Saturday, October 17, 2015

A first look at The Second Girl by David Swinson

David Swinson
My first post-Bouchercon reading, David Swinson's The Second Girl, takes every cop-turned-P.I. trope you can think of and turns it on its head.

Swinson's protagonist is a former Washington, D.C., cop named Frank Marr, but Marr does not bristle with hatred for the FBI officers with whom he must work.  He drinks too much and indulges to excess in a range of drugs, but he does not not wallow in self-pity over this. He commits other crimes and misdeeds, but Swinson portrays these neither as adventures not as self-laceratng hell trips; they're just what Marr does.

Swinson doesn't get in the reader's face with his character's damaged quirkiness, either.  His revelations of plot and character are gradual until, not so many chapters in, the reader is apt to be hooked without knowing it.

He does something similar with the narrative. The second girl of the title is a young woman whose parents hire Marr after their daughter falls in with drug-dealing lowlifes. There's also a first girl, Marr's recovery of whom is a bracingly rapid surprise that kicks the larger narrative into gear.

© Peter Rozovsky 2015

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7 Comments:

Blogger Robert said...

Thanks for adding one to my must-read-list. I'm new to crime fiction blogging, and I'm exploring the neighborhood. I'm glad I stumbled upon your great blog. All the best from "Police News of the Past."

October 17, 2015  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Thanks for the comment. What's the URL for your blog?

October 18, 2015  
Blogger Robert said...

Peter, the blog name has changed -- The Port of Shadows -- because it more correctly represents the focus, and here is the URL:
http://theportofshadows.blogspot.com/
I hope you will stop by in the future when I get things rolling there. BTW, what is your opinion of Simenon and Maigret? Since you seem to focus on detectives beyond borders, I suspect you are familiar with the French crime writer.

October 18, 2015  
Blogger Dana King said...

We don't always agree, but we do here. I was gobsmacked when I read THE SECOND GIRL a few weeks after Bouchercon. I've read few books that flowed as naturally and effectively.

June 02, 2016  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I probably read it around the same time you did. My only complaint is that, having seen the book so early, I have to wait so long for the follow-up.

June 02, 2016  
Blogger Dana King said...

I've been feeling part of that myself, so I ordered his first book, A DETAILED MAN, last week.

June 02, 2016  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I'll have to do the same or else look for the book at the nearest crime fiction bookstore to Philadelphia, which is in New York.

June 02, 2016  

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