Publication Order of Jonathan Stride Books
|Immoral||(2005)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Stripped||(2006)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Stalked||(2007)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|The Watcher||(2008)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|The Burying Place||(2009)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Spitting Devil||(2012)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|The Cold Nowhere||(2013)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Turn to Stone||(2014)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
Publication Order of Tess Drake Books
Publication Order of Cab Bolton Books
Publication Order of Standalone Novels
Brian Freeman is a psychological suspense author from Chicago, Illiniois. Born on March 28, 1963, Brian graduated Carleton College with distinction in 1984. Before settling down to writing, Brian has worked for an international law firm as a marketing and public relations director. He himself describes his stories as being “About the hidden intimate motives that draw people across some terrible lines.”
Having had an obsession with crime fiction since an early age, he made his literary debut in 2005 with Immoral, garnering much praise from critics and readers alike. A condensed version of how Brian Freeman came to writing involves a grandmother obsessed with crime fiction and an eight-grade teacher with an eye for talent, allowing him to concentrate on writing, exempting him from doing regular tasks with the rest of the class.
Aside from the Jonathan Stride series started with the debut novel, Brian Freeman has written short stories and two isolated full-length novels. He has also published fiction in various literary journals. He has lived in the Bay Area of California for several years, but now resides in Minnesota with his wife Marcia. Pointedly, a great deal of his novels take place in real-world locations, including various locations in his home state of Minnesota.
Immoral: A Debut to Remember
Brian Freeman is best known for the Jonathan Stride series which begun with the aforementioned Immoral. The series focuses on a police lieutenant Jonathan Stride, a world-weary detective who has to solve a mystery of a precocious and, in fact, immoral teenage girl gone missing in Duluth, Minnesota — all the while fighting his own past and present demons.
From the very outset nothing seems clear and even the relentless interrogator that is Jonathan Stride becomes bewildered about the puzzling character of Rachel – arguably the most interesting, conflict-stricken damsel Brian Freeman has ever produced – that he has built up from the constantly conflicting accounts of the witnesses. The reader can’t help but notice that everyone is guilty in this world: the parents, the friends, and even the victim herself. And none really help Jonathan move towards the truth.
Just when the knot of the mystery of Rachel’s fate seems to be about to burst (which is represented in a courtroom drama of gigantic proportions), Jonathan Stride is taken to Las Vegas where the ever-chilling book, with its writing amplified by Freeman’s astute character building and mind-blowing twists, becomes even darker, finally exploding into a twist that scales the heights of the mind games seen in such writing.
Writing and Style
The book is full of colorful characters and, what isn’t always pointed out when talking about Freeman, the locations play a great role in his novels. This could be called a topos, but it’s impeccably executed in Immoral: A barn near a dirt road not far from Duluth serves not only as a secret meeting place but is of great meaning to the plot, showcasing the youth and aspirations of some minor characters and serving as a ground for crucial pieces of evidence. Freeman doesn’t aspire only for psychological depth, but can also tap into a well of excruciatingly vivid descriptions of places and people that shape the world of his great debut novel. It should be noted, however, that while Freeman is a great master of complex plots, his writing isn’t exceedingly literary: Publishers Weekly cites a horrid line that shows the pitfalls of plot-driven writing: “He saw urgency written in her face” is as bland as it is empty.
The Jonathan Stride series have been most successful, with Immoral collecting numerous awards for the best literary debut, including a Debut of the Year from the South Florida Sun Sentinel. It has been called “A first-class debut”, and praised by the Guardian as “An assured and affecting novel, with a final jaw-dropping revelation”. The character of Jonathan Stride was obviously too worthy to sack, spawning five more books and a single 15,000 word story (or novella). The second book in a series seems to be the measure of things to come for most authors, so taking a look at the follow-up titled Stripped seems to be quite appropriate.
An Imaginative Follow-up: Stripped to the Bone
In Stripped the action is once again takes the reader to Las Vegas where Jonathan Stride, together with his partner Serena Dial set to work on two seemingly unrelated cases – a hit-and-run of a young boy and a celebrity murdered while enjoying the services of an escort. The vivid cast of characters are well-developed, and the descriptions of a 40-year old murder takes the reader to the old days of Las Vegas, allowing readers to rejoice in perhaps the most colorful part of the book. Freeman’s writing is at its best here: terse descriptions mix with crisp dialogue and characters that are not only believable but stick in your head long after you’ve put the page-turner down.
The book puts Jonathan and Serena not only on a race for stopping a relentless serial killer, but at odds with their own feelings for each other, developed in a fashion that makes their heartfelt relationship contrast with the greedy, competitive and lustful background of the Sin City. As they race against time to solve a murder before deadlines set by their superiors and the killer about to strike again, Jonathan and Serena experience a full set of emotions that the reader can relate to. Freeman is as careful as in Immoral not to strip his characters of their lifelike qualities and leads his readers diligently, weighing emotions like love, hate, desperation and the likes out like at a fruit market. He doesn’t give too much of anything, but instead tantalizes the reader with portions of unbelievable intensity until the very end that sports a characteristic twist not less amazing like that of Immoral.
While the novel wasn’t as warmly received as his debut was, it’s still a gem and showcases Freeman’s talent in full. Among other nominations, Stripped was a finalist for the Minnesota Book Award. While other reviewers praise Stripped for its cleverly crafted narrative, The Bookseller simply marks Freeman as “A major new talent”. Clearly, when we are reading Brian Freeman, we are dealing with a world-class writer who’s still got more to come. His sixth Jonathan Stride novel is set to be released in April 2014.