Chuck Logan's Absolute Zero is one of the most complete and satisfying mystery thrillers I have read in a long time. It may seem like a cliché to say the characters Logan created are so real you can actually see them, but it is true. They are deep and well-defined, and the story is gripping, compelling and flawlessly plotted.
Phil Borker is an ex-cop who wants to put his law enforcement days behind him. His failing marriage has become a nightmare because he isn't man enough to handle his wife's success in the military. A chance to work as a river guide for his uncle seems like the perfect opportunity for a much-needed retreat.
The first tour group is made up of three friends, all hoping to get away from the realities of life. Riding the raging rapids in the crux of winter is exactly the thrill they seek. Allen, a prominent surgeon, is looking to escape the trials and tribulations of emergency room stress. Milt, a lawyer, is taking a break from the office, courtrooms and clients to spend time bonding more closely with his buddies. Hank, the novelist, who is married to a beautiful and seemingly untamable woman, wants to improve his writing by actually living the excitement he describes in his books.
A sudden blizzard throws the four into dangerously rough waters, and they are are forced to depend on each other for survival. Hank is seriously injured; it is up to Broker and Allen to save his life in a deadly race against time. Once Hank reaches the safety of the hospital, his own nightmare begins. A post-surgery accident sends the novelist into a coma. Was it caused by his worsened medical condition? Was it the fault of an overworked, overtired nurse? Or did someone commit the act on purpose?
Hank's wife, Jolene, shows at the hospital with her gigolo-like ex-boyfriend, and Broker smells a rat. Who would want the author dead and out of the way? There is Hank's insurance policy, but that money, should Hank die, would go right to Jolene, making her the most likely suspect. But she didn't arrive at the hospital until after her husband slipped into the coma.
Peculiar predicaments and intense scenes saturate Absolute Zero. The questionable relationships between Hank's friends and his wife only add fuel to the fire. A cold and hypothermic thriller, Chuck Logan's latest stands out in the genre. Fast-paced chapters, taut prose and teeth grinding dialogue make for one heck of a heart-hammering suspense novel.