consists of endless cat and mouse action between myriad good and bad guys, with the bad guys finding out they are actually looking for the same good guys, and the good guys being horrible at running away. One of the quarries is a kid, and he’s actually doing a pretty good job considering 1) he’s eleven, 2) his pursuer has a homing sense of where he is, 3) his pursuer is an incredibly creepy immortal guy with a spectral arm. But the other main character is a grown man in his prime with a car and money, whose pursuer is an obese elderly wreck of a woman with serious self-esteem issues.

Even the ghost of Thomas Edison fell short for me.

What? It was on the book jacket, that was not a spoiler.

I was looking forward to some first class characterization, come on, Thomas Alva Edison’s ghost inhabits Indian boy. There should have been room for awesome writing there. It was alright, and the best element of a lackluster book, but didn’t really live up to my expectations of comedy or poignancy. The ending of the book was as one would expect, final showdown in a phantasmagorical realm. What I expected to happen happened, and the book ended. On the front cover of the edition I read was a quote from The Washington Post,

Powers writes action and adventure that Indiana Jones could only dream of.

While I know that to be true, it’s misleading to put it on this particular book.

 

Verdict: Skippable.