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In a riveting debut thriller that has drawn comparisons to masters of the genre like Dennis Lehane and Michael Connelly, Brian Freeman weaves obsession, sex, and revenge into a story that grips the reader with vivid characters and shocking plot twists from the first page to the last.

Lieutenant Jonathan Stride is suffering from an ugly case of déjà vu. For the second time in a year, a beautiful teenage girl has disappeared off the streets of Duluth, Minnesota—gone without a trace, like a bitter gust off Lake Superior. The two victims couldn’t be more different.  First it was Kerry McGrath, bubbly, sweet sixteen.  And now Rachel Deese, strange, sexually charged, a wild child.  The media hounds Stride to catch a serial killer, and as the search carries him from the icy stillness of the northern woods to the erotic heat of Las Vegas, he must decide which facts are real and which are illusions.  And Stride finds his own life changed forever by the secrets he uncovers.  Secrets that stretch across time in a web of lies, death, and illicit desire.  Secrets that are chillingly…immoral.


743 pages, Hardcover

First published August 25, 2005

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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
2,798 (29%)
4 stars
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3 stars
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234 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 848 reviews
Profile Image for Barbara.
1,318 reviews4,842 followers
October 14, 2021

In this first book in the 'Jonathan Stride' series, the police detective is troubled by two cases of missing teenage girls. The mystery is chock-a-block with twists, so I'm going to be circumspect in my review to avoid spoilers.


Lieutenant Jonathan Stride of Duluth, Minnesota is having a rough time.

He's still mourning the death of his beloved wife Cindy, who succumbed to cancer, and a 16-year-old girl named Kerry McGrath has been missing for over a year. Stride's investigation failed to turn up any trace of Kerry and now ANOTHER teenage girl, Rachel Deese, has disappeared.

Stride and his detective partner, a diminutive Chinese woman named Maggie Bei, investigate Rachel's disappearance.

Jonathan and Maggie soon learn that Rachel - though beautiful and charismatic - wasn't a ray of sunshine. Rachel was hateful and cruel to her mother; nasty to her stepfather; and regularly made passes at guys, including other girls' boyfriends. The descriptions of Rachel's behavior by her classmates and family reveal a very disturbed young lady.

Before long evidence is found that lead the police to believe Rachel is dead, and - though no body has been found - a suspect is arrested. This results in a jury trial, and there's an epic battle between the prosecution and the defense. The criminal defense lawyer is especially capable, and elicits some surprising testimony.

Skip ahead three years, and the action moves to Las Vegas, Nevada. A body is found near the trailer of a smelly ne'er do well who lives in a decrepit trailer and sells meat jerky.

The Las Vegas case falls to Detective Serena Dial - a tall blonde beauty, and her partner Cordy - an easygoing Latino.

Serena and Cordy interview people all over Las Vegas to try to identify the deceased. Once a name is discovered, the dead person is connected to Duluth, Minnesota....and Serena flies north to consult with Detective Jonathan Stride.

Jonathan and Serena become de facto partners, and proceed to resolve all the mysteries in the story.

I have several problems with this book.

First, the courtroom scenes are overly long and detailed. I felt like I was sitting through an actual lengthy trial. (This may be related to the fact that the author is a lawyer. 😊)

Second, the climax of the story comes out of left field, essentially a deus ex machina. This is unfair to mystery lovers who like to follow the clues and attempt to unravel the puzzle themselves.

Third, the story is filled with scenes that I call 'male fantasy writing.' Jonathan Stride must be one hot number because three women in this story find him irresistible, which leads to steamy sex scenes. As if that's not enough, Serena's partner Cordy mesmerizes a gorgeous exotic dancer (a witness no less)…..so more sex scenes. To put it bluntly, this isn't believable.

All that said, the author put together a compelling mystery, and I'd probably try another book in the Jonathan Stride-Serena Dial series.

