Saturday, March 21, 2009

In the Dark-Brian Freeman

In the Dark
Brian Freeman
Minotaur, Mar 31 2009, $24.95
ISBN: 9780312363291

Three decades ago in Duluth, then high school students Jonathan Stride and Cindy Starr fell in love. On the Fourth of July holiday, they made love for the first time. However, that joyous occasion is marked by grief and heartache instead of a fond memory of the beginning of their strong relationship; that same night someone brutally murdered Cindy’s older sister Laura. The case was never solved with the cops concluding a drifter killed Laura.

In the present, the case remains unresolved, but Laura’s best friend Tish Verdure has come home to write a true crime exposé book about the homicide. Tish knows the inner secrets of those who were close to the victim including Cindy, the late wife of police lieutenant Jonathan; who died five years ago from cancer so cannot defend herself from accusations to her stunned husband who was kept IN THE DARK about some of her secrets. Adding to his mental upheaval is Tish has the dirt on his current girlfriend former Las Vegas cop private investigator Serena Dial. Though reeling with revelations, Stride only decides to investigate the cold case murder of his sister-in-law when a witness to the Laura murder attempts suicide.

This excellent police procedural is made brisk and refreshing by the intriguing concept that no matter how much you think you know your loved ones; there remain segments in which you remain IN THE DARK. Thus besides a delightful investigation, the underlying philosophical tone enhances the characterizations especially Jonathan who cannot do his normal strong stride through whatever garbage he must investigate. Brian Freeman will leave his audience pondering what they do not know about their spouse.

Harriet Klausner