cover image The Three-Nine Line: A Cordell Logan Mystery

The Three-Nine Line: A Cordell Logan Mystery

David Freed. Permanent, $29 (280p) ISBN 978-1-57962-399-9

Freed’s outstanding fourth Cordell Logan mystery (after 2014’s Voodoo Ridge) takes the wise-cracking U.S. government agent to Hanoi, where three ex-POWs, once guests of the notorious Hanoi Hilton, are participating in a reconciliation ceremony with their former guards. When one of the guards, the brutal Pham Huu Chi (aka Mr. Wonderful, because he wasn’t), is found stabbed to death in a lake in downtown Hanoi, the Vietnamese police suspect one or more of the Americans were involved. Clarence Hallyday manages to catch a flight to safety, but Virgil Stoneburner and Steven Cohen, the latter of whom happens to be Logan’s former philosophy professor, are placed under house arrest at their hotel. Logan, posing as a psychologist, has to get Stoneburner and Cohen out of the country before the local authorities stage a show trial that will scuttle a multibillion dollar trade pact between Vietnam and the U.S. To the Vietnamese, the Americans who bombed their country four decades ago were imperialist murderers. To the Americans, their jailers were sadistic torturers. 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. Agent: Jill Marr, Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency. (Aug.)