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In the Dark

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Two young lovers. A sultry summer night. One brutal, cold-blooded murder.  In this stunning, atmospheric thriller, Brian Freeman takes you deep into Detective Jonathan Stride’s complicated past. It’s the case that has haunted Stride for thirty years.  During the summer after his junior year of high school, he fell in love with beautiful Cindy Starr, the girl who would becom Two young lovers. A sultry summer night. One brutal, cold-blooded murder.  In this stunning, atmospheric thriller, Brian Freeman takes you deep into Detective Jonathan Stride’s complicated past. It’s the case that has haunted Stride for thirty years.  During the summer after his junior year of high school, he fell in love with beautiful Cindy Starr, the girl who would become his wife.  But on the Fourth of July, the same night that Jonny and Cindy cemented their love, Cindy’s older sister Laura was savagely murdered.  The police suspected a vagrant of committing the crime, but no one was ever arrested, and the case was closed. Now, Laura’s best friend Tish Verdure has returned to Duluth to write a book about Laura’s death.  Tish knows secrets that a lot of people would like to keep hidden, including information about Cindy that leave Stride questioning his entire past.  When a young girl is found drowned in the St. Louis River and a witness to the original murder attempts suicide, Stride realizes that the violence of the past is spilling over into the present. As he unearths the explosive events that led to Laura’s murder, Stride discovers that the ripples of her death changed everyone’s lives, including his own.  Can Stride put to rest the ghosts of his past, or will they devour him whole?


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Two young lovers. A sultry summer night. One brutal, cold-blooded murder.  In this stunning, atmospheric thriller, Brian Freeman takes you deep into Detective Jonathan Stride’s complicated past. It’s the case that has haunted Stride for thirty years.  During the summer after his junior year of high school, he fell in love with beautiful Cindy Starr, the girl who would becom Two young lovers. A sultry summer night. One brutal, cold-blooded murder.  In this stunning, atmospheric thriller, Brian Freeman takes you deep into Detective Jonathan Stride’s complicated past. It’s the case that has haunted Stride for thirty years.  During the summer after his junior year of high school, he fell in love with beautiful Cindy Starr, the girl who would become his wife.  But on the Fourth of July, the same night that Jonny and Cindy cemented their love, Cindy’s older sister Laura was savagely murdered.  The police suspected a vagrant of committing the crime, but no one was ever arrested, and the case was closed. Now, Laura’s best friend Tish Verdure has returned to Duluth to write a book about Laura’s death.  Tish knows secrets that a lot of people would like to keep hidden, including information about Cindy that leave Stride questioning his entire past.  When a young girl is found drowned in the St. Louis River and a witness to the original murder attempts suicide, Stride realizes that the violence of the past is spilling over into the present. As he unearths the explosive events that led to Laura’s murder, Stride discovers that the ripples of her death changed everyone’s lives, including his own.  Can Stride put to rest the ghosts of his past, or will they devour him whole?

30 review for In the Dark

  1. 4 out of 5

    Brenda

    I see growth in Brian Freeman with this book. Well told story from Stride's past. I see growth in Brian Freeman with this book. Well told story from Stride's past.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Mike

    Brian Freeman has been climbing the ranks as one of my favorite authors over the past few years. His first three books really impressed me so I was eagerly anticipating IN THE DARK and had heard it was going to be the most emotional book of the Stride/Dial series. Often I find myself a bit disappointed after reading a long-awaited book because it just doesn't live up to the hype. IN THE DARK was NOT one of these books. Every Brian Freeman book has a "killer" prologue and this one screams chapter o Brian Freeman has been climbing the ranks as one of my favorite authors over the past few years. His first three books really impressed me so I was eagerly anticipating IN THE DARK and had heard it was going to be the most emotional book of the Stride/Dial series. Often I find myself a bit disappointed after reading a long-awaited book because it just doesn't live up to the hype. IN THE DARK was NOT one of these books. Every Brian Freeman book has a "killer" prologue and this one screams chapter one as soon as you finish it. The book effectively builds multiple sub-plots at a good pace and mixes in razor-sharp psychological suspense, mystery, action, and twists. IN THE DARK challenged me to solve the multi-layered mystery then engaged an appreciation of how well all the pieces came together by the end of the book. It usually takes me about two weeks to read a novel but this gem was virtually pageless at 5.5 days. Brian Freeman has developed an endearing base of characters through vivid, descriptive scenes of first rate quality. If I had to choose a single new release to read from any author right now...it would be one from Brian Freeman. His collective series of IMMORAL, STRIPPED, STALKED, and now IN THE DARK elevates him to my #1 favorite author to read...hands down. I can't wait for the next one.....

