John Parker is a Graduate-qualified English/Spanish Teacher, owner and director of CHAT ENGLISH, an English Language Centre in Avilés on the north coast of Spain . A voracious reader, he has particularly loved horror fiction for many years.
This, the 7th Jonathan Stride novel, takes us on a trip into the past when Cindy, Stride’s late wife, was still alive.
A young woman is murdered in the streets of Duluth outside a bar where Sgt. Serena Dial, the live-in lover of Stride, is lightly berating under-age drinker Cat Mateo , who was rescued from the streets by Stride in the past (See The Cold Nowhere for more on Cat). Serena witnesses the murder and goes after the killer. In the ensuing chase, the murderer escapes but drops the murder weapon. It soon becomes clear that it is the same weapon used to kill a newspaper columnist journalist called Jay Ferris nine years previously. The prime suspect for that murder was his wife, brilliant surgeon Janine Snow. And who was the best friend and last person to have seen Jay and Janine together in an argument? None other than Cindy.
Judging from the above, you may think that the plot is full of coincidences and you would be right. At times, it does seem that people are conveniently in the right place at the right (or wrong!) time. But it does not really matter. The book is full of interesting characters, some recurring like the wonderful Maggie Bei and some new ones, such as Howard Marlowe, a rather sad individual who plays an important part in the development of the plot. We learn a lot about Cindy while she was alive and come to understand Stride and his reasons for being like he is now.
Freeman kept me mesmerised from beginning to end with a story that mixes a real whodunit with a riveting look at the life of Stride and the people he is closest to. Believable characters in unbelievable set-ups may be the order of the day but Freeman delivers a great story and the ending is just amazing. A real page-turner. I will be back for more.