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Swann’s Lake of Despair: SPOTLIGHT THIS GREAT TITLE

Synopsis:

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 slovenly, unreliable frenemy, Goldblatt. The disbarred lawyer-turned-“facilitator” would provide the leads and muscle, while Swann would do all the fancy footwork. 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.
Charles Salzberg is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in Esquire, New York magazine, Elle, Good Housekeeping, The New York Times Book Review, The New York Times, GQ and other periodicals. He is the author of over 20 non-fiction books and several novels, including Swann’s Last Song, which was nominated for a Shamus Award for Best First PI Novel, and the sequel, Swann Dives In. He also has taught been a Visiting Professor of Magazine at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, and taught writing at Sarah Lawrence College, the Writer’s Voice, and the New York Writers Workshop, where he is a Founding Member.


BIO:
Charles Salzberg is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in Esquire, New York magazine, Elle, Good Housekeeping, The New York Times Book Review, The New York Times, GQ and other periodicals. He is the author of over 20 non-fiction books and several novels, including Swann’s Last Song, which was nominated for a Shamus Award for Best First PI Novel, and the sequel, Swann Dives In. He also has taught been a Visiting Professor of Magazine at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, and taught writing at Sarah Lawrence College, the Writer’s Voice, and the New York Writers Workshop, where he is a Founding Member.

Swann’s Lake of Despair

Henry Swann is a disbarred attorney turned Private Investigator. Goldblatt is a lawyer whose talents are many and whose mannerisms can drive someone over the edge. Goldblatt and Swann are about to create an unholy alliance that will either send them both to the loony bin or into a relationship that will make Oscar Madison and Felix Unger’s sound like a pleasant walk in the park.

As the story begins Goldblatt wants to enlist Swann’s help in a case that he has just taken on. The only problem is that Swann would be doing all of the legwork, taking all of the risks and living on the edge.

Someone claims to have a diary of a famous star named Starr Faithfull. Her death questionable claimed as a suicide and the diary quite valuable. But, when Swann agrees to go out to Long Beach to retrieve it and pay the two people claiming to have it five thousand dollars, he gets blindsided and roped into a scheme that will leave readers wondering just why he would agree to even becoming partners with Goldblatt. A young man hires Goldblatt to find his girlfriend who has disappeared. When learning more about her disappearance Swann begins to realize that maybe Donna, the girl in question does not want to be found and Jack, the poor wimp that is searching for her, needs to let her go. Finally, some rare and never before seen photos of Marilyn Monroe have supposedly been uncovered and the payoff for finding them or even not finding them will keep Goldblatt and Swann in the money. But, things get complicated as the cases intersect, Swann becomes involved with the players and the end result is not what you might expect. With Swann running himself ragged and in many different directions he learns more about the way Goldblatt works, his underhandedness, his brilliance and his unabashed eating habits, that poor Swann never knows when its time to run in a different direction. Deals worked out, cuts discussed and this disbarred lawyer, you might say now a PI or just plain hogtied, now works for a smart, underhanded and unorthodox Goldblatt. As the truth about the diary comes to light we meet Sidney and Claudia the two that set Swann up when coming for the diary. Added in we have the lawyer or go-between for the client and we have a cast of characters that you might find on Laugh In or Saturday Night Live. Some of the scenes are quite humorous and some will frustrate not only the reader but poor Swann too. You begin to wonder why he keeps coming back for more, getting involved with one of the players in more ways than one, finding himself entangled in a web of lies and deceits, working cases his way and learning more than just the ropes from Goldblatt. The lost diary of this Jazz Age flapper is supposedly worth quite a beat. The photos of Marilyn Monroe will revert him back to the past and the history of his famous woman brought to light. It even reminds him of his wife as he continues with his quest to find Donna and when he does the unexpected happens. Morals, ethics, truths, hidden deceits and lies come out at the end when the final scenes take place and the cases are all drawn together.

