Flat Spin by David Freed

August 30, 2013

Plot summary (with possible spoilers): When flight instructor Cordell Logan learns his ex-wife’s husband has been murdered, he somewhat reluctantly takes up the hunt for the killer. His trail leads from Las Vegas to the Oakland ghettos, from Russian mafia haunts in Los Angeles to the deserts of Arizona.

Warning: Spoilers below!

Liked:

  • I liked Logan’s love-hate relationship with his cat, Kittiot. Some of the character’s musings about the animal were damn funny!
  • The revelation that Lamont Royale was the hired gun was a decent surprise. I figured it was someone from Carlisle’s crew, but thought it was Gil (the ex-FIL) himself. Lamont actually seemed like the only good guy in the group, which just goes to show you….
  • The relationship between Logan and his landlady (I’m not even going to attempt to spell her name) was sweet. I like the idea of them eating dinner and watching Monday Night Football together every week during the NFL season.
  • The misdirection with Logan’s one and only flight student (the Russian kid) was well done. The kid’s appearance out of the blue coupled with his extreme eagerness and skill made me wonder if he’d been sent by someone with an agenda.

Disliked:

  • Cordell Logan just seemed like way too much of a poor man’s Myron Bolitar for my tastes. Just like Harlan Coben’s character, Logan ALWAYS tosses out wisecracks NO MATTER WHAT THE SITUATION. This bothers me because NO ONE would act that way unless they knew they had an audience, which was rarely the case. Two of the worst examples of Logan’s ill-timed “jokes” came when the gang of black thugs walked up to his car and asked “Where are you from?”, prompting a long-winded philosophical reply about how the more important question in life is “where are you going”, blah, blah, blah (who would do that????), and when he was making smart-ass remarks to Emma Emerson, the recent widow of a former Alpha team member. Come on.
  • Logan’s mixed feelings about Savannah came off as trite and annoying. Okay, tell us once or twice that Logan couldn’t decide whether to storm off forever or take her to bed; but don’t bring up the same tired “conflict” every single time the characters were in the same room together. Ugh.
  • It didn’t make sense that the LAPD detectives were so willing to listen to Logan and help run down his various leads. I can understand Buzz wanting to help, but it was a stretch to think the LAPD would encourage Logan to pursue his own investigation.

Rating:

If you’ve never read Harlan Coben, then you’ll probably like Flat Spin by David Freed. It’s got a somewhat interesting plot that moves along at a relatively quick clip and the main character might seem unique to you. But if you are familiar with Myron Bolitar, this one might not do it for you. I give it 3 stars out of 5, but don’t feel compelled to read subsequent entries in the series.

2 Responses to “Flat Spin by David Freed”

  1. I can understand disliking or having mixed feelings about an author’s first novel. Everyone’s entitled to their opinion. But to say, “Don’t feel compelled to read subsequent entries in the series” when you have no idea whether those subsequent efforts are any good, or an improvement upon the original, smacks less of literary criticism than downright meanness. Perhaps some day you’ll write a novel, receive a similar review, and comprehend what it feels like.

  2. Hi David,

    Thanks for your comment. What you see as “meanness”, I see as just playing the odds. I don’t think I have to read every work an author ever produces or every title in a series before forming an opinion about the person’s work. Writers obviously have their own stylistic quirks, tendencies, and “trademarks” that crop up regardless of plot details. If I don’t enjoy one title, I try to consider whether or not these other elements appealed to me enough to make me give the person’s work another look.

    Does this approach cause me to miss out on some great books? Probably. But does it also save me from slogging through a bunch of stuff that doesn’t appeal to my tastes? Undoubtedly.

    That said, I’m a nobody. Not a real critic or anything; just an average reader who posts my reactions (not professional critiques) on a blog. Don’t take my opinion to heart!

    Julie

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