  3. 5 out of 5

    L Cherry

    This is my first Brian Freeman novel and I absolutely love the way he writes!! This story is so enthralling I could not stop listening to the audible version. The Narrator was excellent and easy to listen to. The story is packed with many emotions triggered by the horrific death of a key character. The journey to finding her killer took many years and lots of heartbreak along the way. Since this was my first for this author and it is #4 in the series I am just getting to know the detective Jonath This is my first Brian Freeman novel and I absolutely love the way he writes!! This story is so enthralling I could not stop listening to the audible version. The Narrator was excellent and easy to listen to. The story is packed with many emotions triggered by the horrific death of a key character. The journey to finding her killer took many years and lots of heartbreak along the way. Since this was my first for this author and it is #4 in the series I am just getting to know the detective Jonathan Stride. I like when the characters have normal imperfections and I feel like he may show that as the series continues. Really Loved this one!!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Betsy

    Another excellent book in the Jonathan Stride series. Brian Freeman is fast becoming a favorite author. Getting some background on the MC through a cold case makes the read love Stride even more. 4 stars

  5. 4 out of 5

    Nora

    Interesting back and forth on a decades-old cold case. Freeman writes a lot of abusive mom storylines, which are the most disturbing parts of these books. I think I need to slow down and space these out more, so that I'm not irritated with the major storm coinciding with main character critically injured formula at the peak of each book. (It's a bit Tom Cruise action movie-esque.) I think he could write a Duluth mystery with a little less bloodshed and still make it great - his multi-layered cri Interesting back and forth on a decades-old cold case. Freeman writes a lot of abusive mom storylines, which are the most disturbing parts of these books. I think I need to slow down and space these out more, so that I'm not irritated with the major storm coinciding with main character critically injured formula at the peak of each book. (It's a bit Tom Cruise action movie-esque.) I think he could write a Duluth mystery with a little less bloodshed and still make it great - his multi-layered crime sprees are simply unrealistic in this town of 86K. I did love that Pat Burns is the new County Attorney this book.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Maureen DeLuca

    The 4th in the Jonathan Stride series- I'd say this is 3.5 , but being that I was feeling generous.... You get to know more about Strides past, high school days and meeting his first wife. I have to say some of this book was a 'tad' bit over the top- but hey, aren't they all at some point or another? Another reason why I give this a 4 , because I really do like the Jonathan Stride character. For those who never read any of these books- best bet is to start at book number 1 "Immoral" which was an The 4th in the Jonathan Stride series- I'd say this is 3.5 , but being that I was feeling generous.... You get to know more about Strides past, high school days and meeting his first wife. I have to say some of this book was a 'tad' bit over the top- but hey, aren't they all at some point or another? Another reason why I give this a 4 , because I really do like the Jonathan Stride character. For those who never read any of these books- best bet is to start at book number 1 "Immoral" which was an outstanding book- and out of the 4 that I read- the best so far. Having said that- I am so going to continue with this series-!!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jan

    Jonathan Stride's deceased wife's sister was savagely murdered 30 years ago and the case was never solved. A woman comes to town supposedly to write a book about that murder, the death of her best friend while Stride and Maggie are trying to catch someone who's been peeping in the windows of young blonde girls. There are secrets, too many to mention and Stride uncovers explosive events that led to that murder, he finds that the ripples of her death changed everyone's lives, including his own. Nic Jonathan Stride's deceased wife's sister was savagely murdered 30 years ago and the case was never solved. A woman comes to town supposedly to write a book about that murder, the death of her best friend while Stride and Maggie are trying to catch someone who's been peeping in the windows of young blonde girls. There are secrets, too many to mention and Stride uncovers explosive events that led to that murder, he finds that the ripples of her death changed everyone's lives, including his own. Nicely done.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Geoff. Lamb

    Fascinating. Twisted. Complicated. Love and deception. This may be the best Stride so far.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Tgordon

    I just love these books! So who done it? I had no clue but I bet you will when you read!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Kirby

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. As an avid fan of John Sanford, Patricia Cornwell, Robin Cook, etc, this book was actually quite a disappointment. My parents rave about them, but I found In the Dark to be the most sensationalized book I've ever read. Seemed as though Mr. Freeman didn't have enough material to write a compelling muder mystery. The solution appears to be cramming in every cliched, ridiculous "plot twist" imaginable. Pregnancy, incest, infidelity, homosexuality, struck by lightning? Death-defying tumbles off the As an avid fan of John Sanford, Patricia Cornwell, Robin Cook, etc, this book was actually quite a disappointment. My parents rave about them, but I found In the Dark to be the most sensationalized book I've ever read. Seemed as though Mr. Freeman didn't have enough material to write a compelling muder mystery. The solution appears to be cramming in every cliched, ridiculous "plot twist" imaginable. Pregnancy, incest, infidelity, homosexuality, struck by lightning? Death-defying tumbles off the Blatnik...after being hit by a car? The one redeeming quality was the descriptions of Duluth. Spent half my life there and miss it every day. As far as entertainment goes, In the Dark suffices. I was entertained. Unfortunately, I think I was entertained by the amusement I found in the utterly ridiculous storylines.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Brian Freeman