You can follow my reviews at https://reviewsbybarbsaffer.blogspot....
Profile Image for Mary Beth .
380 reviews1,614 followers
September 7, 2016
Wow! I just loved this. It had suspense all the way through it. What a page turner, and the ending, I was not expecting that. There was no question or doubt in my rating. I would of given it more stars if I could. It definitely isn't for the faint of the heart. If you can handle Karin Slaughter you can handle this one. I cannot wait to read the rest of this series.

This is the first book in the Jonathan Stride Series. This is a legal thriller mystery. Jonathan and Serena get together hunting for two missing teenage girls.
Profile Image for Matthew.
1,219 reviews8,739 followers
September 16, 2021
This was an interesting suspense/thriller. Over the course of the book it seemed like three or four different stories. At times it was a mystery, others it was a legal drama, but it was always keeping me on my toes. It had enough unique twists to keep it feeling fresh and creative overall. I will likely try more from this author in this series.
Profile Image for Tim.
2,110 reviews193 followers
January 8, 2023
Good, hard writing with this troubling novel of a serial raper and destroyer of lives. Much compassion for the victims and their families. 8 of 10 stars
Profile Image for Matt Schiariti.
Author 10 books151 followers
November 19, 2012
wow....this is about as compulsive a read as I've ever read.
At the core of the book we have Detective Stride. He's not perfect. He's not a macho super cop. He's got flaws and his own emotional baggage, but he's a good cop and he does the best that he can. In other words, he reads like a real person.

a year prior to the book's events, as they unfold, is the disappearance of a local girl named Kerry McGrath. Stride was lead detective on that case with his partner Maggie. That crime was never solved. As the book transpires, we have the disappearance of another girl, one Rachel Deese. She's the same age as Kerry was, went to the same school, lived in the same general area. Stride draws the case and throws himself headfirst into it, as if he's trying to make amends for never having solved the McGrath case.

As the pages fly by, we find Rachel to not be very likable. In fact I can guarantee that you will come to actively hate her as Freeman exposes more and more of her story. Nevertheless, I couldn't help but be intrigued by Rachel's story no matter how much I disliked her. We see how Rachel's disappearance and actions prior to that affected everyone she's ever come in contact with in a negative way from her mother, to her step father, to those she called 'friends'. In fact her influence is so far reaching that it's the driving force of the whole book. Rachel may be the victim of the case Stride and his partner are investigating but she's hardly innocent.

The story is intricate and compelling but never feels cumbersome or confused. It's tightly plotted, well paced and well written. There's a fantastic balance of character exposition as well as story revelation, something that oftentimes suffers in a 'whodunnit' type of book. Sometimes you'll get a great mystery with plastic characters you end up not caring about, or great characters with a cookie cutter type mystery. Immoral most definitely does NOT suffer from either of those things. Each character has their own voice and personality that makes them feel alive.

And there is a twist, and it's a BIG twist. It's the type of twist that makes your eyes open up wide like silver dollar pancakes! But it's not implausible or 'cheap' by any means. The trail of breadcrumbs was there the entire time which makes the book all the more satisfying. No smoke and mirrors, no trickery.

Brian Freeman is on my radar now. If you're a fan of a good mystery with great characters, dialogue, and keep-you-guessing moments, you need to check this one out.
Profile Image for Tim The Enchanter.
350 reviews175 followers
December 13, 2014
This was one of my Dominican Vacation reads. As I read so many books this week, I will be doing a more compact review so I can catch up.

A Killer Debut - 4 Stars

The novel is set in the cold and quiet streets of Duluth, Minnesota. These are not the mean streets of Detroit and major crime is not an everyday occurrence. A year after the mysterious disappearance of a teenaged girl, the Detective Jonathan Stride is faced with another disappearance that is eerily similar. The investigation reveals secrets buried deep within his city with an investigation that begins in "wholesome" streets of Duluth to the "immoral" streets of Las Vegas.

The Good

Brian Freeman wrote a very impressive debut novel. Immoral was nominated for several prestigious award for best debut and rightly so. The story is sharply written with a wonderfully developed main character.

