When rare photos, a scandalous diary, and a beautiful woman all go missing at once, the stage is set for three challenging cases for Henry Swann. It begins with an offer to partner up with his gluttonous frenemy, Goldblatt. The disbarred lawyer-turned-"facilitator" will provide the leads and muscle, while Swann would do all the fancy legwork.
A lost diary by a free-loving Jazz Age flapper is worth enough to someone that Swann takes a beat down on an abandoned boardwalk. Pilfered photos of Marilyn Monroe propel him deep into the past of an alcoholic shutterbug, his wife; and he's hired to search for a lonely writer's runaway girlfriend. The cases converge and collide in a finale that lifts the curtain on crucial, deadly facts of life for everyone, including Swann himself.(Synopsis from Goodreads description)
Henry Swann does a favor for disbarred lawyer and “friend” Goldblatt leading to more cases and an oddly successful partnership with the corpulent Goldblatt.
Here’s a succinct look at those I believe are the main recurring characters.
Swann~ Cynical skiptracer, not
quite a P.I. because that would require a license.
Goldblatt~ Disbarred lawyer and diner gourmand.
Klavan~ Rare bookseller who lets Swann use an office in his shop.
Ang(i)e~ Klavan’s assistant who also does occasional research for Swann.
There’s no doubt that each of
these characters have unplumbed depths and shrouded histories I look forward to
discovering, especially and most surprisingly Goldblatt. I haven’t quite
figured out if hints of his past escapades are hot air or not.
Have you ever watched Stacy
Keach’s Mike Hammer series? There’s a hardboiled aura surrounding SWANN’S LAKE
OF DESPAIR that brought the series vividly to mind; minus Hammer’s bang bang
shoot ‘em up action scenes, car chases, and women. Swann is more cerebral than
physical. While certain cases certainly
have the potential to go south they’re more human interest. The lack of physical
action doesn’t take anything away from Swann or the cases. I haven’t a doubt
Swann could be physical if necessary but he’d rather rely on his cerebral,
observational, and discernment skills. It didn’t take long to become vested in
the outcome of each case.
What would cause Donna to disappear
like she did? Is Jack more sinister than his appearance would lead you to
Are there pictures-negatives like
the Marilyn Monroe photograph cache lurking in a warehouse or other hidden
place waiting to be discovered?
What secrets lurk in a fifty
year old murder victim’s last journal? Who
is willing to pay thousands to get their hands on it? Could it possibly reveal her murderer who was
These questions and more will
keep those pages flipping to SWANN’S
’s tidy conclusion. LAKE OF DESPAIR