Chuck Logan, Author . HarperCollins $24.95 (400p) ISBN 978-0-06-018572-5

Ex-cop Phil Broker, hero of Logan's previous three thrillers (The Big Law, etc.), takes a break from managing his small Minnesota resort in this latest outing and fills in for his uncle as a wilderness guide in the northernmost reaches of the state. It's hardly a pleasure trip: Broker's soldier wife, Nina, has just split with their child, and one of Broker's three clients, action writer Hank Sommer, is constantly fighting with his wife, Jolene, by cell phone while Dr. Allen Falken and lawyer Milt Bane look on. Caught by a sudden blizzard as they are kayaking, Broker nearly drowns until Sommer fights their kayak across the lake, but ruptures his colon in the effort. At a minimal hospital with no surgeon in snowbound Ely, Falken operates with local nurse anesthetist Amy Skoda, but Sommer goes into post-op coma and Skoda gets the blame. Then Sommer's sexy wife takes Sommer home early, and the kinky death of a CPA, Cliff Stovall, hits the news. Pondering Sommer's last words—"tell Cliff to move the money"—Broker teams up with Skoda to visit Sommer and Jolene, but Skoda gets info that puts their lives in danger. Lured back to Ely and tricked by experts, Broker and Skoda are put out of action, and the scene is set for a shattering surprise ending. Logan parlays the plot elements with the icy finesse of James M. Cain and draws characters so real you can feel the body heat steaming off the page. Once again, he proves himself an awesome storyteller with a unique voice and a flawless sense of place and mood. Major ad/promo; 6-city author tour; Harper Audio. (Feb.)

Reviewed on: 02/04/2002
Release date: 02/01/2002
Genre: Fiction
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