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Jonathan Stride #7

Goodbye to the Dead

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Detective Jonathan Stride's first wife, Cindy, died of cancer eight years ago, but her ghost hangs over Stride's relationship with current lover, and fellow detective, Serena Dial. When Serena witnesses a brutal murder outside a Duluth bar, she stumbles onto a case with roots that go all the way back to the last year of Cindy Stride's life.
At the time, Cindy and Stride were on opposite sides of a domestic murder investigation. Gorgeous, brilliant Janine Snow--a surgeon transplanted to Duluth from Texas--was the prime suspect in the shooting death of her husband. Cindy believed her friend Janine was innocent, but Stride thought all the evidence pointed to the surgeon--even though the gun was never found. Despite Cindy's attempts to help Janine, the case led to a high-profile murder trial in which Janine was convicted and sent to prison.
During the current investigation, Serena finds a gun used in the murder of a woman connected to an organized crime syndicate--a gun that turns out to be the same weapon used to kill Janine Snow's husband. Two unrelated cases years apart suddenly have a mysterious connection. As Stride investigates the possibility that human traffickers are targeting women in the Duluth port, he begins to question whether he made a terrible mistake eight years ago by putting an innocent woman in prison. And whether he will ever be able to make peace with the memory of his beloved wife and give his heart to Serena.

416 pages, Hardcover

First published October 1, 2015

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About the author

Brian Freeman

56 books2,558 followers
Brian Freeman is a New York Times bestselling author of psychological thrillers, including the Jonathan Stride and Frost Easton series. His books have been sold in 46 countries and 22 languages. He is widely acclaimed for his "you are there" settings and his complex, engaging characters and twist-filled plots. Brian was also selected as the official author to continue Robert Ludlum's Jason Bourne series, and his novel THE BOURNE EVOLUTION was named one of the Best Mysteries and Thrillers of 2020 by Kirkus.

Brian's seventh novel SPILLED BLOOD won the award for Best Hardcover Novel in the annual Thriller Awards given out by the International Thriller Writers organization, and his fifth novel THE BURYING PLACE was a finalist for the same award. His novel THE DEEP, DEEP SNOW was a finalist for the Edgar Award for Best Paperback Original.

His debut thriller, IMMORAL, won the Macavity Award for Best First Novel and was a nominee for the Edgar, Dagger, Anthony, and Barry Awards. IMMORAL was named an International Book of the Month, a distinction shared with authors such as Harlan Coben and Lisa Unger.

All of Brian's books are also available in audiobook editions. His novels THE BONE HOUSE and SEASON OF FEAR were both finalists for Best Audiobook of the Year in Thriller/Suspense.

For more information on Brian's books, visit his web site at bfreemanbooks.com or find him on Facebook at facebook.com/bfreemanfans or Twitter and Instagram (@bfreemanbooks).

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5 stars
1,159 (42%)
4 stars
1,152 (42%)
3 stars
353 (13%)
2 stars
33 (1%)
1 star
10 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 285 reviews
Profile Image for Diane S ☔.
4,694 reviews14.1k followers
March 22, 2016
This case takes Stride back eight years, when his high school sweetheart who became his wife, is still alive. So though her death has played an important role in his novels this is the first time the reader really gets to hear from Cindy. That time they were on different sides since it was a friend of Cindy, a notable heart surgeon who was accused of murdering her husband. This present case, a woman shot in front of a bar leads back in a strange way to the previous crime.

Stride is an interesting character, a man with a big heart, who loves to rescue women in distress, but who finds it hard to commit to the new woman in his life. Interesting side characters and a dogged detective, a good mix of the personal with the procedural make this a series to savor. A big plus is that IMO, after this the seventh in series it has stayed as interesting and fresh as ever.
Profile Image for Brenda.
725 reviews150 followers
April 3, 2016
When I read Brian Freeman's first novel, Immoral, I rated it 5 stars. None of the following books rated that high for me until now. Goodbye to the Dead is a fitting tribute to the 10th anniversary of the Jonathan Stride series and gets an easy 5 stars from me.

I was already familiar with the main characters, and I loved getting to know Stride's late wife, Cindy. I found her so much more likable than Serena, who really didn't bother me as much in this book. Maggie was ... Maggie!

I also loved the structure of the book which was a brief chapter in the Now, a whole complete section Then, and the remainder of the book Now. It was easy to get immersed in the story not having to bounce back and forth in time. There's lots of action happening in this book, including a murder, the investigation, a trial, and more murders. The incident at the mall had me holding my breath.

I was happy to learn that the next Stride book is in the works. I really want to know where Freeman takes his characters from here.
Profile Image for Tim.
2,110 reviews193 followers
April 17, 2021
My second Brian Freeman is the first I truly enjoyed. Excellent story. 10 of 10 stars!
Profile Image for Jean.
717 reviews20 followers
June 4, 2016
For eight years, Detective Jonathan Stride has missed his wife Cindy. When she died of cancer, Stride lost faith in having a permanent relationship again. In his relationship with beautiful detective Serena Dial, there is always a sense that the ghost of Cindy looms largely between them. In Goodbye to the Dead, Brian Freeman’s seventh book in his Jonathan Stride series, we get a look back at a time when Jonny and Cindy agreed to disagree in a murder investigation in which Cindy believed her friend, an extremely attractive, wealthy cardiac surgeon, to be innocent of murdering her husband. Stride, who led the investigation, believed her to be guilty, despite the fact that the murder weapon was never found.

Freeman’s plot takes us between the case of Dr. Janine Snow’s purported involvement in the shooting death of her husband nine years earlier and a current investigation in which Serena finds a gun that police soon connect to an international crime organization. Stride and Maggie are suddenly struck with the possibility that their conclusions all those years ago had been wrong. In typical Brian Freeman fashion, we get twists and turns. He kept me guessing and second-guessing. His established characters are solid: Stride, the man whom his wife Cindy saw as “honorable, headstrong, brooding, and bold;” Maggie, his petite, foul-mouthed, junk food chowing Chinese partner who is still trying to recover from the sting of their ill-advised brief fling; Serena, newly returned to the nest after being estranged from Stride. We also see more of the troubled teen, Cat, whom Stride and Serena have taken into their home.

The suspects and secondary players are all well formed too. I found myself feeling sympathetic toward Janine, and I don’t exactly know why, because she seemed cold and calculating. I found myself hoping she was innocent; I suppose I wanted Cindy to be rewarded for her loyalty to her friend. Was she? There were some characters who surprised me, and others who turned out to be much as I expected. Some are complex; others are simply either decent or foul. All seemed like real people to me, except for one small thing that caught my eye. Cat and a few of her street peers often use language that is grammatically correct. Normally I would love that; I know Cat is a very intelligent seventeen-year-old girl, but I wasn’t buying her perfect English.

The investigations, the courtroom scenes, the heart-racing, riveting mall action, and yes, even the descriptions of magnificent, chilly Lake Superior meld with bittersweet memories of Cindy and the deep, everlasting impact she’s had upon Jonathan Stride. For me, the detective work took a backseat. I was pleased to see the scabs picked open, aired, and cleansed. Stride’s loving relationship with Cindy helped form him into the man he is, and finally, it seems, he can put his grief and fears of commitment to rest. He really does say, “Goodbye to the dead.” Freeman leaves us with signs of better things to come for Stride and Serena, for Serena and Maggie, and potentially, for young Cat. Thank you, Brian, for this wonderful tribute to Cindy. I don’t know if I can say that Goodbye to the Dead is my favorite of the Stride books, but it ranks near the top.

5 stars

Profile Image for Brian Freeman.
Author 56 books2,558 followers
March 31, 2016
I always like to give readers a little back-story with each new novel -- and GOODBYE TO THE DEAD is particularly important to me. I've been in the business for ten years now, and I envisioned GOODBYE TO THE DEAD as a ten-year anniversary novel for me (and for Jonathan Stride).

When we first met Stride all the way back in my first book IMMORAL, he was dealing with the loss of his wife, Cindy, to cancer. That loss has cast a long shadow over the entire series. Stride and his new partner, Serena, have lived with a ghost between them, and Serena in particular is haunted by the belief that Stride is still in love with his late wife and can't really let go. But the truth is more complicated than that.

I wanted to give readers a chance to "meet" Cindy for the first time in this new book. So GOODBYE TO THE DEAD has a unique structure among my novels. The first half of the book takes places in the past, when Cindy is alive, and Stride and Cindy are at odds over a murder investigation involving one of Cindy's closest friends. The second half takes places in the present, and the mystery ripples through all the years in between. It's a great way to get to know these characters.

Readers know that I like to write emotional thrillers, and GOODBYE TO THE DEAD is driven by the drama of Stride, Cindy, and Serena, as much as it is by all the twists and turns of the plot. It was an interesting creative challenge for me to bring Cindy to life in this book, because she's been something of a myth for me, just as she has been for readers. I wanted readers to understand who she really was -- the good and the bad -- and to understand what Stride and Cindy's relationship was really like.

