It could have been deliberate. I read a trad-pub book a while ago (by Raymond Khoury called The Templar Salvation
- a sort of action adventure thing) in which the author used the phrase "for a beat" quite regularly (I am guessing it was supposed to be in place of "for a moment" but presumably he thought "beat" was better for action scenes). I found it distracting, perhaps because it's not something I'd seen much of before. He also used phrases like "for a nanosecond" and similar that seemed inappropriate to my eye.