Swann’s Down by Charles Salzberg

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source: free review copy via Partners in Crime Tours
title: Swann’s Down
author:  Charles Salzberg
genre: crime mystery
pages: 244
published: 2019
first line: “We’re partners, right?”

Synopsis:

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 for murder he claims he didn’t commit in a week. 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, Ala. But what does she really know and will she even come back with him to testify for her boyfriend?

Praise for Swann’s Down:

“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

“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

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. Shamus Award-nominated Salzberg does a superb job cutting between the two investigations. I kept turning pages to stay with both chases as the suspense increased to the very end. Whatever is going on, Swann is at the center of this story. His 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, Lights Out Summer, winner of the 2018 Shamus Award for Best Paperback Private Eye Novel

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.

My thoughts:

Today I am posting my thoughts on Swann’s Down by Charles Salzberg . This crime thriller caught me by surprise as I finished it in one sitting.

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Doctor Sleep by Stephen King

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source: purchased
title: Doctor Sleep
author:Stephen King
pages: 531
published: 2013
genre: paranormal horror
first line: On the second day of December in a new year when a Georgia peanut farmer was doing business in the White House, one of  Colorado’s great resort hotels burned to the ground. 
rated:  5 stars
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blurb:
On highways across America, a tribe of people called The True Knot travel in search of sustenance. They look harmless—mostly old, lots of polyester, and married to their RVs. But as Dan Torrance knows, and tween Abra Stone learns, The True Knot are quasi-immortal, living off the “steam” that children with the “shining” produce when they are slowly tortured to death.

Haunted by the inhabitants of the Overlook Hotel where he spent one horrific childhood year, Dan has been drifting for decades, desperate to shed his father’s legacy of despair, alcoholism, and violence. Finally, he settles in a New Hampshire town, an AA community that sustains him, and a job at a nursing home where his remnant “shining” power provides the crucial final comfort to the dying. Aided by a prescient cat, he becomes “Doctor Sleep.”

Then Dan meets the evanescent Abra Stone, and it is her spectacular gift, the brightest shining ever seen, that reignites Dan’s own demons and summons him to a battle for Abra’s soul and survival. This is an epic war between good and evil, a gory, glorious story that will thrill the millions of hyper-devoted readers of The Shining and wildly satisfy anyone new to the territory of this icon in the King canon.

my thoughts:
Hello all, I am still here and after taking a few weeks off blog-land I figured I’d come back with my thoughts on Doctor Sleep which is the sequel to The Shining. I first read The Shining over a decade ago, when I was finally brave enough to. So when Doctor Sleep was published in 2013, I re-read The Shining in order to refresh my memory before picking up this sequel. Meanwhile, here I am finally reading the sequel six years later. Did The Shining need a follow up? Not really because it had an ending. But I was still curious to see where King would take the story. In an interview I heard him say that Doctor Sleep is a sequel to The Shining novel, not a sequel to the film since the two are different in many ways and he didn’t like the film version.

Mild spoilers ahead….

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Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

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source: purchased
title: Gone Girl
author: Gillian Flynn  / Twitter
genre: crime thriller/mystery/suspense
pages: 422
published: June 2012
first line: When I think of my wife, I always think of her head.
rated: 4 out of 5 stars
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Blurb:

On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy’s diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media—as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents—the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter—but is he really a killer?

My Thoughts:
Oh Gillian Flynn, how you love to mess with people’s emotions while reading.
Gone Girl is my third Gillian Flynn book and I am eagerly awaiting for her to pen another novel. This author easily became an instant favorite after I read Sharp Objects then Dark Places. I went into this one pretty much blindly, I have not seen the film version and I did not know much about the story-line except that the wife went missing.

While I enjoyed reading Gone Girl overall I did have one qualm. The slow pace from the beginning to the middle of the novel. I kept wanting something to happen. Once the latter half of the book picked up I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. The story is narrated in alternating chapters by married couple Nick and Amy. We get Nick’s side of the story then we get Amy’s diary entries and her side of the story.

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The Disgraceful Lord Gray (The King’s Elite #3) by Virginia Heath

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source: free review copy via Rachel’s Random Resources
title: The Disgraceful Lord Gray (The King’s Elite Book 3)
author: Virginia Heath / Twitter
genre: historical romance/espionage
pages: 288
published: March 21st 2019
first line: There was no doubt about it.
rated: 4 out of 5
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blurb:
A spy on a mission…

Until he meets this heiress!

Part of The King’s Elite. Miss Theodora Cranford’s learned to keep her impetuous nature locked away. She won’t be deceived by another man who can’t see past her fortune. She wants an honourable, sensible sort – not a self-assured scoundrel like her new neighbour, Lord Gray. Although she’s sure there’s more to him than meets the eye… But after that first captivating kiss, she’s certainly left wanting more!

my thoughts:

The Disgraceful Lord Gray (The King’s Elite Book 3) by Virginia Heath was entertaining historical romance with a blend of intrigue, mystery and a dash of humor.

Miss Theodora Cranford is a twenty-three year old heiress who lives with her uncle and his wife. She has her guard up around would be suitors because most men want her for her money. Lord Graham Chadwick a.k.a. Gray is a member of the King’s Elite who is on the hunt for a smuggling ring. This quest brings him to Thea’s home because he suspects her uncle is the ring leader. Gray has had a rough past, ten years ago he was betrayed by his father, his brother and his first love and as a result he gambled away his inheritance. This is something he has never fully gotten over. Since then he has had affairs with ladies but never taken any seriously. Now working as a spy he is hoping to get a promotion if he takes down the smuggling ring.

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Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory by Caitlin Doughty

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source: free copy via Amazon Prime membership
title: Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory
author: Caitlin Doughty / Twitter
genre: memoir
pages: 242
published: September 15, 2014
first line: A girl always remembers the first corpse she shaves.
rated: 4 out of 5
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blurb:
Most people want to avoid thinking about death, but Caitlin Doughty—a twenty-something with a degree in medieval history and a flair for the macabre—took a job at a crematory, turning morbid curiosity into her life’s work. Thrown into a profession of gallows humor and vivid characters (both living and very dead), Caitlin learned to navigate the secretive culture of those who care for the deceased.

Smoke Gets in Your Eyes tells an unusual coming-of-age story full of bizarre encounters and unforgettable scenes. Caring for dead bodies of every color, shape, and affliction, Caitlin soon becomes an intrepid explorer in the world of the dead. She describes how she swept ashes from the machines (and sometimes onto her clothes) and reveals the strange history of cremation and undertaking, marveling at bizarre and wonderful funeral practices from different cultures.

Her eye-opening, candid, and often hilarious story is like going on a journey with your bravest friend to the cemetery at midnight…..

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*trigger warning for delicate subject matter for some readers*

 

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