How David Swinson went from being a cop to writing crime novels

The author discusses his many different careers over the years, from being a cop to writing about them in his series of successful crime novels.
Author David Swinson with Tom Power in the q studios in Toronto, Ont. (Melody Lau/CBC)

When do our career dreams go from being reachable to simply impossible? For David Swinson, he was 52, married and a father when he published his first book, the crime novel In the Details. Five years later, Swinson is now onto his third novel. 

His latest is called Crime Song and follows the ongoing exploits of Frank Marr, an anti-hero drug addict and ex-cop with a tricky moral compass. The book is being called one of the best crime novels in the last year and, although becoming an accomplished crime novelist in your 50s is already inspiring, there are at least two other reasons why Swinson's personal backstory is interesting. 

There are the 16 years he spent as a decorated cop in Washington, D.C., plus the period of the '80s when he was a fairly successful promoter booking acts like Nick Cave, DEVO and the Pixies while rubbing shoulders with Hunter S. Thompson, Timothy Leary and Henry Rollins. Yet, the way Swinson sees it, going from booking bands to booking bad guys, then writing books about bad cops was a natural segue. 

Swinson joins Tom Power on the show today to discuss his fascinating career arc and his latest novel.  

— Produced by Ty Callender


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