    My fourth novel, IN THE DARK, is due out on March 31, 2009. It may be my personal favorite among my books -- very emotionally intense along with its shocking twists. Write to me at [email protected] or visit my web site (www.bfreemanbooks.com) or Facebook page. My fourth novel, IN THE DARK, is due out on March 31, 2009. It may be my personal favorite among my books -- very emotionally intense along with its shocking twists. Write to me at [email protected] or visit my web site (www.bfreemanbooks.com) or Facebook page.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Donna

    In this Detective Jonathan Stride #4 book, someone from his past returns to open up the door to an unsolved case. Stride's wife Cindy died five years ago but apparently she kept in touch through the years with her best friend from high school. Tish is now determined to write a book about the murder of Cindy's sister Laura on July4, 1977. Stride and Cindy were near the park where Laura died on that night and he has always felt he knew who the killer was. Tish has some new information so they both In this Detective Jonathan Stride #4 book, someone from his past returns to open up the door to an unsolved case. Stride's wife Cindy died five years ago but apparently she kept in touch through the years with her best friend from high school. Tish is now determined to write a book about the murder of Cindy's sister Laura on July4, 1977. Stride and Cindy were near the park where Laura died on that night and he has always felt he knew who the killer was. Tish has some new information so they both begin asking questions. Several people know secrets about that night and someone else was in the woods. The book also includes a current investigation of a Peeping Tom. The author uses excerpts from Tish's book to tell the story of that night. Tish writes from Cindy's perspective. The author also gives us false leads and I didn't know how it was going to turn out but I can trust Brian Freeman to write a complex story that all makes sense in the end. Twist after twist after twist to get to that ending. Another good one in this series!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jill Manske

    "In the Dark" focuses on the 30-year-old murder of Lt. Jonathan Strike's sister-in-law, Laura Starr. This unsolved crime was dredged up by Laura's friend, Tish, as part of a true crime book she's writing. Strike is initially unwilling to assist Tish with reopening the investigation, but she brings him new evidence that calls into question the assumption that the murderer was an itinerant. Suspects abound and new clues swirl around Strike and his team as he attempts to make sense of what he's lea "In the Dark" focuses on the 30-year-old murder of Lt. Jonathan Strike's sister-in-law, Laura Starr. This unsolved crime was dredged up by Laura's friend, Tish, as part of a true crime book she's writing. Strike is initially unwilling to assist Tish with reopening the investigation, but she brings him new evidence that calls into question the assumption that the murderer was an itinerant. Suspects abound and new clues swirl around Strike and his team as he attempts to make sense of what he's learning. Freeman did an excellent job of creating mystery and intrigue and laying out a plot that's full of twists and turns. As the book progressed, several times I thought I knew exactly what was going on, only to find some new piece of information that pointed in a different direction. The ending was electrifying, in more ways than one. This is a terrific book!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Mike Kennedy

    Number for in the Jonathan Stride series. The book starts with a flashback to 1977 and the murder of a recently graduated high school senior. It turns out the murdered was the sister of Stride’s deceased wife Cindy. The victims best friend from high school is back in town writing a book about the murder, and Strideis put back on the case. Stride and Maggie are also dealing with a peeping tom that is terrorizing teenage girls across Duluth. As it seems with most Mr. Freeman’s novels while the two Number for in the Jonathan Stride series. The book starts with a flashback to 1977 and the murder of a recently graduated high school senior. It turns out the murdered was the sister of Stride’s deceased wife Cindy. The victims best friend from high school is back in town writing a book about the murder, and Strideis put back on the case. Stride and Maggie are also dealing with a peeping tom that is terrorizing teenage girls across Duluth. As it seems with most Mr. Freeman’s novels while the two crimes are not initially thought to be related, as Stride digs into the case it seems they could be. Mr. Freeman’s Books are full of suspense, unforeseen twists, and action to keep you on the edge of your seat. A really fun read that keeps you guessing throughout the entire novel.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Micky Cox

    While I have really enjoyed all of the books in the Jonathan Stride series, this one is an interesting and intriguing twist. While set in current day, it revisits the cold case that made Jonathan take the path into law enforcement in the first place, the murder of his wife's sister. It had interesting twists and while you think you know who the killer is the potential suspect list keeps growing as he delves into the past. After all these years, is it a case worth solving or better off left alone While I have really enjoyed all of the books in the Jonathan Stride series, this one is an interesting and intriguing twist. While set in current day, it revisits the cold case that made Jonathan take the path into law enforcement in the first place, the murder of his wife's sister. It had interesting twists and while you think you know who the killer is the potential suspect list keeps growing as he delves into the past. After all these years, is it a case worth solving or better off left alone. Kudos to the author for not leaving it alone and writing this installment of the series. I can't wait to see where you take the cast of characters in the next book.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Amos

    3 1/2 stars...

