Cover image for FrostLine
Scott, Justin.
Personal Author:
First U.S. edition.
Publication Information:
Scottsdale, Ariz. : Poisoned Pen Press, [2003]

Physical Description:
328 pages ; 23 cm
General Note:
Originally published: 1997.
Format :


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HardScape and StoneDust, the first Ben Abbott novels, established Ben as one of the most engaging and canny investigators to have appeared in a long time. Britain's Literary Review terms the Abbotts ""Smooth, sardonic, impeccably argued, immaculately written"" while author Lawrence Block says: ""Frostline is the best book in a series that started strong and keeps getting better.""
When Newbury's newest resident, ex-diplomat Harry King, the close confidant of Kissinger and reputed to have been heavily involved in the Vietnam War, summons real estate agent Ben Abbott to his new McMansion, Ben dreams of big dollar signs. The commission from selling the Fox Trot estate would be huge. But King doesn't want Ben's selling expertise, he wants him to act as a mediator between him and his troublesome neighbour, surly Vietnam vet Ronnie Butler. A strip of Butler's land cuts straight into King's estate like a knife, acting as a red flag for two neighbors who are as ornery and quarrelsome as a pair of rival bulls. In fact, the testoserone is flowing heavier than the waters in the stream King is damming up for a picturesque lake.
Before Ben can mediate, an explosion rocks a lavish party on the Fox Trot lawn. The blast blows up the dam--and Butler's ex-con son, Dickie, along with it. Butler, an army-trained sapper, is arrested for setting the dynamite. Ben, whose childhood friend Dickie had tried his patience and loyalty many times before, refuses to accept Butler's guilt. Besides, too many things don't add up. Could it be the work of terrorists? Of one of the many groups holding a grudge against King? Or just someone with his own axe to grind? With the Feds on the scene, caught in state and locallaw enforcement jockeying, Ben negotiates an unpopular course through the usual minefield of his various loyalties to friends, family and lovers, of whom there are plenty....

Author Notes

Justin Scott is the author of The Shipkiller, Normandie Triangle, and the Ben Abbott Mystery series. He co-authored some of the books in the Isaac Bell Adventure series with Clive Cussler. He also writes modern sea thrillers under his pen name Paul Garrison.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

First published in the U.K. in 1997 and now extensively revised and updated, this assured third entry in Scott's Ben Abbott series (after HardScape and StoneDust) provides plenty of macho action. In quaint Newbury, Conn., real estate broker Abbott gets caught in a nasty land battle between two neighbors: cantankerous Vietnam vet Richard Butler, whose troubled, violent son, Dicky, has just been released from jail, and Harry King, a high-powered former diplomat and owner of Fox Trot estate, who wants Abbott to act as mediator in buying a sliver of Butler's property that juts into Fox Trot. King is creating a lake by damming a stream, but an explosion during a fancy lawn luncheon blows up the dam and turns the lake into a mud pond. In the sloppy remains, Abbott steps on parts of Dicky Butler's body. Since the local sheriff is a dolt, Abbott starts detecting. The book contains many more surprises, all well-turned. Some readers may wish the main character were more fleshed out and the topical references to Saddam Hussein and terrorism were better integrated into the plot, but these are quibbles in a thoroughly good read. (Sept. 8) FYI: Poisoned Pen is simultaneously reissuing the two earlier books in the series. A fourth Ben Abbott mystery, McMansion, is due next year. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved