After finishing Burke’s second PI novel which follows Johnny “Blue” Herron, I now think that Swan Dive was in fact rough. Not to say that it wasn’t any good. My rating stands and it contained a thoughtful and interesting use of genre. The second novel was much more polished and the parts that kind of missed (or at least made me wonder if they missed, re: Seriously? a review of Michael Burke’s Swan Dive) had been fleshed out. This made for a more fluid read, but also lacked some of the rawness that I tend to enjoy in the early work of an author.
Excellent book — very entertaining again. Worth the read. The Kindle edition, however, has some odd, consistent formatting issues. Words beginning with “th” have those two letters replaced by the pi symbol. Whenever “fi” or “fl” appear together, they disappear (like oor for floor or door and terri ic for terrific). Whenever “ft” appear together they are replaced by a backward “K,” which is the symbol for third strike (caught looking) in baseball symbology. Finally the print sized changed every couple of pages. I was understandably unhappy with this to begin with (and still am considering I bought the book for full price), but I decided to just read it and see if I had trouble. After a couple of pages it was fine, my mind almost automatically substituting letters for symbols and blank spaces. It’s funny to notice the recurrence of words in the book that are tagged by these aberrations (file, floor, door, for example). I don’t know if they’re used more in PI novels, but it feels like it now.
Burke, Michael. Music of the Spheres. New York: Pleasure Boat Studio, 2011.