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jean

    …” the parallel postulate. “ Rikke shrugged. “If two lines cross a third and form less than two right angles, then eventually the two lines will meet if extended far enough. Why on earth do you find that so interesting?” “It’s something I find in most of my investigations,” Stride told her. “Sooner or later, the lines always intersect.” I don’t remember much from my high school geometry class, but as I read In the Dark, the parallel postulate began to make sense. A peeper is terrifying teenage gir …” the parallel postulate. “ Rikke shrugged. “If two lines cross a third and form less than two right angles, then eventually the two lines will meet if extended far enough. Why on earth do you find that so interesting?” “It’s something I find in most of my investigations,” Stride told her. “Sooner or later, the lines always intersect.” I don’t remember much from my high school geometry class, but as I read In the Dark, the parallel postulate began to make sense. A peeper is terrifying teenage girls, and Maggie Bei is on the case. As she meets with her boss, Detective Jonathan Stride, and his lover, private investigator Serena Dial, to discuss the case, a woman appears from his past. His distant past. She claims to have been the best friend of his late wife’s murdered sister. Thirty years later, the case is still unsolved, and Laura Starr’s friend, Tish Verdure, wants Stride’s help as she tries to write a book about the decades old crime. How in the world does a cold case relate to a present-day voyeur? Stride cannot revisit the past without experiencing the pain and loss of his wife Cindy, who died of cancer five years earlier. In addition, he risks hurting his Serena as he digs deeper into the past, stirring up memories of the love he shared with his first love. For me, that was one of the book’s strengths - that Stride must dust off his emotions and lay them out where he can deal with them. He does, and to Serena’s credit, she gives him the space that he needs to do so. There are many plausible suspects who were ruled out by police in the original case. There are some persons of interest that I wanted to be guilty because they are just not likeable people. And they are guilty, but they are not murderers. Freeman does a good job of making each character seem like a logical choice for the top of the whodunit list, but Stride lacks proof. Meanwhile, it looks more and more like the peeper may be someone from Laura’s past as well. The lines draw closer. If there is anything that may be a bit objectionable, it is that the story keeps flipping from one point of view to another, from Laura’s voice (as written by Tish for her book), to Finn to Clark (the father of a mentally challenged girl who dies because of the peeper), to Tish, to Maggie. I have read some reviews that found this particularly off-putting, but I found that I had no problem keeping the characters straight. I did, however, find that some of the situations, as in Freeman’s previous book, Stalked, were a bit over-the-top. These came near the end, and these scenes read like a made for TV crime drama wanna-be. I am not complaining about that too much, because I felt that Brian Freeman crafted a strong, captivating tale about a girl – and her circle of friends – with too many secrets. 4/5 stars

  18. 5 out of 5

    Magpie67

    I love reading books with cold cases. I love the angles, the twists, and the clues that were never followed up on when the case was hot. A case that has detective Jonathan Stride reliving a past of family and a lost love. His wife, Cindy has passed on from cancer going on about 5 years now and before they were married, she lost her sister to a horrid crime in the woods, on July 4th. A special night that caused Cindy much grief... if only she had been there for her sister. A night that Jonny and I love reading books with cold cases. I love the angles, the twists, and the clues that were never followed up on when the case was hot. A case that has detective Jonathan Stride reliving a past of family and a lost love. His wife, Cindy has passed on from cancer going on about 5 years now and before they were married, she lost her sister to a horrid crime in the woods, on July 4th. A special night that caused Cindy much grief... if only she had been there for her sister. A night that Jonny and Cindy remember as sweet and loving before chaos hit their world. So many secrets, Cindy's sister had and in a time when the truth was best left in the closet. Who murdered Cindy and why did it become a cold case? What are Tish Verdure's motives to bring it to light? True friendship or money? These are the questions being answered and the clues are leading the detectives down a path of horror. Not to mention a recent case is butting heads with the cold case. What was swept under the rug? Read the book and discover the web of lies and shame that secrets will cause, when those who stray or take bribes become part of the equation. Brilliantly written, emotionally driven from a past of un-trust and a time when bullies ruled more often than they should. Factor in the year and anything could become racially involved when the homeless are blamed. Death, suicide, murder, peeping toms, all boil down to who murdered Laura Starr. "As she expected, the bridge was up. Hers was the fourth car in line. She parked, rolled down her window to let in a humid breeze, and picked up a paperback by Louise Penny. When you lived on the Point, you were always prepared for delays at the Bridge. Serena read several more pages of Still Life, until she saw the giant ship gliding under the bridge span." I love that Brian involves other authors into his books. Last title I read mentioned John Sandford. Awesome sauce! I can't wait to grab the next title in this series.I can't get enough of Jonny, Serena and Maggie. Great character details with flawed, realistic life mixed with their jobs. I feel like I'm part of their lives, following their footsteps and viewing the crimes first hand.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Matt Schiariti

