by Brian Freeman
Fourteen months have passed since the first Duluth teen disappeared. Now Rachel the second girl, has gone missing. Lieutenant Jonathan Stride and partner Maggie Bei are back on the case. This time, they have a plethora of suspects including an enamored teenage boy, his jealous girlfriend, and worst of all, Rachel’s mother and stepfather. Evidence points to murder but what really happened? Is Rachel alive or dead? Dealing with a new romance, Stride seeks to uncover the truth.
This is a more complicated plot than what I’ve given. There is so much history that would be unfair to reveal. The turbulent relationships never quite bubble away, but always seem to come back and haunt the characters. Freeman does a nice job of showing the emotional strife of several people. By doing this, he takes an average plot and makes it worth reading.
Jonathan Stride: 41, a little over six feet tall, Lieutenant in the Duluth Detective Bureau, smoker, dark brown eyes, weathered face, gray streaked black hair, drives a Ford Bronco, wears cowboy boots, wears the same clothes year after year, has a bullet scar on his right arm, lost his wife to cancer a year ago, dad was a seaman and died when Jon was 14
Jay ‘Bird’ Finch: black, bald, deep voice, host of a ‘shock’ television show in Minneapolis, 6’7”, former basketball player
Maggie Bei: senior sergeant in the Duluth Detective Bureau, 5′ tall, bowl cut black hair, pretty, almond shaped eyes, Chinese immigrant, attended U. of Minnesota, she and Stride are very close and share deep feelings but are not lovers
Kyle ‘K-2’ Kinnick: five foot tall, Deputy Chief and Stride’s boss, plays handball, cabbage leaf like ears, reedy voice, gray hair
Andrea Jantzik: short layered blonde hair, smoker, athletic build, chemistry eacher, blue eyes, pert face, divorced
Nancy Carver: part time counselor at the high school, tenured professor at U. of Minnesota, dislikes men, tiny but sturdily built, near 40, wears glasses, berry red hair, lesbian, brown eyes, has a Master’s and a Ph.D in Psychology
Archibald Gale: attorney, big man, booming voice, has a goatee, wears glasses
I think one of the interesting characters is the mother of the girl who disappeared at the beginning. She is Emily Stoner, on her second marriage and plagued by the horrible relationship with her daughter throughout the years since her first husband died. Rachel is presented as a spiteful, hateful child who blamed her mother for her dad’s death. Flashbacks upon incidents are shown in italics and it gives a different perspective than the normal fretting mother.
Otherwise, there are good distinctive characters and the story delves into the lives of the main ones but just enough that I wasn’t bored with so much information.
Distinctive voices. I liked Maggie’s sarcasm. You hear the cop and the attorney and the teens. No conversation goes to waste. At times when I thought the scene was unimportant, somebody would say something to bring it back to the main case.
Book separated by Parts. Some profanity but not an abundant amount. A couple of sex scenes. Solid writing. Freeman knows how to write a story. He keeps everybody and everything in line and doesn’t deviate too much from the main mystery. However, there is a lot of character development throughout. Given the chance, I definitely would buy more of this author’s work.