Logan, Chuck 1942-
LOGAN, Chuck 1942-
Born 1942; married; children: one daughter.
Home—Stillwater, MN. Agent—c/o Author Mail, HarperCollins, 10 East 53rd St., 7th Fl., New York, NY 10012.
Hunter's Moon, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 1996.
The Price of Blood, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 1997.
The Big Law, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 1998.
Absolute Zero, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2002.
Vapor Trail, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2003.
Chuck Logan has written several thrillers featuring fictional protagonist Phil Broker, a Vietnam veteran and ex-cop who lives in Minnesota. A critic for Publishers Weekly called Logan "an awesome storyteller with a unique voice and a flawless sense of place and mood."
Hunter's Moon, Logan's first novel, is based in part on the author's own experiences. In this tale, Vietnam vet Harry Griffin goes hunting in northern Minnesota with old friend Bud Maston. Both men are recovering alcoholics, but Bud has fallen off the wagon for a reason Harry cannot discover. It may be because of the rough crowd Bud is seeing. Or perhaps Bud is having troubles with his seductively attractive wife. During the hunting trip Harry is forced to kill another man to save Bud's life. Before the trip is over, he must also untangle the dark mysteries surrounding his friend. A critic for Publishers Weekly claimed that Logan "knows how to grab the souls of his characters and hold them up, squirming, to the light," while Mark Terry in Armchair Detective praised Logan's prose as "visceral, vibrant, filled with haunting to-the-heart imagery." A. J. Wright, reviewing Hunter's Moon for the Library Journal, found that "this suspense novel moves at a brisk pace and has well-drawn characters and landscapes," while Booklist critic Joe Collins dubbed the novel "a rousing, edgy first novel."
According to Logan in a statement posted at the HarperCollins Web site, Hunter's Moon "was a rehash of many of the dark themes from my earlier life." Logan is himself a veteran of the Vietnam War, where he served as a paratrooper, and has been a recovering alcoholic for some twenty-five years. His father left the family when Logan was still an infant; his mother died in a car accident when he was eight. After working in auto factories in Detroit, Michigan, Logan joined the U.S. Army. A job at a St. Paul, Minnesota newspaper following his military discharge led to Logan trying his hand at writing.
After the success of Hunter's Moon, Logan developed the character of Phil Broker and has followed Broker's exploits through several novels. In The Price of Blood Vietnam veteran Broker is now working as a Minnesota law officer. Twenty years ago, as Vietnam fell to the communists, some ten tons of gold disappeared from the National Bank of Hue at the same time Broker's unit was in the area. To help clear the name of an old army friend whose memory was stained by a courts martial that implicated him in allegedly stealing the gold, Broker returns to Southeast Asia in search of the lost fortune. "Logan cranks up the voltage with some impressive plot twists," Chris Petrakos wrote in Chicago's Tribune Books. "Logan's novel offers genuine suspense, stomach-turning violence, a devilishly twisted plot, and larger-than-life characters," maintained Emily Melton in Booklist, while The Price of Blood was deemed "An admirably flinty, adroitly plotted, and worthy successor to Logan's first hardboiled thriller" by a Kirkus Reviews contributor.
The Big Law finds Broker at the heart of a tangled plot involving a crooked cop, a greedy newspaper reporter, and a frame-up for murder. Newspaperman Tom James gets a tip that cop Keith Angland is taking money from the mob, while Angland's wife Caren wants to turn state's evidence in exchange for inclusion in the witness protection program and the chance at a new life. She also wants to turn over the two million dollars in dirty money her husband has stashed away. But Caren is also Broker's ex-wife, and she wants him to use his police skills to help protect her from her violent husband. When she turns up dead, Broker must discover who killed her and where the money is. The story, a critic for Kirkus Reviews explained, is "replete with intrigue, chases, secret agendas, and bloody murder.… Logan can plot. And write. And what he serves up here is a satisfying throwback to the kind of suspense novel where complex people matter more than high-tech machines." "Virtually seamless, the prose mesmerizes," a Publishers Weekly reviewer added, concluding that "The ingenious plot and cast of well-fleshed-out characters" in The Big Law "continue to mark Logan as a stand-out in the genre."