    Brian Freeman's Jonothan Stride novels are quickly becoming my favorite on going series. His deftness at writing engaging characters, broaching adult subjects without going overboard, and mixing wonderfully interesting plots with great twists and turns is really hard to beat. Stride loved his late wife Cindy fiercely. Thirty years ago events happened in their lives that would change them both forever, especially Stride. As it happens, on the first night Stride and Cindy decide to take their relat Brian Freeman's Jonothan Stride novels are quickly becoming my favorite on going series. His deftness at writing engaging characters, broaching adult subjects without going overboard, and mixing wonderfully interesting plots with great twists and turns is really hard to beat. Stride loved his late wife Cindy fiercely. Thirty years ago events happened in their lives that would change them both forever, especially Stride. As it happens, on the first night Stride and Cindy decide to take their relationship to the next level, something dreadful happens; the brutal murder of Cindy's older sister Laura. These are not only events that would decide Stride's career path, but would also come back to haunt him in his present life. Turn the page to today and someone from Cindy and Laura's past comes back to town in the form of Laura's best high school friend, Tish. Tish is writing a book. 'Who really killed Laura Starr'. Tish's arrival in town after nearly three decades will make Stride question everything he thought about that fateful night when his would-be sister in law was murdered out in the cold woods as well as how well he thought he knew his late wife. As if that weren't enough, a series of peeping tom incidents have occurred in their jurisdiction and none other than Maggie Bei lands the case. This is a fantastic look into some of Strides earlier years and some of the events that shaped him into the character that he's become over these four novels. As with any Stride novel, just when you think you have the mystery solved and the culprit picked out, Freeman pulls the rug out from under you. The thing that makes it so satisfying though is that Freeman never makes it cheap or out of the blue. It always makes sense and is completely plausible. I can't recommend In the Dark or Brian Freeman's body of work as a whole enough. Just Grade A fantastic writing. With another novel right around the corner, color me excited!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Scott Rhee

    Brian Freeman's fourth book to feature detectives Jonathon Stride and Serena Dial, "In the Dark", is another great suspenseful read. In this one, Stride must re-open old wounds about his late wife, Cindy, who died of cancer, when one of her high school friends comes back into town. Tish Verdure has returned to write a book about the murder of Cindy's older sister, Laura, who was murdered when Stride and Cindy were in high school. The case was never officially solved, although an African-American Brian Freeman's fourth book to feature detectives Jonathon Stride and Serena Dial, "In the Dark", is another great suspenseful read. In this one, Stride must re-open old wounds about his late wife, Cindy, who died of cancer, when one of her high school friends comes back into town. Tish Verdure has returned to write a book about the murder of Cindy's older sister, Laura, who was murdered when Stride and Cindy were in high school. The case was never officially solved, although an African-American vagrant nicknamed Dada was considered by most townspeople (including the police) to be the main, and most convenient, suspect. Unfortunately, Dada disappeared soon after the murder. Stride and Dial begin to dig deeper, and what they find is a town full of secrets and cover-ups. As always, Freeman's story is strongly character-driven, with characters that are richly-conceived and extremely real. Freeman is excellent at giving his characters motives for everything they do. You almost feel sorry for some of the criminals and, at the very least, understand why they do what they do.

  21. 4 out of 5

    ElaineY

    REVIEW OF AUDIOBOOK; OCTOBER 20, 2016 Narrators: Joe Barrett, Carrington MacDuffie 4 stars for some tense moments, 2 stars for being such a depressing book (for me) and it will be awhile before I pick another Jonathan Stride book. It's another one of those all-but-the-kitchen-sink books - a cold case, murder, lesbian lovers, incest, characters who die that I wish had been spared...I both hated and "liked" this installment. "Like" only in that I wanted to know who killed Laura and stuck to the end REVIEW OF AUDIOBOOK; OCTOBER 20, 2016 Narrators: Joe Barrett, Carrington MacDuffie 4 stars for some tense moments, 2 stars for being such a depressing book (for me) and it will be awhile before I pick another Jonathan Stride book. It's another one of those all-but-the-kitchen-sink books - a cold case, murder, lesbian lovers, incest, characters who die that I wish had been spared...I both hated and "liked" this installment. "Like" only in that I wanted to know who killed Laura and stuck to the end. Hated in that after the book ended, I felt in dire need of something happy, sexy, and romantic. Since I've kinda lost touch with the romance genre, this does leave me in a bit of a quandary. If you liked the previous Stride/Dial books, this one should be a 5-star read. The audio, narrated by Joe Barrett and Carrington MacDuffie, was excellent.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Andrea

