Mysterious Book Report No. 369

by John Dwaine McKenna

Frank Marr is “a good cop with a bad habit,” who operates as a PI in the down and dirty underbelly of our nation’s capitol, Washington, D.C. Forced into early retirement from the Metro DC Police Force, he ekes out a living as a Private Eye when he’s not busy knocking over one of the stash houses of D.C.s mind-numbing number of drug-slingers; because Frankie Marr is always jonesing for another hit of cocaine and another three fingers of whiskey.

Now, in his third, and newest adventure, Trigger, (Mulholland/Little, Brown and Company, $27.50, 340 pages, ISBN 978-0-316-26425-9) by David Swinson, Frank’s doing his best to stay away from the Devil’s own white powder.  He’s still kicking down doors and breaking into stash houses, but now he just takes their money and flushes the coke, heroin, meth, PCP or Molly before it triggers a relapse.  To compensate, he drinks like a fish and tries not to think about all  of the  wreckage in  his rearview  mirror . . . like his cousin’s death, the loss of his ex-girlfriend and the fact that his family no longer has anything to do with him.  Inside though, he’s a good man struggling to overcome his own bad self.

So, when an old partner, and still working Metro DC Detective named Al Luna gets in a jam, Frank Marr steps in to help.  Luna’s on administrative leave because he shot and killed a young gang-banger, who he swears was armed, but the investigators at the scene can’t find any gun.  He’s hired Leslie Costello, Frank’s ex-girlfriend, to represent him in any pending actions by Internal Affairs, and together they’ve tapped Frank to find evidence that will exonerate Luna.  To do it, Marr needs to find a pair of teenaged ‘bangers  named Little T and Marlon, but Marr doesn’t know what they look like, so he goes out on a limb, and against his better judgment, hires another young thug named Calvin Tolson.  He’s a bad kid trying to be good, and a counterpoint to Frankie Marr’s good character trying to go to the bad in this hard-rockin’ ride through the cold, mean, drug-infested streets of what should be America’s greatest city, but sadly is not.  Frankie Marr is a character who could only come from the mind of someone like David Swinson, who’s walked the walk and battled the bad guys on the those same DC streets, as he’s a fifteen-year veteran of the Metro DC Police Department.  He—Frankie—is a character you won’t easily forget and eagerly look forward to reading about his next adventure.  He’s the real deal!


John Dwaine McKenna