Author:  Douglas Quinn

Publisher: White Heron Press

ISBN: 978 1 475285352

 Webb Sawyer, tough, Grolsch-swilling sleuth is looking forward to some downtime with his cat , old flame Nan Ftorek  and all the fish he can catch and grill. But then in walks a new puzzle – that of Isabeau Bledsoe, alcoholic and former meth addict, missed by absolutely no one but her young daughter, Sunshine.  Isabeau’s home offers up no clues, her surly employer is less than helpful, her co-workers clueless. Things get worse when Sawyer has a run in with rogue cop Simmons, and even murkier when he discovers that another woman has disappeared just as mysteriously as Isabeau. But it is only when Isabeau’s body turns up in a remote rural lot – the eponymous Swan’s Landing – that Sawyer realizes he is on the trail of a mystery far more sinister than anything he could have imagined.

Swan’s Landing - third in a series starring Sawyer -  makes for gripping reading, as much for the trajectory of its plot as for its charismatic hero. I enjoyed the way the plot telescopes out from one missing person, connecting apparently isolated events and people in an elegant, well- realized narrative.   The book is packed with interesting characters and just enough back story to give them depth without digressing from the plot. Given the  characters and numerous red herrings cleverly tossed our way by author Quinn, the solution to the mystery of Isabeau’s disappearance really took me by surprise.

This not a book that hurtles along at breackneck speed
right from go  – if anything, Swan’s Landing, much  like its steely protagonist, is clearly a book that will not be hurried.  Which, I assure you, is a good thing - I quite enjoyed the book’s pace, and its narrator’s wry, insightful asides on people, places and his own eventful life. Sawyer reads like an older, shorter Jack Reacher , if you can imagine that rolling stone acquiring a fixed address, a son and more possessions to his name than the clothes on his back. The second half of the book is especially livened up by the presence of feisty Nan Ftorek, who breezes right into Sawyer’s investigation and proceeds to upstage him at every turn as well.   ‘Swan’s Landing’ is also a book with an appetite – I was amused at the way practically every chapter managed to work in at least one lovingly described meal.

The denouement feels a little rushed – one of my few complaints with the book.In all other respects, ‘Swan’s Landing’ is a book I’d recommend for that lazy weekend, preferably accompanied by an ice  cold Grolsch.

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