Summary and book reviews of The Three-Nine Line by David Freed

The Three-Nine Line

by David Freed

The Three-Nine Line by David Freed X
The Three-Nine Line by David Freed
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    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Aug 2015, 272 pages
    Paperback:
    Aug 2015, 272 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
James Broderick

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Book Summary

Three American ex-POWs are accused of murdering their former prison guard, and Cordell Logan - pilot, aspiring Buddhist, and former military assassin - is sent to Vietnam to investigate.

More than forty years after their release from the notorious "Hanoi Hilton," three American prisoners of war return to Vietnam to make peace with their most brutal former captor, a guard whom they've dubbed, "Mr. Wonderful." The U.S. State Department hopes reconciliation will help cement a major trade agreement between Washington and the Vietnamese. But when Mr. Wonderful is found murdered, the three ex-POWs are accused of the crime and the multi-billion dollar deal threatens to unravel. Enter pilot, still-aspiring Buddhist, and former military assassin Cordell Logan.

Working with a newly formed covert intelligence unit that answers directly to the White House, Logan is dispatched to Hanoi to identify the real killer as the trade agreement threatens to implode. What he soon uncovers proves to be a vexing and increasingly dangerous mystery. Who really killed the guard and why? Unlocking the answers will test every ounce of Logan's ingenuity and resolve, while risking his life as never before.

Like its three predecessors in the Cordell Logan mystery/thriller series Flat Spin, Fangs Out, and Voodoo Ridge, The Three-Nine Line is a classic, pulse-pounding page-turner. Legions of loyal readers and critics alike, from Booklist, Publishers Weekly, Kirkus, and Library Journal to Noir Journal and the Associated Press, have hailed the series for its taut writing, finely wrought characters, flashes of wry humor, and full throttle pacing. The Three-Nine Line may well be the best yet.

The Three-Nine Line

Two widowed sisters out for their predawn stroll were the first to spot it, floating near the red wooden bridge that led to the island with its ancient temple. They thought it was the rarely seen giant turtle, the one whose sacred ancestors have lived in the lake for a thousand years. But when they made their way excitedly onto the bridge and peered over the hand railing into the dark water, what they saw was not some mythic, oversized reptile. It was a man, arms hovering buoyantly at his sides, his black sport coat humped over his back like a tortoise shell, dead. One of the old women stayed behind while the other hobbled as best she could along the lakeshore to the police substation on Le Thai To Street, a quarter mile away. The two officers on duty were sipping tea from cloisonné cups and smoking Marlboro Lights, engrossed in a television soap opera about sixteenth century Chinese warlords. The woman told them what she'd found and implored them to come...

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Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

The background of The Three-Nine Line is Vietnam, but I wish Freed had allowed it to creep a bit more into the foreground. As an award-winning journalist and feature writer, Freed has the trained eye, and ear, to make different places feel different. Nonetheless, The Three-Nine Line is an efficient and satisfying standalone mystery too, with a dollop of political commentary about the Vietnam War to give it some heft and enough red herrings to keep most mystery fans hooked.   (Reviewed by James Broderick).

Full Review (896 words).

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Media Reviews

Kirkus Reviews

A nifty detective story with juicy writing and a very likable hero.

Booklist

Masquerading as psychologist Dr. Bob Barker, Logan is charged with finding the real killer and keeping the trade agreement alive. That task would seem to require diplomacy, but Logan takes a different tack. An equal-opportunity wiseguy, ready to ridicule whenever an opportunity presents itself, he insults his way to the answers. A nice combination of international intrigue and hard-boiled patter.

Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. 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.

Reader Reviews

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Beyond the Book

The Hỏa Lò Prison

Who would have ever guessed that Hỏa Lò, the notorious Vietnamese prison compound derisively dubbed the "Hanoi Hilton" would become a tourist attraction? But that's what's happened, and the ironic, even troubling transition from a place of torture to a ticket-selling tourist trap provides the backdrop for David Freed's mystery novel, The Three-Nine Line.

Hỏa Lò Prison in Hanoi The official name of the facility, built by French colonists in the 1890s to house Vietnamese political prisoners, is the Hỏa Lò (which translates as "Fiery Furnace") Prison, and though much of the original prison complex was destroyed in the 1990s to make room for luxury high-rises, the gatehouse has been converted into a museum and some of the detention cells ...

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