On one of the coldest nights in Minnesota history, the difference between life and death is literally the blink of an eye for Phil Broker, until recently St. Paul's most successful undercover cop. That blink will convey the urgent warning of a comatose man who knows the dark truth binding Broker to a remarkable cast of characters -- a weary anesthesiologist, a brilliant surgeon, a wealthy novelist, his exwife (a reformed exotic dancer), and her unrepentant pimp.
For Broker it all began when he agreed to take three big-city professionals on a canoeing trip across Minnesota's most remote lakes. One of the three is horribly injured in a freak October blizzard, and Broker embarks on a white-knuckle rescue against time and the elements, ending with a writer in a coma and his accountant dead. Suspicious of foul play, Broker follows a twisted trail of manipulation and revenge that leads back to the writer's beautiful wife -- and a ring of men caught in a deadly competition for her affections.
Absolute Zero is suspense writing at its finest, a novel whose surprising reversals and unexpectedly nuanced characters secure Chuck Logan's reputation as "one of the best of the . . . thriller breed" and blows the lid off Minnesota's best-kept literary secret.
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.