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Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page 41.
- Review Date: 2007-11-05
- Reviewer: Staff
In Freeman's chilling, atmospheric latest, Jonathan Stride returns from a Las Vegas stint (in Stripped) to head the major crimes detective bureau of his former Duluth, Minn., department. When the husband of Maggie Bei, Stride's former detective partner, is murdered, Maggie becomes the prime suspect, and Stride determines to clear her. Meanwhile, Dan Erickson, an ambitious Duluth county attorney, hires Stride's lover, PI Serena Dial (who returned with Stride from Vegas), to pay off a blackmailer. Freeman slowly weaves the cases together into a labyrinthine search for a serial killer. Following the anonymous predator as well as the cops, the reader is teased by the fiend's identity and hidden motives. The stalwart, intuitive Stride digs into the case's disparate elements, including the city's sexual underworld, and a terrified Serena runs into serious trouble. A strong narrative crammed with twists and studded with sex and violence; a mysterious, even mystical, sense of place; and a well-crafted set of characters and relationships make this one of Freeman's stronger crime thrillers. (Feb.)
Two years ago, I reviewed Brian Freeman's first novel, Immoral, calling it "a slick and savvy offering and the best debut mystery in quite some time." The book went on to win the Macavity Award. This month, Freeman is back with the third in his series featuring Duluth cop Jonathan Stride, his live-in, ex-cop girlfriend Serena Dial, and his Asian-American partner Maggie Bei: Stalked. All three characters are fleshed out considerably in this latest outing, especially Maggie, whose lurid after-hours life is about to come under scrutiny in ways the average person cannot begin to anticipate. "Dead of winter" takes on a new meaning as Maggie awakens to discover a) that her gun is missing from the nightstand, and b) that it has been used to plant a bullet squarely into the forehead of her husband (with whom, it must be said, she has not been getting along of late). Maggie's cop instincts take over quickly; she has seen more than her share of dead bodies in her years as a homicide detective. She phones Stride immediately, and both know it goes without saying that Maggie will be considered the prime suspect. But Maggie knows things Stride cannot even guess at, and their convoluted relationship is about to get exponentially more complicated. A couple of clever subplots ratchet up the tension, and the final conflict on the frozen waters of a Minnesota lake is nothing short of inspireda perfect read for a freezing February night!