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Psychotic killers and all kinds of sexuality in Sin City,
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This review is from: Stripped (Paperback)
Michael Connelly sums it up so succinctly on the front cover with his words `This guy can really tell a story'. Brian Freeman has sprung up from nowhere over the last couple of years to become, in my humble opinion, a genuine front-runner in the world of crime fiction thrillers. I might be wrong, but I would hazard a guess that he has taken inspiration from film directors such as Alfred Hitchcock and past masters of the written genre which might include the likes of Chandler, Leonard, Ellroy and Puzo. I say that because although the finished product is very much his own with his personal identity stamped on it, there are fleeting moments throughout this tale such as Mafia dons moving from New York to Las Vegas in the 1950s to set up their casino empires coupled with the cop swinging in the wind clinging to a frail rusty ladder atop a high-rise building at night while the baddie holds the cop's girlfriend at gunpoint. So yes there are some stereotypes I admit but such is the pace, the passion and complexity of the plot that for me any such weaknesses are totally forgiven.
It's just an absorbing and enjoyable story. In this sequel to IMMORAL (Freeman's debut novel) Detective Jonathan Stride has moved from his home town in Minnesota to the bright lights of Vegas in order to live with his luscious new lover, Detective Serena Dial, and while they are not active partners on duty (Stride has another partner of somewhat left-field sexuality!) they are very much partners in the bedroom and I'm pleased to say that this element of the story has been described much more professionally (i.e. less explicitly) than in Immoral, yet not for one moment lessening the erotic atmosphere the writer creates. Indeed this is raised to another level entirely with the introduction of the Mob boss's estranged daughter who has the hots for Serena too. The sexuality (as opposed to just sex) is always tasteful, arousing and very much in keeping with the story itself - never gratuitous - despite the fact that the main storyline is the hunt for a man who is seeking out specific but seemingly unrelated individuals in a mission of revenge assassinations. The story has a little of everything if not actually everything; greed, power, corruption, murder, love, revenge,
desire, family feuds dating back forty years and mysteries carried over that period as to the real identities of mothers, fathers and siblings.
I don't hand out 5 stars unless a book satisfies on every level and fulfils its objective. There are a lot of very good thrillers out there, but STRIPPED is in a class above. It has several characters to really believe in, it's got pace and touches of real style, and I won't hesitate to buy STALKED, the third in this outstanding series.