Reviews of David Freed



Three-Nine-Line-Slider-Cover-Image-lgRegarding The Three-Nine Line:

“Outstanding…Freed pulls off the remarkable feat of writing an entertaining first-class suspense yarn while addressing serious political and personal issues in an even-handed, informed manner.”

— Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“A nifty detective story with juicy writing and a very likeable hero.”

— Kirkus Reviews

Voodoo-Ridge-medium1Regarding Voodoo Ridge:

“This is minimalist thriller writing at its best. The words have a lean and hungry look as they lope across the page and chase you on to the emotionally powerful ending. This is a must-read!”

— The San Francisco Book Review

“The whole story from beginning to end was simply awesome. Everything is so well put together that I found it hard to put the book down until the very end. All in all, this is a fabulous read, and a solid addition to anyone reading list. I highly recommend not only this book, but the entire series. Go on now. Shoo. Go pick up the first two, and get this one when it comes out in May!”

–Marisol Dunham, Indie Books R Us

“David Freed’s third installment in the Cordell Logan series, Voodoo Ridge, is the most riveting yet. Tightly plotted with twists, filled with emotionally charged sequences, it’s a page-turner in the manner that coined the term. Start reading early. It’s hard to put down.

Logan’s ex, Savannah, is pregnant. The baby is his from a get-together when the thought of precautions never crossed either’s mind. Cordell has never made a secret of how much he did, does still and will always love Savannah, and in the glow of becoming a father, he proposes a remarriage. To his surprise, she accepts. It’s a “let’s do it now” moment. They load up in his faithful Cessna, the Ruptured Duck, and are off for Lake Tahoe. There’s no waiting period in Nevada.

From the air Logan spies a flash from the ground. It appears to be a crash site and like any responsible pilot he reports it as soon as they land at Lake Tahoe, then agrees to put marriage plans on hold for a day to help lead a search and rescue team to the location. That’s the last normal act of the following week.

Not only are the remains of the aircraft and a mummified pilot found at the site where Logan saw the crash, but also a fresh corpse. So fresh that Logan met the victim in the short time between landing at the airstrip and hiking into the mountain crash site.

Cordell has trouble not reverting to his past life skills to solve the crime but interest becomes passion when Savannah disappears and threats to her safety are tied into the mystery of the long ago crash and the present day murder. Who to trust? Who is not hiding something?

It’s tough to write about the absorbing intricacies of the story without turning a review into a spoiler. What can be said is that the book is well-plotted, well-written and riveting. Did I use that adjective before? It’s worth saying twice in describing Voodoo Ridge. The tale is an intense read.”

–Ann Snuggs, Noir Journal.(view page)

“In Freed’s engaging third Cordell Logan mystery (after 2013’s Fangs Out), Logan, a struggling flight instructor and wannabe Buddhist, is trying to forget the skills and memories that he acquired as a government antiterrorist agent. Unfortunately, his sighting of a decades-old plane wreck while flying to Lake Tahoe from his home in Rancho Bonita, Calif., puts him and his fiancée, Savannah, in jeopardy, as the downed plane’s cargo attracts murderous predators. When Savannah is kidnapped, Logan must revert back to his former mindset as a government agent to try to save her…What makes this entry stand out, though, are the settings in the nonglamorous areas around Lake Tahoe and the sharply drawn, oddball supporting characters.”

–Publishers Weekly

“David Freed has written a great cast of characters. All of which you can just see and really feel like they exist. He writes in such a way that you feel isn’t fiction at all but something that is happening while he’s telling you about it. Not only is it serious in parts, but it also has great humor in it too. I highly recommend this book to anyone who likes a good mystery.”

–Joanna Lee-Wilson, Reading is a Way of Life

“This novel is not your classic mystery. The days of Conan Doyle and Christie are long past. The modern reader of mysteries expects more grit, suspense, and thrills mixed in with the classic elements of who-done-its or police procedurals—discovering the perp through possibly multiple crimes and may misdirects. Author Freed has delivered, and it’s a fun read.”

–Steve Moore, Book Pleasures

“…An economically told thriller which makes the simplicity of a linear plot a delight to watch. The tension is skillfully maintained as we watch Cordell’s sense of duty collide with his love for his ex-wife. Needless to say, there can only be one outcome. My delight in Voodoo Ridge is not saying I want all my books to be grim, but there does come a point when the endless sunlight of modern fiction becomes tiring and a healthy dose of reality is appreciated. If you enjoy thrillers with a darker edge, this is a superb example of the form and you should snap it up.”

