Mysterious Book Report No. 374
by John Dwaine McKenna
In the newly-released fifth adventure of tough guy and skip tracer Henry Swann: Swann’s Down, (Down & Out Books, PB, $17.95, 300 pages, ISBN 978-1-64396-011-1) by Charles Salzberg, the New York City based PI is hired by Goldblatt, his offbeat, cheapskate and difficult partner, to locate a missing psychic who’s swindled his ex-wife, Rachel, out of a boatload of money. Reluctantly, Swann agrees—not because he’s expecting to ever get paid—but because he hopes to gain some insight into Goldblatt’s murky past, of which he knows almost nothing.
But, just as Swann is plunging headlong into the occult world of mediums, séances and conversations with the dead, an old acquaintance and former employer reaches out to offer him a paying job. Attorney Paul Rudder is defending a notorious hitman by the name of Nicky Diamond. Nicky’s jailed at Riker’s Island, awaiting trial for a murder he didn’t actually commit. Swann’s job, distasteful at best, is to locate Nicky’s former girlfriend, who can provide an alibi that will exonerate him.
Now, Swann has a pair of missing persons to locate and a small fortune to try and recover. But at the same time, he’s wrestling with his conscience about the ethics of helping to free a known killer, as well as the philosophical question of whether or not there’s life after death, in this fun chase that goes from Manhattan to Alabama, to Coney Island and back.
Charles Salzberg, who’s on the board of the Mystery Writers of America, and teaches creative writing in New York City, is at the top of his game in this newest adventure. Read it for yourself and become a fan!