We’re nearing the end of 2020…yes, I know, I know, hold the applause. But this has also been a busy book year — and now that I’ve finally released my fourth (!) book since January, I figured it would be a good time to go back and take a look at what I’ve put in your hands this year. Remember, the Christmas shopping season is coming soon!
The first novel of 2020: THIEF RIVER FALLS, a stand-alone thriller about a writer in lonely northwestern Minnesota trying to rescue a young boy who’s being hunted by everyone around him (including the police). Last month, Amazon listed THIEF RIVER FALLS among its top 1o bestselling mystery/thrillers of the year so far, and the book is closing in on 9,000 reader reviews.
This summer, I had the incredible honor of taking over Robert Ludlum’s Jason Bourne series, with my Bourne thriller THE BOURNE EVOLUTION releasing in July. I’ve been thrilled by the many readers and reviewers who felt as if they’d stepped right back into a Ludlum novel with this one. It’s a complete stand-alone, so even if you’re not a long-time Jason Bourne book fan (or movie fan), you can dive right in.
In September, my Duluth-based police lieutenant Jonathan Stride finally returned after a two-year hiatus in FUNERAL FOR A FRIEND. As Bookreporter said, “FUNERAL FOR A FRIEND is by far Brian Freeman’s most emotional novel, and to say that the ending is a wild one would be a gross understatement. Jonathan Stride is one of the more complex and therefore likable characters in crime fiction, and this latest entry in the series is a clear standout.”
Is three new books enough? Well, not this year. Okay, THE DEEP, DEEP SNOW isn’t actually new — it came out as an Audible Original in 2019 and hit the New York Times Bestseller list. But print readers have been waiting for the book ever since, and a paperback edition (e-book, too!) finally arrived in October. The book got a starred review from Publishers Weekly, which called it “enthralling” and said “readers will have a tough time putting this one down.”
So now we’re really done for the year. But you better get reading! I’ll be back in early March with an all-new standalone thriller, INFINITE, which I can’t wait to put in your hands.
FUNERAL FOR A FRIEND marks the tenth Jonathan Stride novel, going all the way back to IMMORAL in 2005. Which naturally begs the question: Do you need to start at the beginning?
In fact, I deliberately write my series books as standalones, so that you can begin anywhere and get a full, rich experience of the characters. I tell readers: You wouldn’t expect to limit yourself to friends you met in your teens or twenties. You’ll meet people throughout your life, and if you enjoy them as people, you’ll want to find out more about the stories that made them who they are. That’s the way a good series should work, too. Once you meet Jonathan Stride in FUNERAL FOR A FRIEND, I hope you’ll want to go back and read some of his earlier stories, too.
Critics agree! Here’s what North Carolina’s Mountain Times says: “Ten books into Brian Freeman’s Jonathan Stride series, “Funeral for a friend” traverses a literary tightrope that few authors can manage: the novel works equally well as a standalone for a first-time reader, or as part of the fuller Stride canon for his longtime fans….Freeman’s characters here are as developed as his plot, and even if this is your first foray into the Stride universe you’ll come to know Serena, Stride, Cat, Maggie and others as family.”
They also praise the book’s “masterful diversions, deceptions and angular plotting.”
So even if you’re new to Stride, dive in.
It’s here! My new novel FUNERAL FOR A FRIEND is available now in e-book, hardcover, and audio. I hope you’ll get your copy and dig in.
Fans of my books know that I like to write thrillers that deliver an emotional punch. And that’s what you’ll get in FUNERAL FOR A FRIEND. I don’t write about super-heroes or super-villains. I want my characters to be real people with stories you care about – even as you’re gasping for breath and turning the pages to find out what happens next.
This is my tenth novel in the Jonathan Stride series, and many early readers have told me that FUNERAL FOR A FRIEND is their favorite book yet. It’s a book that showcases Stride’s passionate loyalty as a hero, but it also leaves you wondering: How far would a truly decent man go to protect someone he loves?
Are you new to the series? Don’t worry, I write each book so that the characters and plots stand on their own, so you can dive right in. Of course, once you get to know Stride, I hope you’ll want to go back and discover his earlier adventures, too.
After THE BURYING PLACE came a Jonathan Stride two-fer: my Stride short story “Spitting Devil” and the novella TURN TO STONE.
I took a break from Stride for a couple of books back then, writing THE BONE HOUSE (the first Cab Bolton novel, set in Florida and Door County Wisconsin) and then the stand-alone SPILLED BLOOD, which went on to win the Thriller Award for Best Hardcover Novel from the International Thriller Writers Association.
But Stride was still busy behind the scenes. “Spitting Devil” takes place shortly after the close of THE BURYING PLACE and is a wonderfully creepy look at a young wife named Alison Malville who is slowly going insane as she suspects her husband of being a serial killer. (Special note: the Malvilles reappear several books later in crucial roles in the full-length Stride novel MARATHON.)
Then, as we were getting ready for the launch of the next Stride book THE COLD NOWHERE, my editor and I decided to “re-introduce” Stride to readers who had missed him for a couple of years. So I wrote the novella TURN TO STONE, which is all-Stride — no Serena, no Maggie. TURN TO STONE takes Stride to a small town in Wisconsin to visit his mother’s grave — and he becomes enmeshed in a very dark mystery. This novella is also the only book in which the ending surprised even me! I thought I knew how everything was going to wrap up…but then, as I wrote the final chapter, the entire story turned on its head. Stride saw it coming — but I didn’t. But then again, he’s the detective, not me.
“Spitting Devil” and TURN TO STONE were both released as e-book and audio exclusives. Click below to find them on Amazon:
I also have a limited number of special print editions of both stories that we made for sale at library events. You can order those from the Spitting Devil and TURN TO STONE pages at my web site (bfreemanbooks.com).
What a wonderful honor! I am so very pleased to see LA VERITA SBAGLIATA (the Italian edition of THE VOICE INSIDE) voted as 2019’s Best Thriller in Italy’s top thriller magazine/blog Il Giallista. Thank you to all of my amazing Italian readers for your support!
Lots of library events coming up in the next week!
This Saturday, I’m at the library in Osceola WI at 1:00 pm.
On Sunday, I’m down in Waukee, IA at the Lutheran Church of Hope at 2:00 pm, where my intense and topical thriller MARATHON is this year’s selection for the Dallas County Reads program.
And next Thursday, I’ll be at the North Mankato Taylor library at 6:00 pm.
At all three events, I’ll share fun stories from the last 15 years in the publishing business! I’ll take all of your questions…and I’ll give sneak previews of my 2020 releases, including the stand-alone Minnesota thriller THIEF RIVER FALLS and the next novel in the Duluth-based Jonathan Stride series, FUNERAL FOR A FRIEND. Oh — and I’ll also talk about being chosen to take over Robert Ludlum’s Jason Bourne series, with my first Bourne novel THE BOURNE CONSPIRACY due out in the summer of 2020.
My books will be available for sale and signing (remember, the holidays aren’t far away!).
April is the perfect month to get to know my San Francisco-based hero, Frost Easton.
The first book in the series — the #1 bestseller THE NIGHT BIRD — is a Kindle monthly deal, so you can put it on your device at a great price.