Title: Flat Spin by David Freed
Cordell Logan Mystery Series Book One
Publisher: The Permanent Press
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery
Length: 300 pages
Book Rating: B+
Review Copy Obtained from Author
Based in sunny Rancho Bonita – “California’s Monaco” as the city’s moneyed minions like to call it – Cordell Logan is a literate, sardonic flight instructor and aspiring Buddhist with dwindling savings and a shadowy past. When his beautiful ex-wife, Savannah, shows up out of the blue to tell him that her husband has been murdered in Los Angeles, Logan is quietly pleased. Savannah’s late husband is, after all, Arlo Echevarria, the man she left Logan for.
Logan and Echevarria were once comrades-in-arms assigned to a top-secret military assassination team known simply as “Alpha.” Though Savannah was never privy to the gritty details of their assignment, she suspects that Echevarria’s death must be related to the work he did for the government. The only problem is, the LAPD can find no record of Echevarria ever having toiled for Uncle Sam. Savannah wants Logan to tell the police what he knows. At first he refuses, but then, relying on his small, aging airplane, the Ruptured Duck, and on the skills he honed working for the government, Logan doggedly hunts Echevarria’s killer.
His trail takes him from the glitzy Las Vegas Strip to the most dangerous ghettos of inner-city Oakland, from darkened, Russian mafia haunts in West Los Angeles to the deserts of Arizona. Along the way, Logan is stalked by a mysterious motorist who repeatedly tries to kill him. But that’s the least of his problems. It is his love-hate relationship with Savannah, a woman Logan continues to pine for in spite of himself, that threatens to consume him.
Transcending the worlds of murder, aviation and international counterterrorism, Flat Spin resonates with a veracity that only an author who knows his subject firsthand can deliver.
David Freed’s debut novel Flat Spin is an intriguing and enthralling mystery that is rife with humor, remarkable characters and a plot that is full of twists and turns. Formerly an assassin for the elite and top secret “Alpha” team, Cordell Logan is now a struggling flight instructor. When his ex-boss and former friend is murdered, Cordell finds himself smack dab in the middle of the murder investigation. With no shortage of suspects and some help from a well-placed friend, Cordell is hot on the trail of the killer.
The most appealing aspect of Flat Spin is wise-cracking Cordell Logan. Full of caustic wit and self-deprecating humor, Logan is an endearing protagonists whose flaws and failings add to his charm. He is a lovable hero who manages to irritate almost everyone that crosses his path including his ex-wife Savannah and the police investigating Arlo’s murder. He is also still pining after Savannah and their scenes are fraught with tension over their unresolved issues and Cordell’s simmering sexual attraction for his sexy and beautiful ex-wife. Despite his animosity toward Arlo Echevarria, his loyalty to the comrade-in-arms who once saved his life won’t let him abandon the investigation into his death.
The cast of secondary characters is also superb. Cordell’s ex-father-in-law is a larger than life figure and it is his irresistible offer that brings Cordell into the investigation. Cordell’s lively eighty something landlady Mrs. Schmulowitz is absolutely adorable and quite hilarious. Buzz, a loyal friend from his covert ops days, proves to be an invaluable source of information. But the character that truly stole my heart (and several scenes) is Cordell’s lazy and defiantly independent feline companion.
Details from Cordell’s mysterious past are seamlessly woven with current events and reveal fascinating information about his involvement in clandestine operations. It also provides a great deal of insight into his relationships with Savannah and Arlo. His experience as a covert assassin gives him the necessary skills and resources he needs to track down Arlo’s killer.
Flat Spin is an intricately plotted fast moving murder mystery that is quite compelling. David Freed masterfully keeps the murderer’s identity tightly under wraps and brings this suspenseful story to a jaw-dropping and stunning conclusion.