    Not a fan of this. Over the top and all over the place. Half-way through I put it down and didn't bother picking it up again for two weeks, and you know if I do that with a mystery it's a bad sign. Normally I compulsively read even the bad ones, but this I just didn't care. Not a fan of this. Over the top and all over the place. Half-way through I put it down and didn't bother picking it up again for two weeks, and you know if I do that with a mystery it's a bad sign. Normally I compulsively read even the bad ones, but this I just didn't care.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Marge

    Too much told in flashbacks, too many POV's--some from dead people. Too much told in flashbacks, too many POV's--some from dead people.

  24. 5 out of 5

    John E Mack

    As usual, Freeman writes remarkably well-rounded characters for a genre which is not famous for depth of characterization. His plot is also well-conceived. Lieutenant Jonathan Stride's late wife Cindy's sister Laura is brutally murdered on the Fourth of July, 1977. This is the same day as Stride and Stride and Cindy first made love. A vagrant black man is conveniently blamed, but escapes. A reporter who is a friend of Laura comes up from Atlanta to write a book about the murder and try to solve As usual, Freeman writes remarkably well-rounded characters for a genre which is not famous for depth of characterization. His plot is also well-conceived. Lieutenant Jonathan Stride's late wife Cindy's sister Laura is brutally murdered on the Fourth of July, 1977. This is the same day as Stride and Stride and Cindy first made love. A vagrant black man is conveniently blamed, but escapes. A reporter who is a friend of Laura comes up from Atlanta to write a book about the murder and try to solve the mystery of who really murdered Laura. A large number of suspects emerge. This book avoids two of Freeman's more problematical tendencies -- overuse of coincidence and wildly improbably twists. The various subplots intersect but do not interlock. It also contains only one deus ex machina -- here, almost a literal one. And he does not repeat one of his most annoying tendencies, which is the insertion of a scene which overrides the suspension of disbelief. Why, then, only a "four" rating? Because the murder scene borders on the ridiculous. It is if there is a villain every six feet, each having a different reason for being there, and many of them unaware of the other's presence, while two separate pairs of lovers are making out. And everybody is touching the baseball bat. In real life, these people would be stumbling all over each other. It is true that this populated scene allows Freeman to give Stride the ability to make any number of "twisty" discoveries, but a mystery writer should be laughed with (and there is a notable lack of humor in most of Freeman's books) and not laughed at.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Fran

