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4.4 out of 5 stars
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4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 31 July 2013
This is the first Brian Freeman book that I have read, and I must say it gripped me from page 1. I could not put it down, I kept thinking I knew who had done it, but I didn't and just kept guessing and then changing my mind, the plot was so good.

On a March night outside the river town of Barron, Minnesota, three teenage girls meet in terrifying circumstances. By morning one of the girls is dead, and one of the other two girls is in prison charged with her murder. Olivia Hawk claims she didn't pull the trigger on Ashlynn Steele, but no one believes her.
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on 29 March 2012
I still can not believe that Brian Freeman books are not highly advertised! This guy writes a great story!

This book starts with a punch and does'nt stop slinging more and more twists all the way along!

If you are looking for a great read, buy this book, read it then buy everything else Brian Freeman has written, you will not be disapointed!
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on 17 March 2012
A dead teenager, two towns pitted against each other, a cancer cluster and a father determined to prove that his daughter didn't pull the trigger... Loved this book and also the fact that the characters are not picture perfect and this is not a fairy tale. Can't wait for the next book.
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on 14 May 2015
I downloaded this as a free Kindle Book, although that offer seems to be over. This was book number 8 for this American crime novelist who I hadn't read before and it was very readable and well-plotted. A lawyer comes to his teenage daughter's rescue when she is charged with the murder of a fellow High-School student, the daughter of Florian Steele, CEO of a large environmental company. Locals claim this company is responsible for cases of cancer caused by pollution. This has led to a feud, particularly amongst teenagers in the two neighbouring towns and Olivia's actions are seen as part of that feud. She is arrested and father Chris has to find out what actually happened. There's a veil of secrecy against outsiders and the proximity to his separated-from wife leaves Chris confused. Along the way there's cover-ups, lone avengers, a pornography connection and an environmental incident that makes a surprising and gripping finish. Freeman manages this all well. I wasn't expecting much from an Amazon free crime novel, but this is an author I would be happy to read again so offering this free might pay dividends.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 29 June 2012
My brother is a big fan of Brian Freeman's books and, over time, has given me all of his books by this author, including Spilled Blood. So, rather than continue to stockpile these books, I thought I should actually start to read them. Spilled Blood is my first Freeman reading experience and, based on my overall dissatisfaction with this book, the next book I read by this author isn't going to happen any time soon.

I know my review will be "swimming against the tide" and will likely result in some negative votes, given the mainly 4 and 5 stars ratings it's received from other reviewers. But, hopefully, it will provide some people with a dissenting point of view that is helpful to them in deciding whether or not Spilled Blood is a book they will want to read.

I won't take your take time by providing a summary of the plot, as this is can be seen in the Amazon Book Description above. My opinion of the plot premise is a positive one. My displeasure stems from the author's execution of the plot and with his "dime-store" psychology behind the characters' motivations and actions.

I can't describe what I mean here without revealing some things that could be spoilers. I will say, however, that Freeman's apparent belief that his characters who either gamble excessively or crave child pornography or are forever heartbroken by the loss of a loved one suffer from addictions, and thus have to be understood for their motivations and actions, came across to me as naive, much too simplistic and a bit "soapbox-y." Further, while Freeman worked hard at trying to create complex characters, I found that, for the most part, the characters never seemed like "real" people, and as a result, I couldn't care much about what happened to them.

Beyond my opinion of the characters, I found that, with the exception of the last thirty pages or so, Freeman never allowed me, as the reader, to feel that I was actively experiencing the action as it happened. Rather, too often was the case that Freeman's created a strong sense of anticipation for an apparent action only to bring about that action in too passive a way for me. As such, when the action did finally occur it was neither very exciting nor surprising.

Finally, I found that Freeman provided so many (what I feel had to be unintentional) "tips" about who the murderous psychpath known only as "Aquarius" is that I was able to correctly guess the identity of this character after only about one-third of the way into reading the book.

All in all, unless you want nothing more from a book than to completely escape from reality for a while, and don't particularly care much about whether its plot is credible and its characters are believable, I'd suggest you read something else.
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on 29 November 2013
I don't know why this book didn't grab me, I really liked the story's premise. I think it was a bit drawn out and lacked sufficient likable characters.

