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The Three-Nine Line by David Freed
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The Three-Nine Line

by David Freed

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David Freed’s Cordell Logan Mysteries go from strength to strength with this fourth novel in the series. While each entry stands alone—this one perhaps even more than most—readers following the storyline will find something increasingly intriguing about watching Logan’s character grow and change. Now, with the future fallen apart around him, the aspiring Californian Buddhist flight instructor, with a curious cat and an even more curious past, treads into the shoes of his country’s recent history. Vietnam’s war and its present-day politics are rendered just as convincingly as Californian towns and skies, while a growing cast of suspects crosses the page, and politicians rage. Will a smooth resolution be valued more highly than the truth, or will Cordell Logan, reluctantly serving his country, find an answer to both?

The Three-Nine Line, from wingtip to wingtip, keeps a pilot’s opponent in front of him. But Logan’s investigation into the death of a one-time Vietnamese torturer seems more like a dogfight where even friendly planes might turn treacherous. Truly alone, in an alien present and an uncertain future, Logan searches for allies and answers, finds unexpected confidants, and remains convincingly true to character from start to surprising finish.

The Three-Nine Line is a character-driven mystery, with great plot and a powerful sense of location. The protagonist flies in a well-drawn path, keeping danger in his sights. And the novel is a great addition to the series, widening its scope in a wholly unexpected way, but staying true to character even as the character remains wholly true to himself.

Disclosure: I received a free bound galley from the publishers and I offer my honest review. ( )
  SheilaDeeth | Jul 22, 2015 |
Logan is a pilot instructor and truly enjoys flying in the sky's. He both instructs and hires his plane out for charter and here we meet him as he is flying a famous movie star and his lady friends out over the Pacific Ocean. The movie star wants Cordell to buzz the whales they can see down below, and when Cordell refuses on the grounds it will disturb the whales, he tries to bribe Cordell to do it, unsuccessfully.

Logan’s friend Buzz Hauksson, in charge of an organization that reports directly to the president, has asked Logan to go to Vietnam to help prevent an international incident. It turns out that in an attempt at international diplomacy, the two countries tried reuniting ex-POWs from the US with one of their jailers from the Hanoi Hilton. The only problem was that early the next morning Mr. Wonderful, as the jailer was known, was found floating face down in a pond with a knife in his chest.

And the most likely candidates were the 3 ex-POWs. So they were immediately placed under arrest in their hotel. Logan is sent in as a psychologist to ‘ascertain’ the mental well-being of the detainees, while trying to find out who actually settled their grudge.

Turns out Mr. Wonderful had plenty of people who thought that he wasn’t. Including his estranged wife and his partner in crime, whose girl he had an affair with. The cop in charge seems to be railroading the POWs for a career advancement and in a corrupt town, no one is as innocent as they appear to be.

I found this to be a pretty good book and I enjoyed it more than I expected. Cordell Logan seems like a man I’d like to know and he seems to be pretty competent. He also likes to fly by the seat of his pants, not just in his airplane. The mystery of who dun’ it was pretty good and was a reasonable surprise. ( )
  readafew | Jun 23, 2015 |
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Book description
More than forty years after their release from the notorious "Hanoi Hilton," three American prisoners of war return to Vietnam to make peace with their most brutal former captor, a guard whom they've dubbed, "Mr. Wonderful." The U.S. State Department hopes reconciliation will help cement a major trade agreement between Washington and the Vietnamese. But when Mr. Wonderful is found murdered, the three ex-POWs are accused of the crime and the multi-billion dollar deal threatens to unravel. Enter pilot, still-aspiring Buddhist, and former military assassin Cordell Logan.

Working with a newly formed covert intelligence unit that answers directly to the White House, Logan is dispatched to Hanoi to identify the real killer as the trade agreement threatens to implode. What he soon uncovers proves to be a vexing and increasingly dangerous mystery. Who really killed the guard and why? Unlocking the answers will test every ounce of Logan's ingenuity and resolve, while risking his life as never before.

Like its three predecessors in the Cordell Logan mystery/thriller series Flat Spin, Fangs Out, and Voodoo Ridge, The Three-Nine Line is a classic, pulse-pounding page-turner. Legions of loyal readers and critics alike, from Booklist, Publishers Weekly, Kirkus, and Library Journal to Noir Journal and the Associated Press, have hailed the series for its taut writing, finely wrought characters, flashes of wry humor, and full throttle pacing. The Three-Nine Line may well be the best yet.
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"More than forty years after their release from the notorious "Hanoi Hilton", three American prisoners of war return to Vietnam to make peace with their most brutal former captor, a guard whom they dubbed "Mr. Wonderful". The U.S. State Department hopes a reconciliation will help cement a major trade agreement between Washington and the Vietnamese. But when Mr. Wonderful is found murdered, the three ex-POWs are accused of the crime and the multi billion dollar deal threatens to unravel. Enter pilot, still-aspiring Buddhist, and former military assassin Cordell Logan."--Page 2 of cover.… (more)

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