Henry Swann is the quintessential, old-style detective (though he eschews the title and owns only to “skip tracer”); he’s sassy and sure, smart and smart-mouthed. A dropout from Columbia, Swann quotes the classics but his real education comes from the school of hard knocks where he garners the cynicism and wisdom to stay one step ahead of the game in New York City. Like all good protagonists, he’s got a wounded heart, a noble soul and a philosopher’s intellect.

In this, the second book of the series, Swann has sworn off sleuthing and taken up work as a cable installer – or as he says: “I’m in communications.” But all those steps to climb, all those demanding customers to please leave him disillusioned and weary. A quick gig for an old friend leads him into the clutches of a high-rolling lawyer desperate to find his rebellious daughter who has gone missing, along with her less-than-reputable, whiz-kid fiancé.

The money’s top-notch and the job sounds like a walk in the park, but, of course, it’s not. In the process of solving the case, Swann matches wits with a number of lively characters, including self-serving academics, a seductive waitress and devious book collectors. The story, which moves up and down the coast and even crosses the Atlantic to London, is fueled by a cascade of plot twists that keep the reader guessing to the end.

Swann’s Last Song, the first in the series, was nominated for a Shamus Award for Best First PI Novel.  Word on the street says there’s more to come, and that Swann is destined for a long and bright future.

5 thoughts on “Swann Dives In by Charles Salzberg

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