In my opinion, it is the wonderfully delicious development of the VICTIM that sets this novel apart. (I apologize if that sounds creepy but it is an apt description :) The second of missing girls and main victim is Rachel Deese. She is beautiful, intelligent, sexually promiscuous and all around devious. She relishes is playing with emotion and hurting those close to her. I cannot recall another novel where the victim was less likeable. As descriptions suggest, we are left guessing as to whether our victim has kidnapped and murdered or if she is playing a game. The novel resolves the questions but not in the way you expect. I found myself rooting against the victim and hoping she dead. Maybe this makes me a bad person or a psychological need for revenge against those "mean girls" from my high school days. While the novel may have exposed a need for a psychiatric evaluation, it was a thrilling and satisfying read.

The Bad

Sex was theme that woven throughout the novel. While there were several sexual encounters that were not graphic, the theme is pervasive. I found that usage was often unnecessary as it didn't take long to the get the point.

The major problem with the novel is that is seemingly has two lives. There is a shift in time (three years or so into the future) that occurs about 2/3 of the way into the book. The author builds characters and relationships and summarily destroys some of the them over the course of break in time. For me, it was a frustrating misuse of characters and I felt that it detracted from the story. As new relationships were added in the last third, the story lost a sense of cohesion that had been so tightly maintained. While the break in time makes sense for the story, the break in continuity turned a potential masterpiece of a first novel into a very good debut.

Overall, the story was excellent, the writing was clean and the pacing was fast. Jonathan Stride is a compelling and interesting character. The ending of novel poses some interesting questions for the character and leaves him to make some difficult decisions. So major changes could be in store for book 2 and I look forward to continuing this series.
Profile Image for Alex.
145 reviews30 followers
May 6, 2021
Book 1 in Jonathan Stride series.

Rachel Deese, a 17 year old teenager has gone missing. For Lieutenant Stride this is definitely a bad situation because a year ago another teenage girl, Rachel's schoolmate Karey had gone missing too and was never heard of again.

The two girls are dissimilar in personality and Rachel has lots of family issues and she is a wild character. Everyone thinks she has run away, but Stride believes there is a serial killer out there, an immoral being who preys on young girls. Proving this theory, new clues are discovered and later remains! Is it Rachel or Karey or is it someone else's.

The mystery is good. The book is interesting, mildly disturbing and dark at times. However I'm giving it only 3 stars because of how the author tried to conveniently write off a character and also tried to make Stride look like a saint despite his mistakes. Also, I believe he is not good at conducting an investigation, as he forgets to check important information!

More information in the spoilers part!


Stride cheats on his wife - this makes Stride a dishonourable person. And we know that Andrea, his wife is not the lead in this series. So to write her off, she becomes a killer. This was totally avoidable. If it were someone else, there would have beem more credibility to the story. The plot twist makes the world really small. Secondly, to make up for Stride's affair, he forgives his wife and protects her from the law. She is a murderer and any honest policeman must abide by the law. I found this extremely irritating. How can he hide such an information. A crime is a crime.

3 stars.

Profile Image for Pamela.
1,332 reviews75 followers
February 19, 2012
It's very, very rare that I don't finish an audio book once I've started it. I did manage to finish this, but only just.

One of the more annoying things about it was the sex. It's not that there was sex in it that annoyed me, it was the way the writer described it. His sex scenes were very detailed--detailed in an almost clinical way that seemed to go on forever and ever.

There were other bodily functions that were described in far too much detail. BUT! The one thing he didn't explain is how he went about pulling the ending out of his butt.

I don't want to get into spoilers, but suffice it to say it was very unsatisfying. Oh, and something else that is a spoiler

Will I be reading/listening to any more of Mr. Freeman's work. Don't think so.
Profile Image for Sean Peters.
654 reviews122 followers
August 10, 2014
Another great read from Brian Freeman.