I'm always thrilled when reviewers embrace a book, and that's been particularly true of GOODBYE TO THE DEAD. But what means the most to me are the words of readers who write to me. I know that the more books I write -- and this is my twelfth novel! -- the more readers will have their personal favorites, because certain stories and characters resonate with their personal experiences. But as a writer, I want a reader to pick up each new book and say, "This is the best one yet." I can't tell you how many e-mails I've received this month from readers saying exactly that: GOODBYE TO THE DEAD is their favorite among all my books.

So for those of you who haven't experienced it yet -- happy reading! And I hope you will all enjoy it and tell your reader friends about my books.

If you want to learn more, here's the page for GOODBYE TO THE DEAD on my web site:
Profile Image for L.A. Starks.
Author 11 books650 followers
August 20, 2017
This is the seventh in the Stride series and I read this without reading the earlier books, so it stands alone well.

I find the Duluth setting engaging, a welcome change that allows for a business/shipping thread to credibly run through the mystery.

The juxtaposition of subplots and time periods was somewhat jarring: the old murder with the new mass killer and new sex slave smuggling group. I appreciate that the author was experimenting but I would have preferred a linear chronology.

Goodbye to the Dead is an entertaining mystery. Recommended.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Amos.
634 reviews73 followers
June 16, 2021
Another enjoyable entree in the Jonathan Stride series with mysteries from our protagonist's past colliding with a troubling murder case smack dab in the present. Blood will spill and feelings will mos def be hurt!!
A Solid 3 1/2 Stars.
Profile Image for Mort.
638 reviews1,294 followers
November 12, 2017

If you like psychological thrillers and you don’t know this author, you are in for a treat. The Jonathan Stride series is way beyond good. These books are as good as Michael Connelly’s stories of Harry Bosch and they have the same feel (for me, personally) as the Alex Delaware series by Jonathan Kellerman.

This book tells two stories.
One takes place nine years before. When Stride’s first wife, Cindy, was still alive, one of her close friends, Dr. Janine Snow, were tried and convicted of her third husband’s murder, even though they never found the murder weapon.
The story in the present starts with a murder. Stride, widower of eight years, is in a relationship with fellow detective Serena Dial, and they have a pregnant 17 year old living with them, Cat. Serena witnesses the murder and manages to recover the gun, even though the murderer escapes. Forensics confirms that it was the gun used in the murder of Dr. Snow’s husband nine years earlier, which causes doubt about her guilt.
If this sounds like a lot of information to process, it is. But Freeman is a good enough writer to take all this different puzzle pieces and weave them into a masterpiece, without losing the reader.
I have absolutely no criticism for this story (that I can justify), but I will recommend that the series be read in order, since references are made to previous books – he won’t lose you in this story, but it might ruin an earlier novel if you know too much about it.

Loved it, loved it, loved it!
Profile Image for Zai.
761 reviews98 followers
September 5, 2020
Otro gran caso de Jonathan Stride, este es ya el 7º libro de la serie y con cada libro me gusta más como escribe Brian Freeman.

Este libro comienza con el asesinato de una joven a las afueras de un bar, algo que presencia Serena Dial y que va a tener algún tipo de relación con un caso del pasado porque es lo que nos narran a continuación. Un caso de hace 9 años que investigó Stride y en el cual su mujer Cindy fue una testigo importante del caso.

Este caso afectará bastante a Stride por los recuerdos de su mujer, ya que ese fue el año en que descubrieron la enfermedad que tenía.

Me ha encantado la forma en que Freeman mezcla pasado y presente y también me ha gustado mucho la parte del juicio en la narración del caso del pasado.

P. D.: Os recomiendo esta serie de Brian Freeman si aún no la habéis leido, no tiene desperdicio.
Profile Image for Linda Strong.
3,882 reviews1,630 followers
March 31, 2016
I read this one when it came out ... and this was before I was really active here in Goodreads. This has been one of the best series ..ever!

5 STARS for the series! 5 STARS for the author!
Profile Image for Maureen DeLuca.
1,025 reviews32 followers
April 18, 2018
Jonathan Stride series first came out in 2005 with Immoral- although I read it way after 2005 - it was, by far one of the best books I've read- and fell in love with this series, giving Immoral a 5 star read- This book came out 10 years after- and again, this is a 5 star read. If you never picked up this series- it is well worth it- starting from book number 1. Were all the books as good? Nope. But having said that- I still kept on reading. This book brings us back to Jonathan's first wife... THEN and this book also brings us to the current time.. along with Maggie and Serena. I will say the only disappointment for me in these books is Serena.... I just don't see "the fit" and I guess I'm going to have to 'get over it' ... for it appears Serena will be around for a while....

I can only hope that Brian Freeman has more Jonathan Stride stories to tell - it is a great police procedural series!
Profile Image for Evelyn.
1,647 reviews
March 12, 2016
Can't believe it- I just won a copy of this new book from Goodreads!

In the seventh book of the Jonathan Stride series, a young woman from Colorado with a suitcase is shot and killed outside a seedy Duluth bar and Lt. Jonathan Stride's live-in lover Sgt. Serena Dial chases the gunman , but he gets away.

Meanwhile we flash back to eight years earlier when Stride's wife Cindy was still alive and her best friend heart surgeon Dr. Janine Snow is on trial for murdering her husband. The reason these two seemingly unrelated events connect leaves Stride and Dial scrambling for answers.

The complex plotting of this book is spot on and Freeman handles the different times smoothly. I also really like the way Freeman incorporates the extremes of the Duluth/Lake Superior area climate into all his Stride books. I read a lot of police procedural/thrillers and I have to say I didn't even come close to guessing the ending or how everything fit together. Well-done!!!!

Again, thank you to Goodreads and Quercus for an advanced reader's copy.
171 reviews30 followers
January 17, 2017
Lots of twists and turns in this outstanding police mystery. To suit my tastes, I'd have left at least one twist out. When it comes to books that are toying with a happy resolution of a love affair for two bittersweet lovers, this book delivers almost no satisfaction and no answers.

I'll repeat this is a remarkably well-written book, complex and plotted well. It is not in any sense an emotionally satisfying one if you dislike moral dilemmas and like a bit of romance in your love affairs.
Profile Image for Maureen.
174 reviews95 followers
June 25, 2016
Slow reading, as we have a new puppy who takes up a lot of time! I did enjoy this book, the first one I've read by Brian Freeman. Looking forward to more of the Jonathan Stride series.
Profile Image for Pat.
2,310 reviews395 followers
March 22, 2018
4.5 stars. This was one of the best books in the series, riveting and suspenseful.

When Serena witnesses a murder outside a bar one night it sparks a whole string of consequences and opens the door on a past that not everyone wants to revisit. The story soon reverts to the past (eight years ago), to the time when Stride's wife, Cindy, was still alive. One of her good friends, Dr Janine Snow, a brilliant heart surgeon is convicted of murdering her husband. The murder weapon was never found. It was interesting to finally 'meet' Cindy because, although she has been dead for the whole of the series, she still looms large in Stride's consciousness and has been a bit of a brake on his relationship with Serena.

Back to the present and it turns out that the gun used in the killing witnessed by Serena is none other than that used to kill Dr Snow's husband. What does this mean? Ah the convolutions as we work our way slowly towards the truth. Brilliantly done. I think this series is massively underrated, I've enjoyed every book so far.
Profile Image for Darcy.
12.2k reviews419 followers
March 12, 2016
For this whole series, while dead, Cindy has a big impact on things. But with this book we got to see more of Cindy as half the book was set in the past while Cindy was alive. While I didn't care for this part of the story I did think it was interesting that Saint Cindy didn't come off that way. In fact I found myself not really liking her and found her selfish in a way. Certainly she was stupid in not taking care of herself and confronting her health issues instead of playing ostrich and ignoring them.

I'm slightly interested to see what Serena will find out when she gets to where John is. After what happened in this book he will either be ready to finally bury Cindy or he will never give her up. I know which way I want him to decided, we'll have to wait for the next book to find out for sure.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
580 reviews2 followers
October 26, 2016
I'd never read a Brian Freeman book before, but after reading "Goodbye to the Dead", I'm a fan. This is a craftily written book with a very complex plot with totally unexpected twists and turns. Just when you think you have it figured out, Freeman throws in another curve. It was suspenseful & surprising to the very last pages. Wish I'd discovered him sooner!
Profile Image for G.J. Minett.
Author 4 books90 followers
September 22, 2018
I've followed the Jonathan Stride series since it began and was worried when Brian Freeman started the new Cab Bolton series, as I found Season of Fear vastly inferior. Any fears that he might be losing inspiration however were washed away with this latest offering as Stride confronts a few ghosts from the past and wrestles with his latest case, involving a local surgeon accused of murdering her husband. The pace in this novel is amazing and I found myself putting the planning for my own book to one side, so desperate was I to stay in this absorbing storyline. Freeman really is a master plotter - nothing is introduced without good reason and every little ingredient is there but blink and you'll miss it! I think he is seriously under-appreciated and deserves to reach a much wider audience. Definite 5 star material, this.
July 15, 2017
I love this author, I love this author, I love this author. He is so good! This book starts with Serena witnessing a man shoot a young woman outside of a bar. Then it goes back about 8 years to when Stride's wife, Cindy, was still alive. The husband of a close friend of hers is shot and killed, and the friend is the primary suspect. Stride has the difficult task of working the clues while his wife suffers to figure out if her friend is really a murderer or not. This is also the time that Cindy finds she is ill. It's interesting to see Stride and Cindy's relationship and the things they went through. The second part of the book goes back to the present where another crime has answers to the one that happened in the past. I loved the way so many things intertwined together. This is a book that will keep you guessing all the way to the very end. This author is a fantastic writer and can weave you down a very crooked path that keeps you very engaged. I can't put these books down.
Profile Image for John Bastin.
318 reviews2 followers
September 30, 2016
I just met Jonathan Stride, a chance meeting as a result of picking up a book at the library when I had nothing to read. I'll definitely go back and look at some more of these stories. This one was top shelf.

A brilliant surgeon charged with the murder of her husband. Jonathan Stride dealing with the loss of his wife to cancer. A teenage girl who has a difficult time getting her life back on the right path. This story has all of that and more, as it twists and turns to a conclusion.

A gripping can't–put-it-down read.
Profile Image for Darlene.
572 reviews6 followers
January 14, 2018
Another great Jonathon Stride book. I really enjoyed this book. I liked how it went back in time and we got to know Cindy, Strides first wife. At that time Cindy was good friends with a very accomplished heart surgeon, Janine. Janine goes on trial for killing her husband, Cindy thinks her friend is innocent and Stride is convinced she's guilty. There are a couple twists in here that I didn't see coming at all. Great build up in the suspense in this novel.
Kudos, Mr Freeman, for an excellent addition to the series.
Profile Image for Jeanne.
799 reviews4 followers
October 1, 2016
What a well-thought out story line! First read by this author and thoroughly enjoyed it! What seems to be an insignificant tidbit near the beginning weaves a thread through a story that covers over 10 years! Being from Minnesota, I appreciated the fact that the narrator of the audio CD pronounced all the city names correctly (some don't!) but could have done without the "Fargo-esque" accent because Minnesotan's really don't talk like that (ya' know). This story had it all -- 7 out of 10.
742 reviews19 followers
March 27, 2017
This is one of the best of the Jonathan Stride series with almost half the book taking place in the past when JS' wife Cindy was still alive. This does not in any way detract from the story (no jumping back and forth thankfully!) which is very well done. Of course, we have Serena and Maggie along to keep things tense in the Present part of the book and now Cat, the newest addition to the family. All in all, a well done addition to the series.
Profile Image for Johnnie Gee.
548 reviews1 follower
April 8, 2017
A very good book, while I thought I had figured out the ending I did get a surprise. Surprises are almost always nice to get in a book. The characters are well developed and the story doesn't focus on one person, there are several in play. Timelines go from the past to the present and are neatly tied together in a very believable way.

If we could give half stars this would get 4 1/2.
Profile Image for Wesley.
245 reviews14 followers
September 17, 2016
4 stars. The story takes place in two parts, the past and the present. Good plot, the suspense level is high and makes for a fun read. Some rather nasty characters and event that will keep you on your toes and guessing throughout. Finally a book that was good from the beginning all the way to the end.
Profile Image for Ken Heard.
590 reviews10 followers
September 30, 2019
Brian Freeman keeps getting better and better with his Jonathan Stride series. In Goodbye, he offers a ton of plotlines that should keep any reader interested. He has a murder mystery, a trial, forensics, twists and turns in the process of solving the crime, characters that appear in earlier books, the ever-farting Max Guppo, drama and the continuing story of Cat, the girl Stride and Serena saved in an earlier book.

Some other writers seem to burn out after writing several novels with the same character. John Sandford, another Minnesota writer, seems to fit that. While his Lucas Davenport books are fun, they are reaching that burnout stage. Each of Freeman's novels are really engaging and fresh and entertaining.

It helps if you've read his earlier books in the order they were written to fully enjoy the growth of the characters. Stride and Serena's relationship is a plot of its own and it is fully understood if you read the series in chronological order. Also, characters from previous novels pop up and there are references to their earlier roles. However, you don't have to read them in order to get into any of his books. Freeman does explain some back stories.

This really is a great series that has it all. In other novels, the ending of a trial, the verdict rendered, is the climax of it all. In Goodbye, the trial is over at the halfway point of the book, but it's only a step to a far better tale.

Readers looking for an adventurous series should really get into Freeman's Stride novels.

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