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Friday 3 May 2019

✉ Swann's Down - Charles Salzberg

Today author takes over our blog to tell us about his latest novel, Swann's Down (, Down & Out Books, 227 pages), a Noir Detective Mystery, book five of Henry Swann Mysteries series.

“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

|| Synopsis || Teaser: Excerpt || The Series || Author Guest Post || About the Author || Giveaway & Tour Stops ||

Swann’s Down 

      P.T. Barnum had it right.  Suckers are born every minute.  But maybe he was generous in his appraisal.  It’s very possible that many more are born within that sixty-second span.  Greed is certainly a large part of why people fall prey to con-men and women, but for many others it’s more about hope than it is about being able to travel round the world in your own yacht.  And that’s what’s so sad when you think of the victim, and it’s what makes us so angry about the perpetrator, because he or she is taking advantage of someone when they’re at their most vulnerable.

      There were two things that interested me when I sat down to write Swann’s Down, the fifth installment (and very likely the last) in the Henry Swann detective series.  The story opens with Swann being approached by his partner, Goldblatt, who wants to “hire” him to help out his much younger ex-wife.  It seems she lost someone very close to her and distraught, and after having tried therapy and medication and meditation, she’s desperate enough to find a fortune teller who promises to communicate with her recently deceased boyfriend.

      In the meantime, Swann is hired by an attorney who’s representing a notorious hitman for the mob, who claims he’s innocent of this particular murder.  Evidently, there’s a witness who can provide him with an alibi, but she’s suddenly disappeared and Swann is hired to find her and bring her back to testify.

      In the past, when I get a little restless, and I have this itch that I can’t seem to scratch, I know it’s time to delve into the world of Henry Swann, a skip-tracer who specializes in finding people and things.  What I mean is that for me, I need to have something to write about.  Something that puzzles me or concerns me—that itch that needs scratching.  It’s probably why I don’t write traditional murder mysteries, which are more about the crime and solution than they are about ideas.

      When Swann is finally convinced to take Goldblatt’s case, it’s for reasons other than the money or professional courtesy.  It’s to find out more about his mysterious partner—up until that very moment, he didn’t even know Goldblatt had been married—and it’s also to find out more about himself, even though he might not know that’s what he’s doing.

      Most of us are fascinated by the world of psychic phenomena, and the possibility that there is something or somewhere else after we leave this mortal coil.  In this case, Swann is a surrogate for me and so many others, as he finds himself immersed in the spirit world.  In his search for this fortuneteller, who’s disappeared with a good chunk of money, Swann has to ask himself, is it possible to foretell the future?  Is it possible to commune with those who have passed away?  Does life really end when we take our final breath.  Can someone really know things about us that we think are private and certainly unknown to strangers?  And if someone is comforted by a fortuneteller, for instance, is this such a bad thing?

      Ultimately, we’re all looking for answers—that’s probably why crime novels are so popular.  Swann would like to find out the answers to these questions and so would I.  It’s not that I have to come to any definitive conclusion, but rather that the mere examination of psychic phenomena and whether it’s legit, is of interest to me and, I hope, my readers.  Swann, though a skeptic, is open-minded and so am I.  But writing through these issues helps me focus my beliefs.

      Swann’s second case presents a moral and ethical dilemma.  The man he’s working for is a stone, cold killer.  He’s killed dozens for money.  But is he guilty for this particular murder?  Swann takes the case, but he’s ambivalent.  If he finds the witness and she exonerates his client, he will then be set free and there’s little doubt he’ll go on to murder others.  Would Swann hold himself responsible and if so, would he be able to handle the overwhelming sense of guilt?  But if he doesn’t find her and his client is convicted and punished for a murder he didn’t commit, is justice served for the community and for all his previous victims?

      I won’t tell you how either case turns out, but I do hope that if you read Swann’s Down, it will at the very least provoke you into thinking about these issues and come to your own conclusions.

Swann's Down
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CMash said...

I enjoyed this post especially since I hope to start reading it this weekend.

Charles Salzberg said...

Thanks for the showcase!