It is nice to read his first book, when you are introduces to three of his main characters, Jonathon Stride, Maggie and Serena.

Three great powerful and strong characters, as Brian let's you get to know their personalities throughout this powerful and gripping book.

One of the first books that has taken me through a serial killer/murderer, a court case to more even more story.

So many twists and turns, with for me no glues at all to how this was going to end, a complete surprise and shock.

This really was a breath taking page turner and to me has Brian Freeman as one of my favourite authors for pure gripping stories with so many twists.

A great author, and deserving of all the many awards it won.

Now reading my August Book Pal novel Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. Read so many different reviews.
Profile Image for Repix.
2,157 reviews394 followers
August 2, 2020
Suspense hasta la última página. Muy bueno.
Profile Image for Brian Freeman.
Author 56 books2,558 followers
January 13, 2009
This was my debut novel in 2004. It was selected as International Book of the Month and sold in 17 languages. The book won the Macavity Award and was a finalist for the Edgar, Dagger, Barry, and Anthony Awards for best first novel. Write to me at brian@bfreemanbooks.com or visit my web site (www.bfreemanbooks.com) or Facebook page.
Profile Image for Brenda.
725 reviews150 followers
August 9, 2014
Well told story, likeable characters, twists and turns. Very good book and I'll be reading more from this author!
1,818 reviews63 followers
November 29, 2018
An excellent debut novel. Duluth, Minnesota detective and his lady partner investigate a disappearance (thought to be murder) of a young hellion who hates her mom and screws her dad. Story ends in Las Vegas with the detective in the arms of another lady detective. Be forewarned, some of the sex scenes are pretty vivid. The first Freeman I have read, but I will probably read more.
Profile Image for LJ.
3,156 reviews313 followers
August 19, 2007
IMMORAL (Police Procedural-Duluth, MN-Cont) – Ex
Freeman, Brian – 1st book
St. Martin’s Minotaur, 2005- Hardcover
Lt. Jonathan Stride, is investigating the second case of a girl who has disappeared without a trace. The first girl was sweet, well-liked and never found. Now a second girl has disappeared, but she’s hard, promiscuous, has a very adversarial relationship with her mother and there’s something not right about the relationship with the step father. Are the cases related? Are the girls dead or runaways?
*** Boy, what an amazing debut. Freeman has constructed a story with strong, interesting characters. Their strengths and shortcomings are all very real. Freeman’s sense of place and dialogue are strong and involving. His plot is tight, gripping and has more twists than Lombard Street all the way to the very end. I was never able to project where the story was going next. This is a captivating book and I highly recommend it.
Profile Image for Karen.
576 reviews20 followers
April 30, 2018
Well, this story started off strong and I was hooked and totally loving it. I enjoyed the character Stride, who lost his wife to cancer, but was slowly thinking about dating again. His partner Maggie took awhile to grow on me. By the mid to end of the book I started liking her. She reminded me of Arnold Schwarzenegger's partner in Kindergarten Cop...but an Asian version.

When the book got to the "Three Years Later" chapter, I started disliking the turns it was taking. Stride, who seemed like a true blue solid cop with personal integrity, changed. I didn't like that at all. I also did not like how the events fit together at the end. It was hard to believe, especially when some of the people involved were random people who Stride met during his investigation. And don't get me started on Serena aka Barbed Wire. Apparently that wire was made out of whipped cream. My rating 2-1/2 stars. First half was a solid 4 star rating.
Profile Image for Rodrigo.
1,007 reviews384 followers
December 6, 2020
Es el tercer libro que leo de este autor y la verdad es que me han encantado todos sus libros. Genial tanto por la intriga como por el suspense así como por el buen final inesperado. Muy recomendable, es novela de suspense de calidad.
Profile Image for Jim.
Author 7 books2,023 followers
March 19, 2015
Not quite 3 stars, but it's the first of a series & has possibilities. The murder mystery & the overall way it played out was excellent. The characters were very well drawn & believable, quite often adding to the story. Ditto with the love interests & the realism of the police work involved. I can't say that I have any great feelings for the main character. I didn't dislike him, but he didn't excite me the way some do.

