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Mystery Books - David Swinson - The Second Girl

The Second Girl
David Swinson
Mulholland Books 2016 354 pages


The Second Girl is another good thriller from Mulholland Books, the thriller imprint for Little, Brown and Company that includes The Bayou Trilogy by Daniel Woodrell, Lawrence Block's A Drop of the Hard Stuff, and the excellent Fun & Games by Duane Swierczynski to name a few.

Frankie Marr is staking out a house used by drug runners. He wants to time his break-in with the moment the house is left unguarded as he plans to take their stash and cash. Marr is a former narcotics detective who was strongly pushed to early retirement after developping a drug habit.

Marr is still good at the job so he times things perfectly. What he did not plan on is finding a teenage girl shackled in a closet. He rescues her and arranges for her to be saved by the police and returned to her parents. All is well that ends well. Marr got lots of product and lots of cash out of the deal and comes out as a good buy to boot.

Things get a bit more complicated when the parents of another missing girl ask him to find her daughter. Marr is reluctant but takes on the job. He must navigate between the drug dealers, former colleagues, and detectives who do not appreciate a private operator getting in their way.

The Second Girl is for the most part a page turner. You immediately like Frank Marr because he is fallible and honest about it. The plot points happen honestly and you do not get the feeling Swinson is manipulating things to make them work. There is a bit of a lull three quarters of the way, the reason for which I cannot put my finger on and about which I may be wrong.

The ending to The Second Girl really has you turn the pages. I certainly want to read more thrillers by David Swinson

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