However, it wasn't totally unreadable. I did finish it and even found some good twists along the way.

3 stars
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on 7 May 2014
Although this is only the second one I have read, I'm afraid that I just don't seem able to connect with Brian Freeman's books very much at all.

There is no doubt that he is an able wordsmith and can dream up a good plot, but for me that is where all praise ends. He writes without heart. humour, or warmth and his characters are therefore similarly devoid of personality. In fact they all come across as self-centred, loveless morons, that I couldn't care less about. The plot becomes so thinly spread that it loses impetus and invokes disappointment in it's creation.

His style of writing feels incomplete and reading it is like trying to run a marathon knee-deep in treacle.

Things liven up a bit in chapter 50 but manage to slide into a laborious winding up process in the last chapter.

Nah, not for me.
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on 24 November 2015
The grass is always greener on the other side, isn’t it? In Brian Freeman’s stand-alone novel, Spilled Blood, residents of upscale Barron have everything that ordinary folks across the Spirit River town of St. Croix do not – especially health. Barron’s top-secret scientific research facility, Mondamin, was the defendant in a lawsuit brought by families of cancer victims in St. Croix. The feuding made some folks think of the Hatfields and McCoys, while others considered the Montagues vs. the Capulets. The hostilities escalate out of control when Ashlynn, the daughter of Mondamin’s president is killed. It seems like an open-and-shut case. A St. Croix high school girl is arrested. End of story?

Not by a long shot. The accused girl’s father, Chris Hawk, is a Minneapolis lawyer who travels to the small southwestern Minnesota town where his ex-wife and daughter live. It doesn’t matter that he doesn’t practice criminal law; he will do whatever it takes to represent his daughter and prove her innocence. Mr. Freeman allows his protagonist to take many liberties as a contract lawyer that a defense attorney would never get away with. He’s not perfect, but I found him to be a very likable guy. Olivia, his only child, a strong-willed teen who is charged with the murder, is also an appealing character. I felt myself believing her, even as her father doubted. She is a complex character, and I think that Freeman did a good job portraying her teenage temperament and mindset.

Outside the Hawk family, there were other superbly written characters, good, solid people who were faced with difficult circumstances. Some made terrible mistakes. Some hid behind a façade of respectability and only seemed to be virtuous. And there were some who were truly vile. In the midst of it all was a mysterious person called Aquarius. This individual sent threatening notes to citizens warning of death and destruction. Was this person responsible for Ashlynn’s death, or was this something altogether different?

Spilled Blood commanded my attention from start to finish. In some of Brian Freeman’s previous works, I’ve been frustrated by lack of clues. His murderer seemed to just appear from nowhere. Not this time. Was I surprised by the revelations? Not especially. I suspected. Let’s say it was a process of elimination. I just didn’t know the motivation. Getting there was so much fun. I suspected others. I wanted to see what would happen next and how, or if, it all tied together.

Ominous darkness and hatred aside, I found some themes running through this book, like the river called Spirit. There are links between the environment and humans that cannot be ignored. Humans are linked one to another, for better or for worse. In the end, it all came down to that interdependence. I loved witnessing the slow, tentative process of Chris and his ex-wife Hannah re-discovering each other. I loved, too, that despite all the destruction and loss, I felt that this book actually ended on a hopeful note.

5 stars
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I have read most of Mr Freeman's books and loved them up until The Bone House, where I didn't get past the first few chapters and Spilled Blood which I finished in the hope that it would get going at some point. To be fair it has all the elements of a good book - murder, false accusations, main characters in danger and a twist at the end but none of it pulled me in. I couldn't identify with the characters as I felt none of them had any depth and ended up not caring what happened to them. Sorry, but this one is not for me.
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on 23 December 2013
Brilliant intricate plot with great characters. Young girl incorrectly accused of murder has her recently absent lawyer father deeply involved and determined on uncovering the truth. Action packed thriller, you just don't know what's coming next. Loved all the sub plots which wound their way through to the final climax. A brilliant well thought through book and great writing. Everything from murder, mystery, unexpected twists and turns, with love for an ex-wife and daughter shining through. Well done Brian. Loved it so much I've just downloaded another one!
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