The execution was a little rough. The book was long, although there were a lot of times, points of view, & intricate details. I didn't care for ALL the details. The descriptions were often too painstaking. Exactly how a drunk pisses just doesn't add to the story for me. I really didn't care about the color, how it spattered, or arced. It was almost sadistic on the part of the author.

The ending was excellent, but certainly could have been handled better. I felt one reveal was a cheap shot & didn't care for the point of view of another.

I'll read another by this author or in this series, but I'm not going to break my neck finding it.
Profile Image for Donna.
3,879 reviews7 followers
July 24, 2015
I'm conflicted in writing this review for this book. I like Brian Freeman books. He can write a great story with lots of twists and turns. I feel that is true with this book. It was a great story.

It is with some of the details in the story that have me arching my eyebrows. The main "detail" was the characters. I love the MC. He is flawed but strong. Personality wise, he is similar to other MC's in this genre. I guess the women come across as a stretch because they are all vying for his attention. Sometimes the women squabble over him. Sometimes they share. It is weird. I don't buy it. And his love interest at the end when she shares her personal story with the MC, it didn't feel like that would actually happen. It felt forced because it just comes out of the blue.

So three stars.
Profile Image for CD {Boulder Blvd}.
963 reviews88 followers
April 22, 2018
There were some good moments in this book, and I wavered between liking it and being annoyed with it. But the ending seemed so implausible that it felt more like a means for the main character to move on with a new woman versus solving a crime. The plot got convoluted versus interesting and by the time I finished it was a solid two star read.
Profile Image for Fran.
Author 44 books122 followers
July 25, 2012
Immoral: Brian Freeman
As you hear the voice of the killer in the prologue an image begins to form within the reader’s mind as to who would do such an evil thing to a young girl. Several teens are missing and one dead as Rachel Deese disappears but finding her will not be easy. Rachel is not the most wonderful teen nor does she endear you to her as you get to know her better. Listening to her two friends when questioned by the police, you hearing their conflicting accounts of her character, where they saw her last and why and their opinion of what kind of person she is or was. Jonathan Stride is the detective in charge of this case and he tolerates nothing short of honesty from everyone. Along with his partner Maggie he hopes to uncover the hidden truths and lies that befell this victim. As you listen to Kerry and Sally her two friends tell their account of what happened that last night they were with Rachel, the daredevil feat she wanted to try on the bridge and her callous attitude for life and lack of feelings for others you begin to create a picture of a young girl who cannot seem to find herself and needs the attention of young men and everyone centered on her. Why? Her father died while on a ride at the fair and not realizing that something might have been wrong with him she took it out on her mother. With a stepfather who claimed to want to get close to her and a mother who can’t seem to come to grips with what might have happened the story becomes quite intriguing to say the least. From the author of The Bone House and Spilled Blood comes his first novel that started it all Immoral by Brian Freeman. The title fits the character as most would say Rachel Deese is definitely the perfect definition of the word. As Jonathan begins his investigation and speaks to some of the teachers at the school he finds himself rather stonewalled when dealing with Nancy Carver. Nancy is brash, bold and hardnosed when discussing Rachel. Told things in confidence she shares nothing of any consequence with him nor does she think anyone will ever find her. Rachel they feel does not want to be found and her relationship with others not that tight. Part-time counselor and mentor to some of the girls that were deeply affected by the disappearance of the first girl, she won’t budge, gives him her assessment of how he sizes her up but first the author allows the reader into one of his vivid dreams where he sees not only his wife that passed but both girls too.

But, the pieces start to fit together when Emily tries to commit suicide, Nancy Carver the same and Sally admits what happened to her in the barn. One man stands to bind all three women tighter and when the truth about him comes out just where and how Rachel fits in will make your blood curdle and bones chill. As the snow and ice pelt away and the cold weather becomes more intense the police are trying to find any evidence of where Rachel might be. As author Brian Freeman takes us back to where it all began with Emily, how she managed to get Graeme to marry her and her many deceptions.

