Review The King Tides: A book by James Swain

There’s a secret to saving the girl…Nicki Pearl is the perfect daughter—every parent’s dream. And that of strangers, too. Wherever she goes, she’s being watched. Each stalker is different from the last, except for one thing—their alarming obsession with Nicki.Desperate times call for desperate measures, and Nicki’s father is turning to someone who can protect her: retired private detective and ex–Navy SEAL Jon Lancaster. Teaming up with FBI agent and former abduction victim Beth Daniels, Lancaster can help—his way. He’s spent most of his career dispatching creeps who get off on terrorizing the vulnerable. Unlicensed, and unrestricted, he plays dirty…But this case is unusual. Why so many men? Why this one girl? Does Nicki have something to hide? Or do her parents?Trawling the darkest depths of southern Florida, Lancaster faces a growing tide of secrets and deception. And the deeper he digs, the more he realizes that finding the truth won’t be easy. Because there’s more to this case than meets the eye.


The King Tides (Lancaster & Daniels Book 1) by [Swain, James]


Editorial Reviews


“Lancaster is a terrific new character and Swain’s writing is better than ever—together they’re smart, tough, suspenseful, and rewarding.” —Lee Child, #1 New York Timesbestselling author

“James Swain’s The King Tides is a hundred percent adrenaline rush disguised as a detective novel. Its hero, an ex-detective named Jon Lancaster, is as adept at using the latest digital sleuthing software as he is shooting a gun. The pacing is terrific, the dialogue memorable, and the characters, including a tough-as-nails female FBI agent and some truly frightening serial killers, jump off the page. You will read this book in one sitting. It’s that good.” —Michael Connelly, #1 New York Times bestselling author

“Jon Lancaster is a former Navy SEAL and a retired cop, who works rescues of abducted children, and is a kick-ass private investigator. Tough as nails, Jon doesn’t take no for an answer when searching for missing kids. As a private investigator he doesn’t have to abide by the same rules of law enforcement officers, giving the perpetrators no rights. Author James Swain has created a protagonist who is real enough to be your next door neighbor. I have read, and loved, many of Swain’s books over the years, but I think The King Tides is his best work yet. The story is action-packed, tough, and believable. I hope the Jon Lancaster adventures will become a series.” —Cheryl Kravetz, Murder on the Beach Bookstore, Delray Beach, Florida

“Jim Swain is crime fiction’s master of misdirection. I can’t think of anyone who comes close. If you are tired of retread plots and characters—the same old, same old, give Jim Swain a try. I dare you to grab a copy of The King of Tides and tell me how it will end after reading a few chapters.” —Mike Bursaw, Mystery Mike’s bookstore, specializing in Detective, Mystery & Suspense Fiction

About the Author

James Swain is the national bestselling author of twenty mystery novels and has worked as a magazine editor, screenwriter, and novelist. His books have been translated into a dozen languages and have been selected as Mysteries of the Year by Publishers Weekly and Kirkus Reviews. Swain has received a Florida Book Award for fiction and was awarded France’s prestigious Prix Calibre .38 for Best American Crime Writing. When he isn’t writing, he enjoys performing close-up magic.

Top customer reviews


This is a fun popcorn novel that requires quite a bit of suspension of belief. First, the protagonist is your typical Hollywood hero; highly skilled and trained ex-SEAL, ex-law enforcement. When stalkers attempt to kidnap the teen daughter of a wealthy neurosurgeon, he and his reluctant wife turn to Jon Lancaster for help. Despite being all the above, Lancaster is a pot-bellied foul smelling man who accepts merchandise for payment instead of cash and looks nothing like the skilled investigator he is. The story unfolds as he investigates who is stalking and trying to abduct the teen, Nicki Pearl. This leads to several surprising twists and reveals before the dark answer is finally revealed.

I liked the book for the most part but a couple things took away from the fun. First, the story feels longer than it should be. While I appreciate the author’s desire to describe and explain everything, there are times where it simply is not necessary. For example, do we really need Lancaster’s musings about how a surly Cuban maintenance worker is likely surly because he may have once been a doctor or lawyer in his native Cuba before boarding a makeshift tire raft to flee to the U.S. only to face disappointment? Just say he’s surly. No further reason or explanation is necessary because he’s only in the story for a minute, if that. Another problem is the lack of continuity for some aspects of the story. For example, we’re told that Lancaster is this crack shot investigator who belongs to this elite team of ex-law enforcement and now uses all this state of the art technology that wasn’t available to Lancaster during his days as a cop. However, we rarely see this exotic tech in action as Lancaster spends the bulk of the book utilizing old-school investigative techniques. My last gripe is a minor one but a biggie to me. If an author isn’t familiar with tech, they really shouldn’t try to sound too technical. I cringed when I read the line “He gets a new IP address with each new laptop, which makes it harder to catch him”. The point being that one character frequently buys new laptops to get new IP addresses to avoid detection. However, these laptops are used at the same location. Anyone with even a morsel of tech savvy knows that simply buying different laptops will not change the ISP’s WAN IP. If Swain had a tech adviser or even a tech savvy friend, they could have advised him against writing that line and suggested that the character either use a VPN or one of many more effective means that actually work to mask an IP rather than the ridiculous notion of buying a new laptop to change an IP address.

In addition to the bad laptop IP example, there are several other instances where suspension of belief is practically mandatory in order to continue reading. There is one part of the narrative where an FBI agent does something so ridiculously outrageous and over the top that I nearly stopped reading right there. Not only was it absurdly outside the realm of what law enforcement would do in that situation but a bit demeaning as well. I can’t say more without spoiling but there were several other instances where, although not quite as bad as the FBI example, I felt like the author really pushed the boundaries of believably. However, the story was still entertaining nonetheless.

Despite my gripes with the book, I did enjoy reading it. I think it’s a good choice if looking for light entertainment and nothing more. This book should be read with all the seriousness of watching a Die Hard or Fast & Furious movie. As long as expectations are kept at that level, it’s a fun read. The pacing is good and the characters interesting enough to make it a nonstop read despite the flaws. Even though the subtitle says book 1 of 2, this is a complete story and the ending provides adequate closure, so don’t let the book 1 of 2 subtitle scare you off. There are no irritating cliffhangers nor a mandatory requirement to read book two.

Content warning: Rape, sexual assault, sexual situations, pedophilia, human trafficking, violence and profanity.

Amazon Customer
Story line kept me interested, though some of the plot twists felt contrived. Thought it was a good read overall.
First book I have read by this author. Start reading and you forget what time it is. You think the author is going in one direction but goes on the opposite. Great book.


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