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.
"Unlike some novelists with technical expertise, Freed is a superb writer. His prose is at once muscular and musical – and sometimes verges on poetry. And he mixes a hard-boiled attitude with flashes of wry humor. The riveting plot and fine prose are sure to make "Flat Spin" one of the best debuts of 2012."--Bruce DeSilva, Associated Press, Huffington Post
"Readers will find Cordell, intrigued by Buddhism and still emotionally vulnerable from his divorce, an engaging protagonist, despite his incessant wisecracking. Freed, who shared a Pulitzer Prize for the L.A. Times's coverage of the Rodney King riots, capably balances humor and serious themes."--Publishers Weekly
"Pulitzer-winning reporter Freed brings his knowledge of aviation, the military and law enforcement to his fiction debut. His story is full of interesting episodes and feels authentic..."--Kirkus
"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
"...The real appeal here lies both in Cordell's wise-cracking persona (there's a definite touch of Robert B. Parker's Spenser) and in the flight scenes, melded seamlessly into the story. Has there been a pilot-sleuth since Sky King, star of the 1950s TV series? There is one now, and he's a keeper."--Booklist
"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...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...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."--Cafe Libri
"In fact, this is one of those books you read for the sheer joy of the way the words are arranged on the page... this is one of those crime thrillers that, when you get to the last page, you find yourself saying, "Damn! It's over." Add the fun repartee, the mysterious and continuing executions, the near death experiences of our hero and his decidedly up tempo personality, then throw in the flying scenes and you have a fun, readable 300 page book that you just can't wait to get back to at night."--Pacific Flyer Magazine
DAVID FREED owns a small plane, and was a specialist in both law enforcement and military affairs during an 18-year reporting career. As an investigative reporter for The Los Angeles Times, he was an individual finalist for the Pulitzer Prize's Gold Medal for Public Service, the highest award in American journalism. Later, he shared in a Pulitzer Prize for the newspaper's coverage of the 1992 Rodney King riots. He reported from the Middle East during Operation Desert Storm, and holds an active security clearance from the US Department of Defense. He lives in Santa Barbara, California.