Flat Spin by David Freed is the first Cordell Logan mystery. It is a decent enough whodunit with flaws that eventually test a reader’s patience. For example, the number of flying to and from scenes that serve but to show Logan can fly a plane and Freed knows the jargon. These extraneous scenes get in the way of the pacing and add to the overall feeling there is not really much going on here.
Cordell Logan is a down on his luck flying instructor. His buddy Echevarria is assassinated and Echevarria’s wife who is also Logan’s ex-wife wants him to go to the police and tell them what he and Echevarria really did in a past life: U.S. government wet work. After some touch and go attempts Flat Spin takes off for good when Logan decides to really look into former partner’s death.
The Russian mob may or may not be involved.
Like many other first mysteries, Flat Spin has a gallery of traits being tried out for effect. These include the good cop bad cop who think Logan is guilty, Logan’s Jewish landlady, and his cat. These things are a little too obviously experimental even for a first. Some characters, especially his ex-wife are generic.
I’d really take a chance on the next David Freed mystery but you should pass on this one.