Fenigersh is the name of the person who wants has hired them to get the photos. Finding Donna more difficult because even with the information Swann manages to get from the moving company and where her things might be stored, he comes to many dead ends. Just maybe Donna would rather not be found and maybe Jack needs to get over himself.

Matty Stern is the man who is the go-between for the diary. At 30 grand for it some might think it’s a bargain. So, why does Swann hesitate when the transaction is supposed to be made? What causes him to stall another day? Julia Scully just might be the key to finding the photos. Before digital and much technology some photos wound up in the can, meaning garbage can, and the ones that survived in this case did because someone decided to take some out. As Julia discusses her relationship with Fenigersh, his talents were blocked he could not make any pictures and wound up working as an editor. Depressed, drinking his way through the day, Julia describes a man so forlorn and alone.

Goldblatt was a hard nut to crack and enjoyed being in more than one game at a time. The banter between Goldblatt and Swann is often sarcastic and humorous. The fact that they mesh and blend as partners quite remarkable since both have their own distinct way of handling cases. Swann is more definite in his approach as he prefers to not be bothered with clients phone calls, Foldboats rants and raves and when he has something to share he does. He is forceful when necessary yet falls prey to a pretty woman’s wiles. He is smart, cunning and gets the job done but when he learns more about Donna and her reasons for leaving what will he decide to tell Jack? Just how delusional is this guy to think that she might return? What will happen if the photos surface? What about the diary? You just won’t believe how it all winds up and the truth behind what Swann finally discovers.

With Goldblatt as possible backup Swann finds his way to the Plaza Hotel to meet with Matty Stern to discuss the diary. Two men hovering in the background causes Swann to become suspicious, but Stern thinks he has it under control but he has never dealt with Swann. Why does the person willing to pay 30 thousand for the diary even want it? What could be so valuable? Standing his ground the situation assessed and both sides are at a stalemate but which side reconsiders and why?

Followed and realizing that when he leaves he might have a problem, enlisting the help of his landlord and friend, Klavan, Swann manages to foil the men who are after him and the rest you have to learn for yourself. But, just when he thinks he can catch a rest or a break, Claudia finds herself in his face in more ways than one. But, what is her primary goal and why does she pursue Swann? Tying up lose ends the author weaves the tapestry to blend in just who belongs where and why. Julia Scully, Claudia Bennett and Eddie. How do they fit together? What about the diary and the photos? What about poor Jack? Confronting Julia and informing her that he met her friends never does not change her expression nor does it fool Swann as to how they created the price or the scheme to get the pictures and jack up the price? Who gets them and why? Will Swann find Donna? What about the diary? An ending that will either endear you to Swann or make you wonder whether he and Goldblatt should remain partners or part. Only Charles Salzburg can create two so different characters yet the same in many ways. Smart, cunning, clever, honest, straightforward and sarcastic: Meet Swann and Goldblatt an unholy pair forming an unholy alliance and let’s hope our author brings them back again.

Fran Lewis: Reviewer

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About Just Reviews by:gabina49:

author educator book reviewer for authors reading and writing staff developer Book reviewer for manic readers, ijustfinished.com book pleasures and authors upon request blog tours on my blog and interviews with authors I am the author of five published books. I wrote three children's books in my Bertha Series and Two on Alzheimer's. Radio show talk host on Red River Radio/Blog Talk Radio Book Discussion with Fran Lewis the third Wed. of every month at one eastern. I interview 2 authors each month feature their latest releases. I review books for authors upon request and my latest book Sharp As A Tack or Scrambled Eggs Which Describes Your Brain? Is an E book, Kindle and on Xlibris.com Some of the proceeds from this last book will go to fund research in the area of Brain Traumatic Injury in memory of my sister Marcia who died in July.

Discussion

One thought on “Swann’s Lake of Despair: SPOTLIGHT THIS GREAT TITLE

  1. Nice review! I have this title on my TBR list and am looking forward to reading it.

    Posted by Lance Wright | October 14, 2014, 11:12 am

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