Book Review: The Second Girl by David Swinson

He’s a good detective… with a bad habit.

Frank Marr may be a decorated former cop and an excellent private investigator, but Washington DC doesn’t know his dirty secret.

Frank has managed to keep his drug habit hidden. But after accidentally rescuing a kidnapped teenage girl, he’s thrust into the spotlight. 

Reluctantly, he agrees to investigate another – possibly connected – disappearance, all the time knowing that the heightened scrutiny may expose him…

What I Thought:

The world of detective novels is full of cops with problems – broken marriages, alcoholism, you name it – but Frank Marr, in David Swinson’s excellent The Second Girl, takes this to the next level. As a high-functioning drug addict, he may be a good detective, but he is definitely a compromised one!

We get the general lie of the land immediately in this book, as Frank finds a kidnapped girl while trying to turnover a drug den to restock his personal supplies – Frank doesn’t want to get caught out buying drugs, so he uses his skills built up over a career in the police force to track gangs and steal from them. All that looks like it could come to an end, but the better part of him can’t leave the girl behind.

Frank Marr is a proper anti-hero – even though there are traits in him that are thoroughly detestable, you can’t help in some ways to like him – and the lengths he goes to to protect his habit from prying eyes are impressive in their depth and intricacy!

Although the police are also on the case that Frank is subsequently asked to investigate, he is able to go about it in a less orthodox way and, although his methods may be questionable, they do seem to get results.

The case itself is not as simple as it first appears, and there are plenty of twisty moments to keep us guessing, and to muddy the waters of who is trustworthy or otherwise. It’s a solid plot which is written well and you can see it being fairly realistic – especially as David Swinson is a former detective himself.

This book is the first in a series, all of which are currently available, and definitely on my reading list.

The Second Girl is published by Mulholland Books.

To find out more about David Swinson and his books, you can check out his website, or you can connect with him on Twitter.

Please note: I was sent a copy of this book for review. All opinions are, as ever, my own.

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