–David Marshall, Thinking About Books

FangsOutMotionCoverBkgrnd2_1Regarding Fangs Out:

“A clever and most enjoyable read set mostly in San Diego from talented Freed, an experienced pilot, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and a military affairs expert…Maybe closer to Robert B. Parker than Ace Atkins gets.”

    –The Poisoned Pen

“In Cordell Logan, David Freed has created an extremely like-able, everyday hero with a quick wit and a compelling backstory.”

    –BOLO Review

“When Cordell Logan, ex-Alpha Team assassin, flight instructor, and aspiring Buddhist, saves the lives of Hub Walker and his ex-Playboy bunny wife in David Freed’s Fangs Out, Walker offers him a job: Prove that Dorian Munz, the man recently executed for the murder of Walker’s daughter, Ruth, is truly her killer. With his last words, Munz claimed that Greg Castle, Walker’s close friend, was Ruth’s real murderer. Ruth, said Munz, was threatening to blow the whistle on Castle for bilking the government of millions of dollars, and, furthermore, Castle was the father of Ruth’s daughter. Logan is in need of cash—his flying school is on the verge of bankruptcy—so an easy ten thousand dollars and a vacation in La Jolla is enticing. But proving Castle’s innocence proves to be no slam dunk. Bodies begin to fall, he’s attacked, and his plane, the Ruptured Duck, is sabotaged. Apparently, someone will do anything to keep Logan from learning the truth.
In this, the second Cordell Logan mystery, Freed entertains us with the wisecracking Logan and a catalog of off-beat characters, such as two old pilots who live in a hangar, and Logan’s 88-year-old landlady who gets a tummy tuck and calls the Internet search engine “The Googles.” But all is not off-beat humor. Freed, whose own flying experience is front and center and woven seamlessly into the story, has crafted a fine mystery that will keep you guessing to the very end.”

–Sharon Magee, Mystery Scene

“Freed, an experienced pilot, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and a military affairs expert…spins his suspenseful plot with the same muscular prose, hard-boiled attitude and flashes of wry humor that made the first Logan Cordell novel a critical success.”

–Bruce DeSilva, Associated Press

“Told in the first-person, Fangs Out is the second book in the widely acclaimed Cordell Logan series, and like its predecessor is filled with bullet-speed wit, original characters (and a cat to die for), plus a fast-paced and intelligent plotline, climaxing with more than one surprise, especially the surprise on the very last sentence of the book. David Freed is a master of mordant one-liners for which Raymond Chandler’s leading man, Philip Marlowe, would have given his eye teeth. Highly recommended for crime and thrillers fans alike.”

–New York Journal of Books

“Taut plot, realistic action, and crisp dialogue – helmed by a wisecracking former military assassin now trying to make a living as a civilian flight instructor – ensure a riveting ride in FANGS OUT. What lifts the novel to the level of brilliance is the seamless blending of intensely human moments – the pathos of a lonely aging pilot, a parent’s pain at a lost child, the sheer joy of flying, conflicted feelings toward an ex-wife – and Cordell Logan’s ongoing struggle to reconcile his cold-blooded past with a new life where he tries to follow the teachings of Buddha. This is a novel with depths far beneath the surface, and one that should not be missed.”

–Sara J. Henry, Anthony Award-winning author of A Cold and Lonely Place

“Freed’s skills as a reporter, screenwriter, and pilot made his first Logan tale (Flat Spin) a delight, and this one continues that roller-coaster pleasure. Logan is a stubborn, wise-cracking, ordinary guy with some extraordinary skills and a passion for flying. He does have a few problems following the Buddha’s precepts on nonviolence, but readers will eagerly look forward to his further attempts to combine flying and detection.”

–Library Journal

“In Freed’s crackling second mystery…the appealing Logan, a wise-cracking, marriage-challenged loner trying to practice Buddhist tenets, proves his mettle as both pilot and investigator.”

–Publishers Weekly

“An intriguing mystery. When Logan is in the air, Freed’s series really takes off.”


“Fast action and sharp dialog combine with convincing characters, locations and plot as another well-piloted mystery is brought deftly to land, leaving the reader both satisfied and eager for more. There are lots of dark mystery series out there, but David Freed’s Cordell Logan mysteries shine bright with good will, good humor, vivid contrasts and, of course, flight.”

