“Second Story Man”–Review

61RkJrP7i9LGood evening, bloggers! I hope you were able to enjoy World Book Day. This afternoon, I finished reading another great one from Charles Salzberg, so here’s my review.

Francis Hoyt is athletic, brilliant, arrogant, manipulative, and ruthless. He cares for no one but himself. In fact, he loves talking about himself, all the while truly believing he’ll always be the best at anything. What he’s always excelled in, though, is stealing high-end silver. Somehow, he’s been able to enter homes—usually while families were eating dinner—swipe the silver, and make his escape without leaving any trace of his DNA. How was it all possible? How did he manage to avoid getting caught?

Charlie Floyd is a recently retired investigator with Connecticut’s attorney general department. For years, he’s been a stubborn, yet highly-skilled investigator, but now felt it was the time to take some time for himself. When he receives a phone call from Manny Perez—a Miami police officer who’s worked with him in the past—regarding Francis Hoyt, Charlie is a bit hesitant. It isn’t long before Manny talks him into taking on the case with him, however, and the two friends work endlessly together, determined to not rest until Hoyt is behind bars.

Each chapter alternates from the points-of-view of Hoyt, Floyd, and Perez. When Hoyt eventually learns that Floyd and Perez are gaining on him, he taunts them. There’s no way he’s backing down, no matter the situation. He’ll do whatever it takes to have them out of the picture, even if some people may have to get hurt. I really liked where the story was going and the narration and dialog was well-written. Getting to know Hoyt’s story and why he did what he did made the story even better. Even the ending had me saying, “Are you kidding me?” No spoilers, of course. The whole story was realistic, which is what I do like in a novel. I recommend this one for crime fiction enthusiasts.

Feel free to post your comments. Happy reading!

About the author: Charles Salzberg is the author of the Shamus Award-nominated Swann’s Last Song, Swann Dives In, Swann’s Lake of Despair, and Swann’s Way Out. He also is the author of Devil in the Hole, which was chosen as one of the Best Crime Novels of 2013 by Suspense Magazine. He lives in New York City and teaches writing at the Writer’s Voice and the New York Writers Workshop, where he is proud to be a Founding Member. For more info, click here. You can also find him on Twitter and Facebook.

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“Swann’s Way Out”–Review

51q6G4-8iKLGood evening, all! I finally had the opportunity to read the fourth Henry Swann novel. If you haven’t read the first three, I highly encourage you to do so, especially if you like some good detective fiction.

The story begins with skip tracer Henry Swann, at a poker game, who is trying to figure out what he’s supposed to do with his life. After all, he’s spent years taking on cases involving delinquents, runaways, thieves, etc. He wasn’t quite sure if being a skip tracer was actually his calling. After the game, however, Swann is offered a case which sends him to Hollywood in order to find Rusty Jacobs, the man responsible for embezzling $1,000,000 from his client. All Swann has to do is get the money back and all will be okay. Swann does find Jacobs, but learns that this wannabe film producer is convinced his movie project will make it big in the Christian market. As for the $1,000,000 that was used to make the movie trailer? It seems to have disappeared. While Swann’s client claims the money was stolen, Jacobs claims it was used as an investment. Although Swann’s motive is to just get the money back—he couldn’t really care less for the reason for the so-called investments—he can’t help wondering who’s telling the truth.

Meanwhile, Swann has another job thrown at him—thanks to his business partner, Goldblatt—where he has to help another client in the New York City art world who may have been defrauded on the purchase of a valuable painting that may or may not be a fake.

While it all seems to be one thing after another, Swann gets a call regarding his estranged teenage son who has run away from his grandparents’ home in Minnesota and has possibly joined a cult. Now a guilt-ridden Swann must take time out from his paying cases to find the son he hasn’t seen in years.

This installment is definitely worth reading. Henry Swann is the best! Like the first three books, this one also has excellent narration and dialogue. Everything just gets right to the point. I enjoyed the quirky relationship between Swann and Goldblatt. Great humor, sarcasm, and Swann doesn’t take BS from anyone.

Feel free to post your comments. Happy reading!

About the author: Charles Salzberg is the author of the Shamus Award-nominated Swann’s Last Song, as well as the sequels, Swann Dives In and Swann’s Lake of Despair. He is also the author of Devil in the Hole, which was chosen as one of the Best Crime Novels of 2013 by Suspense magazine. He lives in New York City and teaches writing at the Writer’s Voice and the New York Writers Workshop, where he is proud to be a founding member. For more info about the author, click here. You can also follow him on Twitter.