The snow is gone, the ice is gone -- winter is long forgotten. When the phone wakes Phil Broker at five a.m. on the morning of his forty-eighth birthday -- six months removed from his surviving a January cold snap that (in Absolute Zero) nearly claimed his life -- it's already ninety-two degrees. It's July, and Stillwater, Minnesota, finds itself in the middle of the worst heat wave in local memory.
The news on the phone has nothing to do with birthday wishes, however. A year earlier, an angry citizen served as jury and executioner by pumping twelve bullets into a known pedophile -- and in the process became a folk hero, dubbed "the Saint" by locals. Despite protests to the contrary, everybody in the community (including the police department) felt justice had been served, and the investigation quickly went cold. Ever since, strong rumors have circulated that the real reason the Saint hasn't been apprehended is that he -- or she -- is a cop.
Now a priest has been murdered, and a clue left at the scene suggests it to be the work of a vigilante. Was the priest a sexual predator? Could the Saint be back? For the members of the Stillwater law-enforcement community, it means that a killer could be in their midst.
The caller begs for Broker's help: as an outsider, Broker can be counted on to follow the investigation wherever it leads. But as the temperature mounts and new victims begin surfacing, Broker wonders if he's been set up to catch a bullet for a scandal that threatens to bring down the Stillwater Police Department.
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Chuck Logan is the author of eight novels, including After the Rain, Vapor Trail, Absolute Zero, and The Big Law. He is a veteran of the Vietnam War who lives in Stillwater, Minnesota, with his wife and daughter.From Publishers Weekly:
Logan's new police thriller, a sequel to Absolute Zero, has former cop Phil Broker on the hunt for "the Saint," a mysterious killer of suspected child molesters whose signature is a St. Nicholas medallion left in the mouths of his victims. The Saint's latest target, a Catholic priest, has fallen prey in the small town of Stillwater, Minn., where Broker, a retired cop who worked undercover for the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, now lives. The local police chief lacks the manpower to marshal much of an investigation, so he hires Broker. Soon, Broker's instincts lead him to two prime suspects. One is Harry Cantrell, a notoriously violent cop and drunkard with a particular dislike for child molesters. The other is a prosecutor, the lithesome Gloria Russell, still seething over her courtroom defeat that let a child killer walk free. Also on Broker's mind is the fact that his estranged wife, an undercover government operative, has disappeared somewhere in Europe, along with their five-year-old daughter. Logan crafts his plot with vigor and clarity, setting up what initially looks like a predictable finale, then pulling the rug out from under readers. With rich characters, a voice of unhesitating assurance and a plot refreshingly free of gimmickry, Logan once again delivers good old-fashioned storytelling.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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