Heather Hubble and her daughter Lissa were riding on a bumpy road when she stopped her car to take a look around and photograph some pictures. Highway 53 onto a nondescript dirt road about 10 miles northwest of Duluth where she recalls for the reader going as a teen. Many teens likes to meet guys there and the barn that loomed out was a constant reminder of her youth and its former beauty. But, leaving Lissa to explore in the brush might uncover something that would have helped to find Rachel or Kerry. Coming out of the brush or the woods she is holding a bracelet, which her mother insists she put back. Dirty and having been on the ground her mother does not alert herself to the fact that maybe she needed to look into where it was found rather than insisting she put it back. But, you know kids.

Jonathan is working overtime on this case when approached by the Deputy Sheriff his immediate boss. Warned that he has only two weeks left to find the kidnapper or killer and the fact that the previous case from the past year was still unsolved he knew he was on borrowed time to get this done. But, time off to relax at the casino would bring him another distraction in the way of Andrea a teacher at Duluth High School.

But, a tip comes in and alerts them to the area where Rachel was before she disappeared. A gold bracelet the key and a piece of where white turtleneck. When Stride meets with the Tenby he learns more about Emily and Graeme’s marriage. From the start it was unique, almost a marriage of convenience and after Emily loses a child emotionless. With Rachel hoping to create a wedge between her mother and stepfather things in that house were worse. But, when Emily sees the bracelet she turns more than white as the investigation is now in full swing, the area is being combed, witnesses reinterviewed and Rachel still missing.

When the evidence is compiled and the blood is found the man that they think killer Rachel is her stepfather Graeme Stoner and the attorney for the defense Archie Gale is ruthless, could care less if he is innocent or guilty but hopes to destroy and take down the smart prosecutor Daniel Erickson. But, the case has Stride worried that they missed something as the evidence is too pat, the blood stains, the pictures, implication that she and Graeme had an affair and the word of the counselor all seem to tie the case up in neat bow but too neat. Stride feels that they missed something but what and his relationship with Andrea although great he begins to wonder if it will work.

As the trial is about to begin and prosecution seems to have won on jury selection, the jury sequestered and the players in place what will happen might surprise you as the author creates twists you won’t see coming as everyone tries to find out what really happened to Rachel and if she orchestrated the events. As Daniel Erikson presents his opening arguments that are compelling, detailed and definitely leave no doubt that Graeme is guilty but we need to hear from the defense first before we make our final decision. Could someone be framing him? Did he really have an inappropriate picture of Rachel? Did he really have an affair with her? Where is her body? Did he dispose of it?

The trial heats up and Stride takes the stand followed by Emily. What the jury and the reader learns will shed light on what might have happened to Rachel but will definitely bring the curtain closer to Emily. But, when Emily decides to put an end to it all guess who winds up dead?

Three years later the case is closed and the victim thought to be gone but what happens next will astound you as we learn Rachel was alive at the time of the trial but someone dumped her body in the desert in Las Vegas. Enter Serena Dial of Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department who will now meet both Stride and Maggie. Their relationship heats up but the end result of what really happened to Rachel, who is guilty and more you won’t believe as the master of deceit, deception, intrigue, surprises and twists and turns author Brian Freeman definitely stumps the reader when he delivers his action packed and shocking ending to this explosive first novel. Wait until you find out who killed Rachel! Can’t wait to read the next in this series and find out where life takes Stride. Immoral: just who fits the definition. Read it and find out. Stride is hot, cool, smart and definitely determined to solve a case and relentless in his pursuit of the truth. Read Immoral.
Fran Lewis: reviewer