    In the Dark Brian Freeman Cindy Star was married to Jonathan Stride despite his mother’s apprehension and fears that she would lose her son to this young girl. Cindy died five years ago but author Brian Freeman has decided to allow readers to get to her know, how she and Jonathan connected the first time and what happens when she wants to share her experience with her sister, Laura. Coming home in total disarray and not wanting to even wash away one shred of evidence that she and Jonathan were tog In the Dark Brian Freeman Cindy Star was married to Jonathan Stride despite his mother’s apprehension and fears that she would lose her son to this young girl. Cindy died five years ago but author Brian Freeman has decided to allow readers to get to her know, how she and Jonathan connected the first time and what happens when she wants to share her experience with her sister, Laura. Coming home in total disarray and not wanting to even wash away one shred of evidence that she and Jonathan were together, she goes in search of her sister. Close to a point but not confidants she decides to trust her sister. Going up to her room she finds she is not there. Other alarms go off in her head and she immediately leaves the house in the middle of the night in search of Laura. What she finds would change her life and that of her family as Laura has been brutalized and murdered. Cindy finds her body. Fast forward to the present as Serena, Maggie and Jonathan meet to work on a case that involves a peeper. But, someone comes into the saloon where they are and changes everything. Someone who knew Cindy in the past and someone who claims to have been friends with Laura. As this reporter does more than approach Jonathan things begin to change and she wants him to reopen the case and find out who killed Laura. Evidence that she kept hidden for over 30 years, notes that were never revealed and photos that never came out because Laura did not want anyone to know. A stalker for sure but who remains to be seen. But, Jonathan does not trust this reporter named Tish and just what is she holding back and not telling him? Why after 30 years does she want to bring this out? Why wouldn’t Laura let Cindy help her and why did she think the notes and photos were a prank? As Jonathan revisits the police reports and the files in the case he finds that some of the evidence is missing and his suspicions fall on the officer in charge. As we hear both Cindy and Laura’s voices on a night filled with thunder, storms and fear. Just what or who was lurking in the wood and why did Laura know she was being watched? As the author brings us back to Tish who finds that not only does Serena not really want her around but when she returns to her room where she is staying she finds someone else has left her a different kind of calling card letting her know she is definitely unwanted. Someone does not want this case solved and what does it have to do with a man named Peter Stanhope, friend from the past and someone who wants Serena to work for him as an investigator. Why does he appear to be a suspect? How did the bat from 30 years ago belonging to Peter wind up at the crime scene? Cindy’s voice comes through loud and clear as does Laura’s as the author brilliantly takes the reader back to where it all happened, why Laura was alone that night and the guilt that not only harbored with Jonathan for over 30 years but within Cindy too before she died. But, within this plot there is a subplot that deals with a peeper that seems to be preying on young blonde teens. One young girl named Mary who is learning impaired sees figure outside of her window and screams for help. Not the first time it happened but recurring so her father reports it to the police and the investigation heats up hopefully to find this man. Cindy’s voice is heard as the detective on the case along with Jonathan questions her before he entered the force. Questions are asked, innuendos made, references to the Stanhopes and the end result you won’t believe as the one man who took him under his wing was the one man who might have made some of the evidence disappear and then took his own life. Why? Remains to be seen but there is much more as the young mentally challenged young girl is killed in what is supposed to be an accident but was it? Could this murder from 30 years ago have something to do with the vagrant they think killed Laura? In the Dark brings to light many questions about teens, their behavior and desires. This is a great book to teach young girls what not to do when getting involve with a young man and how to act like respectful young adults. Peter Stanhope feels that money talks. He is immune to the law and that although he claims that his behavior was anything but respectful he says he never killed Laura? But evidence does point to him but is he really the killer? Her parents divorced but devastated the circumstances unusual as the author relates what Donna Biggs remembers about the incident that resulted in her daughter’s death. Guilt for many reasons as Maggie and Stride try to link the cases together. More flashbacks about the man named Dada and his real role in what happened to Laura and the truth about Peter Stanhope. Just who is Finn, why was he there the night Laura was killed, what did he see, why didn’t he go for help and what really happened? What happens next will surprise the reader as Tish is awakened by a loud noise in the middle of the night and a piece of evidence appears between the spokes of her steering wheel. Tish then reveals her mode of delivery as she tells Stride as the reader knows the story and the book is told in Cindy’s words and through Cindy’s eyes. When all of the pieces finally come into place you will not believe just how far back all of this goes and who was involved and why. Tish finally reveals her secret and many lives would definitely be changed and Jonathan’s opinion of her will let the reader know that she interfered with the case, claims to have gotten a confession and her motive for returning to Duluth a lie. As the reader hears what really happened between Tish and Laura we learn more than just a deep dark secret. But, Tish is relentless and won’t give up until she solves the case for the police. What will Mary’s father do to get justice for her death? Author Brian Freeman brings to light child predators, abuse, murder, lies, deceits, parent abuse of a child, rape and many other issues that makes this book one that so many parents and teens can learn from. What happens when emotions get carried away and young girls do not think about the consequences of their actions? What happens when a mother abuses her son and he turns into a peeper or stalker? An ending that will reveal more than just the killer but a secret that was buried within someone he loved. Read In the Dark and learn what happens when the truth comes into the light. Once again Stride keeps you riveted to the printed page and hoping for the next chapter in his life along with Serena and Maggie. Fran Lewis: Reviewer

  26. 5 out of 5

    Bill

    When I picked up this book I did not realize it was #4 in a series. Even without reading the first three, I did not have any trouble following the story. That is not always true, but it was this time. The Watcher (which I see is also called In The Dark) is a fairly lengthy, albeit light-reading, book and there were places I did not read carefully. That did not seem to matter, although, since I did not guess "who did it," maybe I missed an important clue. There were several plot twists, some whic When I picked up this book I did not realize it was #4 in a series. Even without reading the first three, I did not have any trouble following the story. That is not always true, but it was this time. The Watcher (which I see is also called In The Dark) is a fairly lengthy, albeit light-reading, book and there were places I did not read carefully. That did not seem to matter, although, since I did not guess "who did it," maybe I missed an important clue. There were several plot twists, some which I saw coming and some that I did not. The story follows several different characters: foremost is Duluth detective, Lieutenant Jonathon Stride, and journalist, Tish Verdure. Others include: another detective, Maggie Bei, and Stride's girlfriend, Serena Dial. There are numerous suspects and witnesses. Tish returns to Duluth to research a book she is writing on a thirty-year old murder, the victim of whom was a friend of both her's and Jonny's. Some of the more interesting suspects and witnesses were: Dada, a Rastafarian drifter who disappears at the time of the original murder (view spoiler)[but returns, and we learn has become university professor (hide spoiler)] ; Peter Stanhope, a wealthy, spoiled, boorish teenager who becomes a lawyer (a Brett Kavanaugh-type); and Finn Mathisen and his sister Rikke, a former teacher of several key characters. The mystery was good and has the feel of really being in the cities of Duluth, MN and Superior, WI. I like a book with a strong sense of place.