–Sheila Deeth, Cafe Libri

“Filled with humor and pop culture references, Fangs Out is a quick read that will leave even the most jaded reader eager for Cordell’s next adventure. Oh, and about that title. You are just going to have to read the book to find out what that term means.”

–BOLO Books

“This book will, and does, stand on its own without needing to read the first in the Cordell Logan Mysteries, but it will encourage you to read more. Fans of the Stephanie Plum style of investigation and humor will certainly enjoy this series.”


“I could not put this book down between the mystery & the humor of Logan’s relationship with his landlady, his pet, & near everyone he meets.”

–MoonShine ArtSpot

Flat-Spin-Cover-for-Slider-259x400Regarding Flat Spin:

“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

“At 43, Cordell Logan has retired from being a National Security go-to guy (assassin) and Air Force pilot. He just wants to be a flight instructor with his beloved 1973 Cessna, the Ruptured Duck. Then his beautiful ex-wife Savannah asks him to help find the killer of her husband, Logan’s former boss, friend, and fellow agent. Russian oil deals, several more murders, and a mysterious ex-father-in-law tycoon complicate matters as Logan battles to clear his own name, avoid pursuers, and figure out his feelings for Savannah, who left him for his ex-boss.
VERDICT: 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. Logan is a wisecracking on-the-wagon protagonist who finds his violent past still has its uses. 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.”

–Pacific Flyer magazine “Starred” review by Roland C. Person, Library Journal, April 1, 2012

“Freed, an award-winning journalist who shared a Pulitzer for his coverage of the Rodney King riots delivers a thoroughly entertaining debut mystery starring Southern California flight instructor and former black-ops specialist Cordell Logan. Black ops have a way of coming back to haunt their practitioners, and so it is for Cordell when his ex-wife, the stunning Samantha, turns up to ask for his help in investigating the murder of her husband. What to do? Cordell is far from over Samantha, but the dead husband happens to be his one-time black-ops partner and close friend—and the man who stole his wife. Summoning his nearly dormant skills, Cordell begins to dig, quickly finding himself in the middle of a scam involving Russian mobsters and Samantha’s millionaire father. The plot unravels itself in a somewhat predictable but agreeable enough fashion, but 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.”

–Bill Ott, Booklist, March 2012

“In journalist Freed’s deftly plotted first novel, Cordell Logan, one-time member of the U.S. government’s elite “Alpha” antiterrorism assassination squad, is struggling to make ends meet as a flight instructor in California. Cordell sees a chance for a fresh start when his beautiful ex-wife, Savannah Carlisle, gets back in touch with him, albeit for an unflattering reason. The man she left Cordell for, his Alpha colleague Arlo Echevarria, has just been gunned down, and she wants Cordell to inform the LAPD of Arlo’s classified past. He agrees, but also begins his own investigation into the crime’s connections to Savannah’s father, Texas oil tycoon Gil Carlisle, and to the Russian mafia. 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. Agency: Jill Marr, Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency.”

–Publishers Weekly, Feb. 20, 2012

“The riveting plot, well-drawn characters, and magnificent prose are sure to make Flat Spin one of the finest debuts of 2012″

–Bruce DeSilva, Edgar Award-winning author of Rogue Island and Cliff Walk (complete review below)

“David Freed’s Flat Spin is a wonderful hybrid of a classic crime novel and spy thriller. Note to readers: Keep your seatbelts fastened. It’s a hell of a ride.”

–Reed Farrel Coleman, three-time Shamus Award winner and author of Hurt Machine

“The first thing you notice about Flat Spin is the great writing. Then the ‘pull-you-in’ story and beautifully-wrought characters. It’s everything you want in fresh crime fiction in the hardboiled tradition.”

–Chris Knopf, award-winning author of the Sam Acquillo/Hamptons mystery series

“Laced with wit, black ops, skullduggery and an appealing pilot protagonist, Flat Spin is a welcome addition to the mystery thriller field. Former L.A. Times investigative reporter David Freed brings his prodigious knowledge of police, pilots, federal intelligence and foreign wars to this wicked funny debut.”

–Denise Hamilton, author of the best-selling Eve Diamond crime series.

“Intriguing plot and memorable characters. David Freed is a skillful storyteller who has written a compelling and thoroughly engaging thriller.”

–Miles Corwin, author of Kind of Blue, selected by Booklist in 2011 as one of the year’s Top 10 First Crime Novels.


Recent Appearances:

Flat Spin on Morning Buzz

Literary Gumbo: Interview with David Freed