Crime Song By David Swin­son Mul­hol­land, 368 pages, $34

The Hamilton Spectator - - BOOKS -

Did Crime Song’s au­thor, David Swin­son, a for­mer Wash­ing­ton D.C. po­lice de­tec­tive, draw on his own ex­pe­ri­ences in writ­ing about Frank Maar, his book’s central char­ac­ter? Not too much, one hopes, since Maar hap­pens to be a for­mer Wash­ing­ton homi­cide de­tec­tive whose de­vo­tion to booze and drugs got him kicked off the job. Now he’s a PI with ap­par­ently no in­ten­tion of clean­ing up his act.

Maar’s lat­est case be­gins with his nephew’s mur­der, and in­volves him and the readers in a night­mare of drug deal­ing, po­lice cor­rup­tion and bravura dis­plays of vi­o­lence. It’s hard not to oc­ca­sion­ally turn away from the page in some of the book’s more lurid pas­sages, but Swin­son’s writ­ing is so con­vinc­ing that his de­pic­tions of the dark stuff be­come com­pul­sively read­able.

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