Profile Image for Anastasia.
1,338 reviews64 followers
May 6, 2020
Immoral by Brian Freeman is the first book in the Jonathan Stride series. Lieutenant Jonathan Stride and his partner Maggie Bei investigate the second disappearance of a beautiful teenage girl within a year. A terrific start to a police procedural series, with strong and capable characters. Plenty of twists and surprises in an interesting and well written mystery, although a bit let down with the ending.
Profile Image for Judy.
1,597 reviews26 followers
August 1, 2018
Quite a good mystery by Brian Freeman, a new author to me. He has several series going, and I liked this well enough to read more. If I can be picky, I don't like the name of the police Lieutenant--what kind of a name is Jonathan Stride? But he is a good detective and like-able protagonist. I was interested in the mystery and a bit of a twist at the end.
Profile Image for Ruth.
67 reviews25 followers
November 11, 2020
Duluth Minnesota, two teenage girls go missing a year apart. Kerry and Rachel have never been found alive or dead....yet. Are the two cases related? Who is responsible? Rachel's evil stepfather? Rachel's mother who Rachel has hated ever since Rachel's biological father died when Rachel was a young girl? Or someone else no one is expecting or looking for? It's Lieutenant Jonathan Stride's job to find out the answers to these questions. Which takes him from Duluth to Las Vegas. My one problem with the book is with the character Jonathan Stride and how he's dealing with the loss of his wife. During the course of the investigation Stride gets involved with a local school teacher. Both Stride and Andrea are on the rebound from other relationships. That does not a good match make. Second they make the decision to get married while both are drunk. Not a good idea. Third after the marriage they find out one wants children and one doesn't. Surprise. Shouldn't they have talked about kids before they got married? Fourth Stride is still married to Andrea and he's very close to having an affair with Serena a fellow cop from Las Vegas Stride meets during the course of the investigation. Will read the next book in the series. If Stride can put the loss of his wife behind him than maybe I will like Jonathan Stride and the series better. So would like to see where things go from here.
Profile Image for Kathy.
400 reviews4 followers
April 25, 2018
If you have the slightest feminist/humanist leanings - skip this one. There are an unfortunate number of authors of this crime/mystery genre that are compelled to describe all of their female characters as to how they measure up to the standard of “beauty’. Yep, that’s the case here. Groan. Tedious. All the sex falls into the classification I refer to as 'male fantasy'. Aside from the actual sex, the number of times the word ‘panties’ came up in the text was just downright silly. Does the discovery of a pair of panties ‘four sizes larger than the victim’ really do anything to advance the plot? The really unconscionable snippet, however, was the ‘tirade’ of the school volunteer counselor. Has this author never had a conversation with someone who is not heterosexual? Or does he live under a rock? Appalling.

There was enough of a "hook" to the beginning that I kept reading, but i wish i hadn't. I listened to the audio and really did not like the narrator. At one point I did skip a whole CD as the story was painfully tedious at the courtroom part, and i didn't miss a thing.

Other reviewers have mentioned their feelings about the ending. Totally absurd.
Profile Image for Donna.
1,814 reviews
May 28, 2017
In this first book of the series, Minnesota Detective Jonathan Stride investigates the disappearance of a teenage girl and he thinks her stepfather may have murdered her to cover up an affair. The stepfather swears the girl is alive and manipulating the case. Another teenaged girl went missing a year ago, although Stride hasn't uncovered evidence that the two are related.

Readers get to meet Stride's cop partner Maggie Bei and another great detective from Las Vegas, Serena Dial.

This past month, I read a review of this book by one of my Goodreads friends and I was reminded that I needed to revisit it since it's been over 10 years since I first read it. I remember how much I love this series. I highly recommend Brian Freeman as an author.
Profile Image for Thomas Stroemquist.
1,467 reviews121 followers
September 21, 2015
Read the first two parts ofthis series, but that's it for me. Competently written, but I feel that there's so much better offerings in the genre. My main gripe is with the characters being so unbelievably good, beautiful, sexy, cool and much much more. Key word being unbelievably, distracts me from the story.
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