"Streetwise."The New York Times Book Review
"With ripped-from-the-headlines intensity,,,Swinson sustains the velocity of the drama and ingeniously gets at the power dynamic of personal relationships with nuance and generosity toward broken people in his messy world of ambiguous boundaries."
The National Book Review
"Frank Marr prowls Washington like a creature from a different age: hard-knuckled, hard-drinking, equal parts loyalty, craving, determination, and regret. But in Trigger, David Swinson's detailed, glittering, vicious DC is up-to-the-minute. Never one to bend a rule when he can smash it instead, Marr leads us straight back into the wreckage he left in The Second Girl and Crime Song. It's a thrill to watch him pick up the pieces."Bill Beverly, Edgar Award-winning author of Dodgers
"Chock full of pace and purpose, Trigger lays out hard-hustle D.C. in all its gritty shades of gray without ever once sneering at them. It's a brave novel, one with no easy outs, and an ending that feels both raw and true."Ryan Gattis, author of Safe
"Frankie Marr, the ex-cop turned PI with a skewed sense of justice, situational ethics and a drug habit he kicked by turning to alcohol, is back. The ex-cop turned author, David Swinson, takes us on another pulse-pounding, stripped-down excursion into the badlands of the nation's capital. An old friend and colleague teeters on the brink of catastrophe and Frankie answers the call; his street wits, reckless courage, and pit bull tenacity racing ahead of glorious and soulful collapse. I missed you, Frankie, and I'm very happy to see you again."Joe Ide, author of IQ
"George Pelecanos fans will welcome Swinson's gritty third novel featuring PI Frank Marr. . . . Swinson, a former police officer, writes with authority and honesty, giving readers a timely, informed look at the mean streets from an insider's perspective."Publishers Weekly
PRAISE FOR DAVID SWINSON AND FRANK MARR:
"Swinson is one of the best dialogue hounds in the business."The New York Times Book Review
"Within the first couple of pages, David Swinson pulls off a masterly piece of characterization: he creates a damaged, damned protagonist who no sane person would want to get close to, and then he grabs you by the collar and hauls you into Frank Marr's mind so fast and so thoroughly that none of that matters. The writing throws sparks, and the ferocious plot peels back layer after layer of Frank's character as weand hefind out how much of his humanity is still left."Tana French, author of The Trespasser
"Frank remains a fascinating, deeply flawed protagonist. . . . He remains a hard-boiled hero well worth our attention."Booklist
George Pelecanos fans will welcome Swinson’s gritty third novel featuring PI Frank Marr (after 2017’s Crime Song). Marr, who’s finally off the cocaine that led to his early forced retirement from the Washington, D.C., police department, receives a call that Al Luna, his best friend on the force, has shot and killed an apparently unarmed African-American teen. A dedicated cop with a perfect record, Luna swears that the kid came at him with a gun, but investigators find no weapon at the scene. As the community demands justice for the slain youth, several D.C. cops are targeted in fatal retaliatory strikes. Marr devotes himself to clearing his friend’s name and hits the street, ably assisted by Calvin Tolson, a sharp ex–street slinger doing his best to play it straight. The two men slip into a shadowy world of drug runners, confidential informants, and criminal alliances—a place both know intimately, and one full of triggers to their own personal demons. Swinson, a former police officer, writes with authority and honesty, giving readers a timely, informed look at the mean streets from an insider’s perspective. Agent: Jane Gelfman, Gelfman Schneider/ICM. (Feb.)
Cops good, bad, and retired on the mean streets of Washington, D.C.
After cocaine forces him to take early retirement from the Narcotics Branch, Frank Marr reconstitutes himself as a private investigator in recovery. When his former partner and good friend Al Luna is involved in a "bad shooting" that results in the death of a 16-year-old African-American boy, Marr joins forces with his former girlfriend Leslie Costello, an attorney, to try to mount his defense. Al swears there was a gun, but none has been located, and, on administrative leave, he is not much help; Leslie is not hopeful, and she's often in court anyway, so Marr undertakes an investigation in his own somewhat unconventional way. Getting a sandwich, Marr encounters Calvin, a young man he victimized in his last police action, and in the course of events the two forge a teacher-apprentice relationship. Calvin knows the street and some of the players, and he and Marr manage to uncover unsavory connections and suspicious coincidences but no gun. Then a neighborhood shootout turns Marr in a new direction, and one character unexpectedly provides a little leverage, and Marr and Calvin are back on the trail. Marr is frequently tempted to relapse into cocaine use, and he and Luna consume a prodigious quantity of alcohol keeping their various demons at bay, but addiction never really gets any traction in the plot, nor does the tension of working with one's estranged sweetheart.
The private eye and his apprentice have a pleasingly uneasy relationship, and the growth of their friendship is the most rewarding element in the book. Though the two don't exactly triumph over ambiguity and injustice, the unlikely buddies enliven a slightly flat thriller.