MARATHON: The Echo Chamber

Are we more divided than ever before?

Sometimes it seems that way.  Tragedy doesn’t bring us together the way it once did.  Too often, rather than turning to each other for support, we retreat to separate corners and to our own political philosophies.

The rise of social media seems to have accelerated this divisiveness.  If you agree with someone, social media is an echo chamber reinforcing what you think.  If you disagree, it’s an information superhighway crowded with road rage.  That’s why I chose to make social media an important theme in MARATHON – because sites like Twitter and Facebook have become players in shaping how we react to the world.

Look at Twitter, for example.  There’s something about that 140-character limit on Twitter posts that washes away restraint and encourages people to hurl spicy little fireballs at one another.  As one of my characters in MARATHON complains to her husband, “I always know when you’re looking at Twitter.  Your face gets so angry.”  She’s right.  Twitter can be a perfect little outrage factory.

Social media not only makes us angrier, it also makes it easier for us to leap to the wrong conclusions.  That’s especially true in the aftermath of tragic events.  Information spreads lightning fast – but so does misinformation.  What starts out as news quickly becomes an online breeding-ground for rumor and speculation, and the results can easily spiral out of control.

Stride doesn’t just have to solve a murder in MARATHON.  He also has to deal with a powder keg of online paranoia that threatens to burst from the virtual world into the real world of Duluth.

MARATHON: A Tale of Two Cities

On April 15, 2013, two pressure-cooker bombs detonated in the crowd during the Boston Marathon.  Three spectators died in the explosions, and hundreds were injured.

Every terrorist attack horrifies us with its senseless violence and loss of life – but I think the Boston bombing prompted a special outrage, because it violated an event that represents the best of what people can strive for and achieve, and because the marathon itself is so much a part of the identity of the city of Boston.

It’s not often that I create a plot that is directly “ripped from the headlines,” but no one will miss the fact that the real-life events of the Boston bombing inspired MARATHON.  Duluth, like many cities, offers an annual race that plays host to tens of thousands of runners and spectators from around the world.  As a result, I wanted my Duluth-based police lieutenant, Jonathan Stride, to deal with all of the challenges and raw emotions of a similar tragedy.

However, the explosion in MARATHON, with its unsettling parallels to what happened in Boston, is only the beginning.  The story of this novel is really a story of how hatred in all its forms becomes a self-perpetuating cycle of violence, loss, and revenge.

My books often deal with sensitive themes, and I try to deal with these issues in shades of gray, not just black or white.  That’s especially true of MARATHON.  I wanted to write a lightning-paced thriller that also deals openly and honestly with issues of anger, prejudice, and extremism, especially when amplified by the echo chamber of social media.

There are no super-heroes or super-villains here, just ordinary people.  Some struggle to do the right thing; some do evil things.  Most have good intentions – but we know where good intensions can lead.  In the middle is Stride, trying to find the truth and bring people together despite their bitter divisions.

MARATHON is available for pre-order now online and through your local bookseller.

Available Now

My latest thriller, THE NIGHT BIRD, is available now in Kindle e-book, hardback, paperback, and audio. Don’t miss it!

Romantic Times calls it a Top Pick and says: ““Freeman’s latest psychological thriller is sure to seize readers and not let go… Gripping, intense and thoughtful, The Night Bird is a must-read.”

The book was selected as a Kindle First title by Amazon and spent most of January at #1 on the Amazon Kindle bestseller list — an amazing honor.  More than 1,400 readers submitted reviews during the first month, and I’ve been delighted by the overwhelming reaction from people who loved the book.

THE NIGHT BIRD is all-new for me:  It introduces a new hero, Frost Easton, and a new setting in the romantic locale of San Francisco.  My family has lived in the Bay Area for decades, so the region feels like home to me.  This is also my scariest, creepiest book to date — and my readers know that’s saying a lot! This book deals with the unsettling possibility that your memories can be manipulated, so you’re never sure exactly what is real.

Enjoy!

