Smoothly written with genuine humor, pitch-perfect dialog and absorbing authenticity, David Freed’s Flat Spin is a classic LA mystery with modern verve and style. The author’s expertise in his material is clear but never labored. He’s a journalist who shared a Pulitzer Prize for reporting on the Rodney King riots, he had an active security clearance from the DoD while reporting on Operation Desert Storm, and he’s a pilot with his own airplane, which makes the flight scenes vivid and enthralling. Add a sardonic sense of humor, wonderfully plausible and endlessly fascinating characters, and a protagonist who combines a top-secret past as a government assassin with present Buddhist leanings, and you have the ingredients of a really fine tale.
Listed as A Cordell Logan Mystery, this novel introduces the down-at-heels flight instructor, Cordell Logan, who struggles to pay his rent, shares the elderly Mrs. Schmulowitz’s garage with an obstreperous cat, knows far too much about bullets and bombs, and still hasn’t learned how to fall out of love with the wife who left him for his boss.
If you watched the short-lived TV series, Life, you’ll share my delight at revisiting this slightly skewed version of Buddhism, with the occasional sprinkle of bacon, guns, and wit. The ex-wife returns, asking for help. The Buddhist has to oblige. The rejected husband feels appropriate remorse when he insults her. And the contacts from a secret past combine with new friends and enemies in the LAPD to send Cordell flying and driving up and down the coast and out to the desert.
The writing pulls you in. The plot twists and turns like a plane in the wind. The wide skies haunt. And the protagonist and friends will have you searching bookstores for more. A fun, exciting, absorbing mystery with character and style, this one’s highly recommended.
Disclosure: I received a free bound galley from the publisher, The Permanent Press, in exchange for my honest review.
Title: Flat Spin
Author: David Freed
Publisher: The Permanent Press
Pub date: May 2012