Wednesday, October 17, 2012
Swann Dives In
I'm really glad that I dove in to "Swann Dives In," by Charles Salzberg. I normally can't get into PI novels especially one with a male protagonist. However, I gave "Swann Dives In," a try after receiving a free review copy and I am so thankful that I did. After a previous case nearly ended in his death, Private Investigator, Henry Swann left the business for a job in cable installation but when an old friend offers him the opportunity to get back in the PI game, he both reluctantly and excitedly agrees. Soon, Swann is tracking down a missing girl, her arrogant boyfriend and finds himself mixed up in the surprisingly cut-throat world of buying and selling rare books.
What I loved about this book is that while Henry Swann is kind of a jerk and a male chauvinist, there is something about him that makes you root for him and kind of like him. He's determined to get the job done and he's funny. Plus, he loves books which becomes quite evident as his investigation takes him into the world of rare book dealing. This novel is set in 2001. Swann and the characters he encounters throughout the investigation comment on their passion for books and their concerns that e-books would threaten big book store chains such as "Barnes and Noble" and "Borders" the way the big box stores impacted the small independent bookstores. This commentary on e-books, bookstores, and the publishing industry stirred up a lot of emotions for me as I am sure it would in anyone who is a fan of this blog. I really related to the passion for books of Swann and those he encountered in the rare book trade. This mystery was also a true mystery novel. It kept you guessing all the time.
Besides the missing girl, there was another mystery that kept me guessing the whole time. Swann mentions that his son lives with his grandparents. He is upset about not being able to properly parent his son but no explanation was ever given why that is. However, this is a minor detail that plays little relevance in the plot of "Swann Dives In," and may have been dealt with in Salzberg's previous novel, "Swann's Last Song."
henryswann.com and have fun clicking around on Swann's virtual desk!
Note: I received no financial compensation for this book. A review copy was given to me in exchange for a free, honest review.