Broker works as a wilderness guide for his uncle in Absolute Zero, but the first group he takes into the forest during midwinter runs into trouble as a raging river capsizes their boat and nearly kills them. When Broker's friend Hank Sommer is rushed to the hospital and goes into a coma on the operating table, the coma seems too convenient to Broker, who suspects someone is trying to kill his friend. The most likely suspect is Sommer's young wife, a woman with a notorious past, but she was no where near the hospital when her husband was stricken. "The first fifty stormy pages alone are worth the price of admission," Carrie Bissey claimed in Booklist, "and the shifting loyalties and shifting narrative perspectives that follow make the rest just as hard to put down." Logan's characters, according to Phillip Tomasso, III, in an online review for Curled Up with a Good Book, "are so real you can actually see them.… They are deep and well-defined, and the story is gripping, compelling and flawlessly plotted."
Vapor Trail finds Broker called in to help track down a serial killer known as the "Saint." The killer specializes in a particular kind of victim: those accused of being child molesters. Because the local community, and even the police department, sympathizes with his motive, the only way the Saint can be found is if an outsider like Broker is called in. "Drawing on the theme that justice sometimes fails," Jo Ann Vicarel wrote in the Library Journal, "Logan clearly shows what the consequences are for the victims, the law enforcement officers, and the prosecutors." A critic for Publishers Weekly concluded: "With rich characters, a voice of unhesitating assurance and a plot refreshingly free of gimmickry, Logan once again delivers good old-fashioned storytelling."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Armchair Detective, spring, 1997, Mark Terry, review of Hunter's Moon, p. 226.
Booklist, December 15, 1995, Joe Collins, review of Hunter's Moon, p. 686; March 15, 1997, Emily Melton, review of The Price of Blood, p. 1226; November 15, 1998, Budd Arthur, review of The Big Law, p. 572; January 1, 2002, Carrie Bissey, review of Absolute Zero, p. 819; March 1, 2003, Carrie Bissey, review of Vapor Trail, p. 1149.
Entertainment Weekly, December 4, 1998, Charles Winecoff, review of The Big Law, p. 98; March 8, 2002, Daniel Fierman, review of Absolute Zero, p. 68.
Kirkus Reviews, January 15, 1997, review of The Price of Blood, p. 84; October 1, 1998, review of The Big Law, p. 1403; December 1, 2001, review of Absolute Zero, p. 1635; February 15, 2003, review of Vapor Trail, p. 260.
Library Journal, December, 1995, A. J. Wright, review of Hunter's Moon, p. 156; February 1, 2002, Jeff Ayers, review of Absolute Zero, p. 131; March 15, 2003, Jo Ann Vicarel, review of Vapor Trail, p. 115.
Minneapolis Star-Tribune, April 6, 2003, Ken Wisneski, review of Vapor Trail.
Publishers Weekly, October 23, 1995, review of Hunter's Moon, p. 58; February 17, 1997, review of The Price of Blood, p. 212; October 5, 1998, review of The Big Law, p. 79; February 4, 2002, review of Absolute Zero, p. 53; March 31, 2003, review of Vapor Trail, p. 42.
Tribune Books (Chicago, IL), March 16, 1997, Chris Petrakos, review of The Price of Blood, p. 6.
Books 'n' Bytes,http://www.booksnbytes.com/ (October 6, 2003), Carl Brookins, review of The BigLaw; (October 31, 2003) Carl Brookins, review of The Price of Blood, and Harriet Klausner, review of Absolute Zero and Vapor Trail.
Curled Up with a Good Book,http://www.curledup.com/ (October 6, 2003), Phillip Tomasso, III, review of Absolute Zero.
HarperCollins Web site,http://www.harpercollins.com/ (October 6, 2003), "Chuck Logan."*