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Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press 
Release Date:  2003
ISBN: 1-59058-062-1 
Format Reviewed: Hardcover 
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Genre:  Mystery-Amateur Sleuth
Reviewed: 2003
Reviewer: Lawrence Greenberg 
Reviewer Notes:  

A Ben Abbott Mystery
By Justin Scott

     Justin Scott is a highly intelligent, polished writer, capable of describing behavior of the crustiest upper crust or the lowliest lowlife. In Frostline, this spectrum of characters is decidedly present. Henry King, a former U.S. diplomat, has a luxurious New England expanse of land that borders on that of Richard Butler, a former Viet Nam vet, now a dairy farmer, embittered by bad fortune. Ironically, King, a past protégé of Henry Kissinger, was accused by many of fomenting, even starting, the war.

     King is upset by the odd borders of Butler's land that definitely encroaches on his own. And Butler does not take kindly to King's constant surveillance, as well as his communications entreating and almost threatening Butler to leave. Enter Ben Abbott, real estate agent and amateur sleuth, asked by King to intercede and make peace with Butler. What ensues is an intriguing mystery that shuttles back and forth between King and his elite circle of friends, and Butler and those he knows, including his ex-con son, Dicky, who's found mysteriously dead.

     The facility with which the author moves between the world of the privileged and that of the hardscrabble folk who live day to day is impressive, and does much to keep the flow of events lively and suspenseful. Amateur sleuth Abbott has his hands full, what with both King and Butler themselves, an attractive female cop, the equally attractive woman who is King's lover, and an assortment of working class, living on the edge characters including a biker; two dumb, violent cousins; and Dicky's girlfriend. Scott is an experienced writer and it shows here; his writing is sharp, his plotting is well thought out, and his characters are credible people with real emotions. A nice piece of work.