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