Picks and Pans Review: Vapor Trail

updated 05/26/2003 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 05/26/2003 AT 01:00 AM EDT

By Chuck Logan

Chuck Logan set his previous best-selling novel Absolute Zero in the winter wilds of Minnesota. This time Luddite investigator Phil Broker—whose wife walked out on him with their daughter—sweats through a Gopher State heat wave. As a hired gun for the Stillwater, Minn., police, retiree Broker makes a reluctant return to help crack the case of a vigilante killer known as the Saint, who is executing child molesters. The prime suspects are Logan's former partner Harry Cantrell, a drunk with a sobering sense of revenge, and the prim prosecutor Gloria Russell, who can't forget the pedophile she couldn't convict. The killer is finally unmasked, but a tantalizing twist virtually ensures we'll meet Broker and his shattered family again. Give Logan a hand for all the surprises in this intelligent, intriguing thriller about revenge, loyalty and courage, but the best surprise is that Vapor Trail is old-fashioned, gimmick-free storytelling. (HarperCollins, $24.95)

BOTTOM LINE: A hot read

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