Poisoned Pen Press Sept 2003, 24.95, 336 pp.
When Henry King, former chief of the national security council, moves to Newbury, Connecticut, he buys the Zarega homestead and turns it into a country estate, Fox Trot. Mr. King's land is right where he plan to build a lake. King's next door neighbor, dairy farmer Ron Butler, leases a piece of land that the ex-statesman wants to buy but the two men can't come to any agreement.
King asks the town real estate agent Ben Abbot to try and mediate the dispute but Mr. Butler is a stubborn man who just wants to be left in peace on land his family owned for three generations. When Henry throws a house party, an explosion occurs and the man-made lake is destroyed. Killed in the blast is Mr. Butler's son and the state police believe that the former, an expert in setting explosives, set the bomb. They arrest him and Ben is hired to help his lawyer find some evidence to clear his client because if Mr. Butler isn't released from jail soon, he is going to go insane.
After writing HARDSCAPE AND STONEDUST Justin Scott took a hiatus from the Ben Abbott mysteries until now. Ben Abbot returns in FROSTLINE and this novel is even better than the first two books in the series. This is not a pretty novel and for the most part the characters aren't likable but it is a very interesting and colorful amateur sleuth tale starring a hero who did time and turned his life around. Using misdirection and red herrings M0r. Scott keeps the reader guessing about the identity of the bomber until he chooses to reveal it.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner