The irresistible David Freed's first mystery is a stay-up-late-to-finish thriller.
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, after all, is 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 that 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 for whom Logan continues to pine 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.
©2012 David Freed (P)2012 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
"Flat Spin is a perfect takeoff for what I think will be a long and unique career for David Freed and his creation, Cordell Logan. They both know the turf well, and I look forward to more." (Michael Connelly)
"A pilot, screenwriter, and Pulitzer Prize winning journalist with a military background, Freed manages to introduce into his debut mystery lots of technology without tedious detail...This series launch is a delightful romp through the familiar hard-boiled scene with a literate hero who admits he is so far failing to find tranquility with the Buddha. Highly recommended." (Library Journal)
"Deftly plotted...Freed, who shared a Pulitzer Prize for the LA Times' coverage of the Rodney King riots, capably balances humor and serious themes." (Publishers Weekly)
I enjoyed this a lot, the hero is a great character and I loved his humour, some of which I found a tiny bit reminiscent of Carl Hiaasen although there was nothing of the surreal here. I didn't find his ex-wife so convincing as a character, I felt she was more two-dimensional but I liked the book and narrator so much I went and bought Voodoo Ridge and enjoyed that too. I am always looking for books that aren't too terribly gory but have good twists and turns, it is quite hard to find them and I give up on quite a number of books before the end because they're too gratuitously graphic for me. This one did have some gory bits but not too many and I could cope.
The narrator is excellent and really inhabits the character, he was totally convincing for me and I was sorry to see that the second book in the series is narrated by someone else.
I really enjoyed the light-hearted 1st person narration of this book, the story was interesting and not too heavy. My reason for dropping a star is that I really didn't like the ex-wife that our hero was besotted with. I didn't understand why she had to be such a self centred madam.
Overall though, I liked Cordell Logan and liked his flippant attitude. I found myself chuckling out loud on a couple of occasions.
"Wunnerful: But... why the plane stuff?"
Dick Francis's got his horses, David Rosenfelt's got his doggies, so I guess David Feed wanted a series hook with aircraft. And while his use of a plane in Flat Spin has an authentic feel, none of it has anything to do with the plot or even the character development.
That said, I totally enjoyed "Flat Spin". Freed is laugh out loud funny and his plotting (with the exception of the airplane non-sequiturs) is tight and smooth as a low flight on a sunny day. I'll buy the next in the Cordell Logan series... I look forward to this reluctant detective's next flight. Oh, and of course the talented David Freed is the invisible man... which is my highest compliment to an actor who disappears into the ensemble he creates.
"A whodunit with a touch of humor."
suspenseful, realistic, funny
It is fast moving mystery with unpredictable twists and turns.
The dust up in the Russian club.
I listen while on my tread mill for an hour a day, my cool down periods have been longer while listening to the book.
Ray Porter is one of the best narrators in the business and brings the novel to life.
"We'll always have Paris"
Oh my god I loved this book. The narrator, Ray Porter did an excellent job. Listening to him read was like eaves dropping on a conversation. The words flowed smoothly from his mouth the sarcasm was timed perfectly with just the right amount of rudeness and humor. However, I did wish for a better ending involving Savannah. This is definitely a must read / listen. Your enjoyment is guaranteed.
"Good first novel by a journalist"
This is book 1 of the 4 novel Cordell Logan series by David Freed. Freed is a long time journalist. Flat Spin is an action thriller written in a wise cracking informal manner. The author attempts to replicate the style of Nelson DeMille in his John Corey series, but many of the jokes fall flat. Nevertheless,Flat Spin is a very good first effort. Ray Porter's narration is exceptionally good.
"Great introduction to the series"
It is a 5 stars book because I really enjoyed it.
Fast-paced, smartly written, good plot
An awesome narration
This book rates among one of my favorites. It is one of those books that is hard to stop listening to. It is an interesting, witty mystery with very humorous dialog and a great main character. I really loved the narrator, Ray Porter, he is one of my very favorites and really added to this book. He totally brought this story to life. I am looking forward to the next book.
"Plausible "Who Dunnit", Fast paced, and Hysterical"
When we think tough guy special operators, almost NO ONE, would think United States Air Force. Not that they are not brave and wonderful people doing the country proud; they just are not often thought of as gritty tough guys in the trenches of the third world.
This story, well read by a strong and masterful narrator, finds a former U.S.A.F "A-10 Warthog" pilot, turned government operative hunter killer, turned into a civilian trying to eke out a living as a one man flight school. Living in a rented garage apartment, his only asset is a 1970's vintage Cessna 172 (the VW Bug of aircraft; all over the place and changed little in 50 years). The clearly brilliant but life worn and scarred pilot is a warehouse of sardonic, sarcastic, witty retorts used to hide what he used to do for a living as well as piss off many a character that deserves to be the recipient of such taunts. Unfortunately for some of those on the receiving end, our pilot good guy, Cordell Logan, can back up the taunts we all wish we could dish out.
His life turns South when his ex-wife, a gorgeous model of course, manipulates Logan into investigating the murder of her current husband, who happens to be Logan's ex-operative teammate and the man that "stole" his wife away.
Although the title implies it is about flying and that this is a story for pilots, and it is to some degree, those threads about aviation, piloting, and aircraft the pilots love, are brief and tangential to the story. Most are offered in the form of radio communications between Logan and various Air Traffic Controllers as he goes from place to place in his quest to solve the mystery.
A great and entertaining narration, make this well written, highly plausible murder mystery a great read/listen. The fast pace and shotgun like one line quips, some so hysterical you will likely more than once actually laugh out loud (no not the stupid LOL but the real look around to make sure no one notice you laugh) will quickly ensnare and hold your imagination. GREAT accidental find and luckily, if you like it, there are more in the series.
Perhaps my opinion of the book was tainted because I had just finished reading three action-packed books in a series read by the same narrator. I had absolutely loved his performance and picked this book because he read it -- and it sounded like he basically played the same kind of character (without the supernatural goofiness of the other series). Well, that might have been a mistake. I missed the action of the other series....Not enough seemed to happen here. It started out fine...but seemed to fizzle. The mystery was ultimately not compelling enough. The main character seems to solve it almost by accident. And some of the other characters -- and the relationships between some of them -- are just implausible. Why did I give three stars to a book I seem to have totally disliked? Well, there's the rub: I didn't totally dislike it. There were some scenes that were quite good. It kept my interest. And I might even consider reading another book by the same author (I believe this is his first novel).
"The jokes fly fast and furiously."
The whole audiobook is mighty good, but I think that David Freed's sense of humor is, as they say, priceless. The jokes are so good and come at you so fast that you are still snickering when the next one hits you. I also like the romance between Logan and his ex, Savannah. I kept wanting the two of them to get past the snappy patter and get down to cases, but then it would be a different book, a romance, which I am guessing is not what Mr. Freed does.
The plot is so twisty and full of characters that you get dizzy. The names of the Russians are fabulous. The spooks are secretive, Savannah is so gorgeous that she makes your teeth hurt, and all the bad guys are as slimy as eels. The Ruptured Duck is a fine name for the beat-up Cessna that Logan flies.
I like all of Ray Porter's many voices. Mrs. Shmulewitz is quite a character, cartoonish and cutesy, cooking brisket every Monday night so she and Logan can watch football together. I think that the Logan-Savannah dialogue is so punchy and so reminiscent of the great duos: Nick and Nora particularly, but also Bogart and Bacall, Butch Cassidy and Sundance, whatever your favorites are.
This is something that I am not good at, so I won't try. I'm not an ad man. But I could sell this book, as it gave me hours of fun, between Mr. Freed and Mr. Porter, and their many and wonderful ways with words, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I will buy the next one in the series, even though I believe that one of my fellow reviewers felt that it wasn't as good as the first book. Live and learn.
"Overhead in CA"
Be warned the mystery is almost secondary to the character development and humor in this novel. It still makes for a very enjoyable read. Let me sound cliche, it made me LOL from start to finish. The mystery, for such a complex one at that, has few, vague leads. It's solved by almost by sheer luck. But I feel lucky to have read it since it feels like this book sets up the backdrop for an exciting series.
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