Garvin’s new novel A Dredging in Swann is an interesting book that rounds out its characters in a small town in North Carolina. The first couple of chapters are quite staccato but it finds its flow after this point to immense the reader into the workings of this small town.
Lulling the reader into the quiet surrounds of Swann County, we are introduced to a murder that has a more complex reasoning than first envisioned. Written in the third person, the story jumps back and forth from Seb Creek, the everyman detective who has a military background and Cody, a man with a troubled past. What starts out as a straight forward murder mystery intertwines itself with the life of Cody extremely successfully.
The characters are very well balanced and drawn given a three dimensional approach. Garner has an incredible talent of making these characters varied in their emotional approach which lifts them up beyond the page. The second and third tier characters have the same emotional depth as the main characters and long after reading the book, they do stay with you for quite some time.
The plot is very complexed but easy to get into. The juxtaposition between the murder of Leo to the theft of missiles is very well handled and it takes a mastermind to be able to pull this off effectively which Garner does with aplomb. The plot becomes tangled the more we get into the novel but in the final third, it is pure enjoyment as these get untangled to give a realistic approach to the solving of the crime which sets this apart from most novels of this ilk.
Overall, this is an fascinating read that keeps the reader involved. I enjoyed learning about the Venus flytrapping, the small town life and the military approach to the proceedings. The murder mystery of the aspect has a life of its own as we have to uncover the past to work out the present. I haven’t read the other books in this series and Garner is meticulous to ensure the reader can get just involved and invested without having prior knowledge. This is an incredible book and one that is enjoyable, involving and entertaining without losing its focus. Highly recommended.