Trigger by David Swinson
Purchase Locations
US and Canada


Trigger by David Swinson
Purchase Locations
United Kingdom

Frank Marr was a good cop, until his burgeoning addictions to alcohol and cocaine forced him into retirement from the D.C. Metro police. Now, he’s barely eking out a living as a private investigator for a defense attorney–also Frank’s ex-girlfriend.

Ostracized by his family after a botched case that led to the death of his baby cousin, Jeffrey, Frank was on a collision course with rock bottom. Now clean and clinging hard to sobriety, Frank passes the time–and tests himself–by robbing the houses of local dealers, taking their cash and flushing their drugs down the toilet. When an old friend from his police days needs Frank’s help to prove he didn’t shoot an unarmed civilian, Frank is drawn back into the world of dirty cops and suspicious drug busts, running in the same circles that enabled his addiction those years ago.

Never one to play by the rules, Frank recruits a young man he nearly executed years before. Together–a good man trying not to go bad and a bad man trying to do good–detective and criminal charge headfirst into the D.C. drug wars. Neither may make it out.

What Authors Are Saying

“Chock-full of pace and purpose, TRIGGER lays out hard-hustle D.C. in all its gritty shades of gray without ever once sneering at them. It’s a brave novel, one with no easy outs, and an ending that feels both raw and true.”Ryan Gattis, author of SAFE

“Frankie Marr, the ex-cop turned PI with a skewed sense of justice, situational ethics and a drug habit he kicked by turning to alcohol, is back. The ex-cop turned author, David Swinson, takes us on another pulse-pounding, stripped-down excursion into the badlands of the nation’s capital. An old friend and colleague teeters on the brink of catastrophe and Frankie answers the call; his street wits, reckless courage and pit bull tenacity racing ahead of glorious and soulful collapse. I missed you, Frankie, and I’m very happy to see you again.” — Joe Ide, author of the award-winning IQ

“Frank Marr prowls Washington like a creature from a different age: hard-knuckled, hard-drinking, equal parts loyalty, craving, determination, and regret. But in Trigger, David Swinson’s detailed, glittering, vicious DC is up-to-the-minute. Never one to bend a rule when he can smash it instead, Marr leads us straight back into the wreckage he left in The Second Girl and Crime Song. It’s a thrill to watch him pick up the pieces.” — Bill Beverly, award winning author of Dodgers


“A lot goes on in Washington, D.C., outside the precincts of the White House and Capitol Hill. And that’s what David Swinson writes about in his streetwise private-eye novels featuring Frank Marr, a forcibly retired cop and mostly reformed cocaine addict. TRIGGER (Mulholland, $27) finds Marr on another thankless case, trying to clear a close friend on the D.C. police force who’s been accused of shooting an unarmed teenager …”The New York Times

“TRIGGER makes for wonderfully dark reading. The point of its spear is Frank Marr, an ex-Washington, D.C. cop with a troop of monkeys on his back. Frank was introduced to the world by author David Swinson — a retired D.C. police detective himself — in the acclaimed novel THE SECOND GIRL, the promise of which was fulfilled and exceeded by CRIME SONG. This final book in the trilogy finds Frank walking a fine and precarious line as he attempts to aid an old friend while unexpectedly serving as a mentor to a former adversary, all the while fighting his own very strong and ever-present demons … We’ll have to wait and see if Swinson will continue the story — perhaps in another three-book arc — but for now we have TRIGGER and its predecessors, all of which are worth your time and money.” — 20somethingReads

“Frank Marr is a private investigator who is trying to do good, while simultaneously battling his various (multiple) demons. The first two novels in David Swinson’s series — The Second Girl and Crime Song— were fantastic, and I blitzed through them back-to-back. Gripping, sharply written and populated with excellent characters, they are among the best novels I’ve read in years. As a result, Trigger was one of my most-anticipated novels of the year. I’m happy to report that it is another excellent crime novel, and did not disappoint. … Excellent prose, three-dimensional and realistic characters, and an interesting story. Trigger is a really good read. Very highly recommended to all fans of crime fiction. The Frank Marr series remains one of my favourites.”    Civilian Reader

“If there is one press out there that can put out an exciting book with a new spin on the alcoholic ex-cop thing, my money is on Mulholland. That Swinson is talented is just icing on the Noir cake.”   LitReactor

“George Pelecanos fans will welcome Swinson’s gritty third novel featuring PI Frank Marr (after 2017’s Crime Song). Marr, who’s finally off the cocaine that led to his early forced retirement from the Washington, D.C., police department, receives a call that Al Luna, his best friend on the force, has shot and killed an apparently unarmed African-American teen. A dedicated cop with a perfect record, Luna swears that the kid came at him with a gun, but investigators find no weapon at the scene. As the community demands justice for the slain youth, several D.C. cops are targeted in fatal retaliatory strikes. Marr devotes himself to clearing his friend’s name and hits the street, ably assisted by Calvin Tolson, a sharp ex–street slinger doing his best to play it straight. The two men slip into a shadowy world of drug runners, confidential informants, and criminal alliances—a place both know intimately, and one full of triggers to their own personal demons. Swinson, a former police officer, writes with authority and honesty, giving readers a timely, informed look at the mean streets from an insider’s perspective.”  Publishers Weekly

“David Swinson’s Frank Marr has become one of my favorite private eyes. A functioning drug addict with a lot of dysfunctional relationships, he is just as likely to go looking for a fix before a suspect. In Trigger, reported to be the end of the Frank Marr trilogy, he takes a case that could lead to redemption or send him spiraling to oblivion …  Mystery People

“The inciting incident of TRIGGER, David Swinson’s third novel featuring ex-cop-turned-private investigator Frank Marr, is, as they say on television, “ripped from today’s headlines.” Frank’s ex-partner and best friend, Al Luna, has been involved in a shooting that leaves a young black man dead. Al swears the kid had a gun, but none was found at the scene. Frank leaves no piece of concrete or Dumpster unturned in his search for the truth and to prove the shooting was justified …” The Big Thrill

“In the final mystery in his trilogy starring Frank Marr, Swinson continues to situate his drama on the seedy streets of Washington, D.C., with his functioning addict private eye now in recovery. With ripped-from-the-headlines intensity, Swinson has Marr investigating his former partner’s possible involvement in the shooting of an African-American boy, and ratchets up the drama by having Marr enlist the help of a young man he had once victimized. As they travel through the capital city’s drug underworld, Swinson sustains the velocity of the drama and ingeniously gets at the power dynamic of personal relationships with nuance and generosity toward broken people in his messy world of ambiguous boundaries.”The National Book Review