Kindle First

The official release date for my new San Francisco-based thriller THE NIGHT BIRD is February 1.  BUT, if you’re an Amazon Prime member, you can get the e-book for your Kindle for free right now.  The book is one of six novels selected for the “Kindle First” program in January — and it’s already #1 on the US Amazon Kindle Bestseller List.

Not an Amazon Prime member?  You can also enter the Goodreads giveaway.  We’re giving away 100 (yes, 100!) free copies of THE NIGHT BIRD, so enter before January 31 to be part of the drawing.  You can enter here:

https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/216595-the-night-bird

 

 

All-New Web Site

Welcome to my all-new web site!

The latest generation of www.bfreemanbooks.com gives me and Marcia much more control to manage the site day by day, in order to provide readers with news about upcoming books, events in your area, and other tidbits about life in publishing.

On the home page, you’ll always find “sliders” that alert you to what’s coming next.  In this case, I’ll have TWO books available in 2017…an all-new San Francisco-based thriller called THE NIGHT BIRD on February 1 and then the next Jonathan Stride novel, MARATHON, on May 2.  You’ll love them both!

On each book page, you can find links to buy the books at your favorite retailer — as well as audio samples and book club discussion questions.

And you’ll find links to connect with both me and Marcia on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.

Enjoy the new site!

THE NIGHT BIRD. Coming February 1, 2017

The Night Bird

Memories can kill.  Don’t forget.

Get ready for an all-new thriller from me on February 1, 2017:  THE NIGHT BIRD.  It’s available for pre-order right now…just click here for more information.

THE NIGHT BIRD uses the foggy, dramatic locale of San Francisco as its backdrop, with settings from the Bay Bridge to Golden Gate Park to Coit Tower. The book introduces a sexy new hero, Homicide Inspector Frost Easton, who patrols the city’s murder beat with his adopted cat, Shack.THE NIGHT BIRD. Coming February 1, 2017

And the plot? It’s wonderfully creepy. San Francisco psychiatrist Francesca Stein treats patients by erasing their most terrifying memories — but now her patients are dying, and Frost has to hunt down a killer who can turn memories into a murder weapon.

THE NIGHT BIRD will be landing soon…get your copy as soon as it’s available!

Available Now

The wait is over! Jonathan Stride is back…and GOODBYE TO THE DEAD is available right now.

I think this is one of those books you will want to add to your permanent collection. It’s a story that brings the past and present of Stride’s life together once and for all. I hope you enjoy it — and that you’ll help me spread the word to your reader friends.

goodbye-final-coverHere’s what Fresh Fiction had to say about the new book in their review:

“Master storyteller Brian Freeman knocks it out of the park with his latest Jonathan Stride crime thriller…hugely addictive with each unexpected twist and turn in the investigation….This compelling police crime thriller should be on everyone’s must-read list.”

I’ve got book tour events coming up in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Colorado, Arizona, Texas, and North Carolina. If I’ll be in your area, please stop by my event and pick up a signed copy! I’d love to meet you.

Happy reading!

Ten Years: A Pioneer Press Retrospective

CLICK HERE TO READ THE PIONEER PRESS ARTICLE.

With the release of my latest Jonathan Stride thriller GOODBYE TO THE DEAD just days away, Mary Ann Grossman of the Pioneer Press has written a wonderful retrospective on my ten years in the book business. It’s a great way to get to know me and my novels.

Sometimes it’s hard for me to believe that I’ve spent a decade writing and publishing thrillers around the world — about a third of my working life. As someone who dreamed of writing books from a young age (I was working on a mystery novel in sixth grade!), this really has been the achievement of a life-long goal. The publishing business is one of the toughest ways to make a living, but it also offers rewards that you can’t get anywhere else.

More than anything, as you’ll see in Mary Ann’s article, I’ve been fortunate to run this business as a partnership with my wife, Marcia. (She gets the first two words in every book!) We do this all together — editing, marketing, hitting the road, doing events — and that’s the best part of this new life we created ten years ago.

I hope you enjoy getting to know us in this article — and I hope you buy a copy of GOODBYE TO THE DEAD and fall in love with it. It’s one of my own personal favorites among my novels.