Select one of the keywords
Immoral    by Brian Freeman order for
by Brian Freeman
Order:  USA  Can
Minotaur, 2005 (2005)

Read an Excerpt

* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Brian Freeman makes an outstanding debut in Immoral, which is part police procedural, part thriller. Lieutenant Jonathan Stride is taking heat (especially from shock-TV talk show host Jay 'Bird' Finch) for police failure to solve the disappearance of a pretty, bubbly teen (Kerry McGrath) fourteen months earlier. Now seventeen-year-old Rachel Deese has disappeared. She lived only a few blocks from Kerry and attended the same school. Is a serial killer stalking Duluth, Minnesota?

Unlike Kerry, Rachel was a disturbed young woman, who played power games with her mother and peers (her father died when she was a child). But she's gone missing, leaving her new car, which she christened 'The Blood Bug', in the family driveway. Her mother Emily is distraught, though her stepfather, Graeme Stoner, takes it calmly. In addition to his inability to solve the McGrath case, Stride is haunted by the death of his beloved wife Cindy. He's partnered by smart, energetic Maggie Bei, who made a 'play for his affections' after his wife's death, but has remained a close friend.

After a child turns up a clue, circumstantial evidence points to a likely perp, an arrest is made and a trial follows. While this goes on, Stride pursues a relationship with an attractive high school teacher, whose husband divorced her. The court case is close, involving colorful lawyers well matched in skill. Its ending shocks both participants and reader. Then Freeman fast forwards three years to another killing in Las Vegas, with tendrils that tie back to Stride's case. Serena Dial, the statuesque detective who catches this one, takes her investigation back to Duluth, shooting surprise fireworks in all directions.

Immoral is a cleverly plotted thriller that persistently sends the reader down trails of false assumptions, each one leading to a jigsaw puzzle piece of truth. These eventually fit together in an unexpected picture of what really happened. I look forward very much to more from Brian Freeman.

Note: Opinions expressed in reviews and articles on this site are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of BookLoons.

Find more Mystery books on our Shelves or in our book Reviews