A Henry Swann Mystery
by Charles Salzberg
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Pub Date 20 May 2019 | Archive Date 27 May 2019
When Henry Swann is asked by his quirky partner, Goldblatt, to find a missing psychic who’s swindled his ex-wife out of a small fortune, he just can’t say no. Although he doesn’t actually expect to get paid, he figures it might give him a chance to finally learn more about his partner’s mysterious past. His search takes him into the controversial, arcane world of psychics, fortunetellers, and charlatans, while raising questions in his own mind about whether or not there is an after-life.
While working his partner’s case, he’s approached by a former employer, attorney Paul Rudder, to track down a missing witness who might be able to provide an alibi for his client, Nicky Diamond, a notorious mob hitman who’s scheduled to go on trial in a week for murder he claims he didn’t commit. Swann’s search for the missing witness, who happens to be the defendant’s girlfriend, takes him from Brooklyn to a small beach town across the bay from Mobile, Alabama. But what does she really know and will she even come back with him to testify for her boyfriend?
“From Manhattan to Coney Island to the steamy shores of Alabama, Charles Salzberg delivers a top-flight mystery with his latest Henry Swann outing. Highly recommended.” —Tom Straw, New York Times bestselling author as Richard Castle
“Psychics, double-crosses, missing persons—Charles Salzberg’s latest Henry Swann book has it all. Swann’s Down is a gritty, no-frills PI novel that brings to mind greats like Reed Farrel Coleman’s Moe Prager and Michael Harvey’s Michael Kelly. Whether this is your first Swann adventure or the latest, you won’t want to miss the brass-knuckle punch that is Swann’s Down. Trust me.” —Alex Segura, author of Blackout and Dangerous Ends
“Swann’s Down gives readers two intriguing mysteries for the price of one, as skip tracer Henry Swann pursues a woman who might alibi a murderer and a psychic who swindled the ex-wife of Swann’s partner. Swann’s wry wit, quotes from authors and philosophers, genius for questioning suspects, and dark past make him a character readers will follow anywhere as he seeks his quarry. This is another thrilling addition to this excellent series.” —Rich Zahradnik, Shamus Award-winning author of Lights Out Summer
“Henry Swann dives in where others fear to tread in Swann’s Down. Fast. Funny. And smart. This time out, Swann crosses paths with a psycho hitman, a phony psychic and Swann’s mysterious partner, a disbarred lawyer. Who could ask for more? I hope we’ll see a lot more of Swann in the future and that this isn’t Swann’s swan song.” —Paul D. Marks, Shamus Award-winning author of White Heat and Broken Windows
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 7 members
Swann’s Down appears to be the fifth book in the Henry Swann mystery series. This is an enjoyable mystery novel set in Manhattan and Alabama featuring a mismatched pair of operatives, skip tracer Swann and disbarred lawyer Goldblatt. It is a low key mystery without gunfights, Chase scenes, or voluptuous redheads. But it is the story of a plodding operative - he doesn’t like being called a private eye - who tackles two mysteries and gets involved with con games, Fortune tellers, hit men, and missing witnesses. What it lacks in direct action is more than made up for with the cool narrative voice and the constant banter. Definitely going to pick u the other books in the series.
This is a fast and fun read solving two mysteries at once. The writing is superb. Streetwise and intelligent dialogue kept me glued to the pages.
Our main character Henry Swann doesn't call himself a private eye, but he does know how to find people and things and that's why he gets hired.
In this story there are two women missing. One is a charlatan who took a huge sum of money from a friend. The other is the girlfriend of a hitman, who's needed in court.
The path to discovery is well crafted and doesn't give anything away until the end, in the meantime fully entertaining the reader with New York's 'finest'.
Swann's Down is the fifth book in the Henry Swann mysteries, which I didn't know, and I fully intend to read them all!
Thank you Netgalley and Down and Out Books for the ARC.
A very good, enjoyable and entertaining mystery.
I loved the style of writing, the well written characters and how the engaging plot was developed.
A very good mystery, it's the first I read in this series and had no problems in understanding the plot or the characters.
I look forward to reading other books in this series.
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine.
In Charles Salzberg’s SWANN’S DOWN, Henry Swann takes on two cases. The first case presented is one featuring a questionable fortune teller who has taken Swann’s partners former wife for most of her inherited fortune. While Swann has just begun to start tracing the medium, he is approached by an attorney he’s worked for in the past who wants him to track a young woman he needs to provide an alibi for his client.
Throughout the book, Swann moves between the two cases, sometimes with the questionable aid of his partner, Goldblatt. This is the fifth book in the Henry Swann series, and the explanation of who Goldblatt is and why he is now attached to Swann as an unwelcome partner may be explained in earlier books. No matter, it has nothing to do with these two cases or Swann’s activities as he works to track down the two principal’s for each case. That said, Goldblatt offers some interesting syncopation to Swann’s activities and reporting of his efforts such as when he accompanies Swann to the attorney’s office or when he shows up at a restaurant where Swann has set up a meeting.
There is just enough action to keep the book moving at a good pace along with just enough action to underscore the reality that Swann’s chosen profession is not without danger. Swann himself is not a stranger to difficulty, nor to a lack of funds which is a major part of what drives him. Still, he comes across as a man with a reasonably good moral compass whose approach to his cases and his dealing with people while doing his job is colored by his basic sense of what might best be described as a belief in “doing the right thing.”
Swann’s activities in this book take him to two vastly different coastal communities. On the one hand, he travels to Fairhope, Alabama, across the bay from Mobile in search of a witness. For the other case, he travels out to Coney Island on the hope that a promised meeting with an unknown man will yield some needed information without causing him bodily harm.
Throughout the book, Swann reminds himself of his job, it’s scope and its limitations. It’s possible for him to abdicate long-term responsibility for end term results by the often employed idea that “it’s not my job”. Somehow, as a reader, this seems to be an acceptable answer when employed by Swann.
In summary, I’m delighted to have decided to step out from my typical read to try something new. This book has several things going for it:
1. The story is engaging with just enough mixture of suspense and lightheartedness to keep you entertained and wanting to read further.
2. Interesting characters who help round out the story and make you want to read other books in the series to find out more about them and how they relate to Henry Swann.
3. A protagonist who is entertaining and who has a number of positive characteristics, but who also has his dark side.
One caution for those who prefer their books free of profanity. Many of these characters, including Henry Swann and Goldblatt, are rough around the edges people with lots of street smarts as well as street language.
My thanks to NetGalley and Down and Out Books for an Advanced Read copy of this book. It stands alone as it is completely self-contained. I’m delighted to have found a new author and a new protagonist to add to my list of future reads.
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