  27. 5 out of 5

    M. Sprouse

    I'll start with the positive. I've enjoyed this series as I'm reading them in order. I gave #3, "Stalked" five stars, unfortunately, this offering, "In the Dark" doesn't quite measure up. The good news is like the other's in the series, it is suspenseful, engaging and contains a authentic mystery. The bad news is that this book is a bit depressing. There is only death and loss for almost all the characters, and nothing much positive for any of them. This might be realistic, but just too many cas I'll start with the positive. I've enjoyed this series as I'm reading them in order. I gave #3, "Stalked" five stars, unfortunately, this offering, "In the Dark" doesn't quite measure up. The good news is like the other's in the series, it is suspenseful, engaging and contains a authentic mystery. The bad news is that this book is a bit depressing. There is only death and loss for almost all the characters, and nothing much positive for any of them. This might be realistic, but just too many cases where bad things happen to good people. The Biggs family was the final straw. I was torn between the alluring mystery and the morose soap opera of events. The other disappointment is that Stride didn't have much impact or role until the final scenes. I enjoy his character, but for most of this book he seemed either overbearing or ineffective. So obviously it's my least favorite of the series, but still worth a read and based on my overall satisfaction with the other Stride books, I'll be reading #5, "The Burying Place".

  28. 4 out of 5

    Danielle Gonzalez

    This story takes the reader back to Jonathan Stride's high school days when he is dating Cindy. While having a romantic evening with Cindy, her sister, Laura, is murdered. The crime is never solved. Fast forward to present time, and an old classmate shows up with new information for Stride. He decides to look into it again, and finds a lot of buried secrets throughout the town. This story puts a strain on Stride and his love interest as he goes back in time to the romance of his first wife. It k This story takes the reader back to Jonathan Stride's high school days when he is dating Cindy. While having a romantic evening with Cindy, her sister, Laura, is murdered. The crime is never solved. Fast forward to present time, and an old classmate shows up with new information for Stride. He decides to look into it again, and finds a lot of buried secrets throughout the town. This story puts a strain on Stride and his love interest as he goes back in time to the romance of his first wife. It kind of had a Twin Peaks kind of feeling - Who killed Laura. There were some disturbing elements to this story, but I enjoyed the twists and turns. As readers of Brian Freeman know, you will continuously be surprised the more you read. Don't stop reading until the very end, because more surprises are there to come.

  29. 5 out of 5

    bjneary

    Loving this series; Jonathan Stride, Serena, and Maggie continue to wiggle their way into my favorite characters; especially with this book; Jonny revisits his teenage years and time on the police force. Cindy's sister, Laura was murdered on the beach on July 4 and now 30 years later, a old friend, Tish is writing a book on Laura's murder and needs answers. But what transpires are lies, mysteries, and betrayals! Also Jonathan and Maggie are investigating a peeper who is terrorizing teens, all th Loving this series; Jonathan Stride, Serena, and Maggie continue to wiggle their way into my favorite characters; especially with this book; Jonny revisits his teenage years and time on the police force. Cindy's sister, Laura was murdered on the beach on July 4 and now 30 years later, a old friend, Tish is writing a book on Laura's murder and needs answers. But what transpires are lies, mysteries, and betrayals! Also Jonathan and Maggie are investigating a peeper who is terrorizing teens, all the while Tish continues to lead Jonny with clues, etc. I could not put this book down, will be reading #5 soon enough----love Brian Freeman's plots, suspense, characters! I am also going to try the Frost Eaton series as well.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Kenneth Barber

    Jonathan Stride finds himself involved in trying to solve a case from 30 years ago. The sister of his future wife was brutally murdered in 1977. At the time the murder was eventually blamed on a Black drifter. Now a friend of the murdered girl comes back to Duluth yo solve the murder and complete a book she is writing about the case. Suspects abound and the author adept at making the reader think he has solved the case. The author then leads the reader to another character who could be guilty of Jonathan Stride finds himself involved in trying to solve a case from 30 years ago. The sister of his future wife was brutally murdered in 1977. At the time the murder was eventually blamed on a Black drifter. Now a friend of the murdered girl comes back to Duluth yo solve the murder and complete a book she is writing about the case. Suspects abound and the author adept at making the reader think he has solved the case. The author then leads the reader to another character who could be guilty of the crime. The story moves along at a good pace keeping the reader actively engaged.

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