Review: Swan Dive by Jeremiah Healy

This is the 4th book in the John Cuddy private investigator series and it displays Cuddy in all of his vengeful best as he takes some retribution for some deplorable behavior on behalf of his client. The story is fast-paced and violent and secures the series as a must-read for fans of good quality PI fiction.

The book was nominated for the 1989 Shamus Award for Best PI Novel.

Book Details

Title: Swan Dive
Author: Jeremiah Healy
Pages: 254
Published Date: 1988
Publisher: Pocket Books
Series Details: 4th book in the John Francis Cuddy series

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Publisher's Synopsis

A stint as a bodyguard sucks Cuddy into a vicious divorce case

Divorce will not be easy for Hanna Marsh. Her drug-dealing husband, Roy, is a cruel man, whose greed makes him unwilling to part with anything he owns—including his money, wife, and daughter. Hanna’s lawyer is terrified of Roy, but has the sense to hire John Francis Cuddy, private detective, to protect Hanna during the negotiations. Cuddy doesn’t wait to get mean with Roy, and the result of his tough talk is clear as soon as they return to Hanna’s temporary residence: her daughter’s kitten slaughtered on the floor.

Cuddy makes Roy pay for his vile behavior, humiliating the drug pusher in an attempt to set his wife free. But when Roy takes a headfirst dive out a hotel window, leaving behind a murdered prostitute and a missing shipment of cocaine, suspicion falls on Cuddy. To save his client’s life, Cuddy must put his own on the line.

From the Dustjacket

It began as a favour for an old friend: protect a frightened mother and child from a wrathful husband. Then the husband took a swan dive from a twelfth-story window, and in the seedy motel room he left behind a dead prostitute – and Detective John Cuddy’s gun.

Now the Boston police won’t believe Cuddy’s innocent – and a volatile Caribbean drug lord thinks he’s stolen the dead man’s $250,000 stash of prime cocaine. In shell-shocked slums, moneyed suburbs and a beautiful lawyer’s luxurious and corrupt domain, he’s fighting for the brutal truth. And when he turns up the killer, it’ll be the toughest collar he’s ever made.

Other Reviews

Kirkus Reviews

Heavy on violence, street language, and colorful characters you wouldn't bring home to mother, though Healy manages to keep his hero unprissy but above it all in the best of the Cuddy series...Read Full Review

GA Detection

Swan Dive is the first of his novels I’ve read, and Jeremiah Healy is a writer impressive in his economy. He tells a rapid-paced, strongly plotted story in prose free of pyrotechnical flourishes, providing descriptions of people and places spare enough to allow the reader to exercise his imagination but still get the picture. The story is long on dialogue (sometimes laden with raw language—a warning to the prudish) that individualizes characters, eliminating the need for narrational analyses of their psyches...Read Full Review

GoodReads Reviews

"This was a tight, taut novel full of action and thrills with no wasted words. I was surprised how quickly I reached the end. That it was written in 1988 and reflects the technology of that time made it that much more enjoyable..."

At the time of writing there are 6 reviews posted to the GoodReads website as well as 88 ratings for an average of 3.8/5 stars. You can read these reviews by visiting the GoodReads website

Amazon Reviews

"Swan Dive" by Jeremiah Healy is another very satisfying John Francis Cuddy mystery. A good fast paced story with gritty, colorful characters and an abundance of violence. Makes me want to read his next outing..."

At the time of writing there are 4 reviews posted to the Amazon website for an average of 4.4/5 stars. You can read these reviews by visiting the Amazon website

Other Shamus Best PI Novel nominees - 1989



John Lutz

*** winner ***

Neon Mirage


Max Allan Collins

Deviant Behavior


Earl W, Emerson

Blood Shot


Sara Paretsky