Stride is Back

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.

Click to find the book on Amazon, BN, Audible, or Bookshop.

Top 10 of 2020

Amazon published a list this weekend of their top 10 bestselling mysteries/thrillers of 2020 so far. There are books from some big household names: Grisham, King, Baldacci, Coben, Koontz.
 
And right there with them: THIEF RIVER FALLS, with what they call a “jaw-dropping reveal.”

Countdown to Stride

There’s a great article by Chuck Frederick in today’s Duluth News-Tribune about all things Stride and Bourne. Click here to read the article.

We’re in September, so the countdown to the new book has started. The latest Jonathan Stride novel, FUNERAL FOR A FRIEND, releases on September 22. You can pre-order your copy at Amazon, BN, or other retailers.

Want a SIGNED copy? I’ve got two ticketed virtual events coming up later in the month, and buying a ticket gets you a signed copy shipped by the bookstore. Just click one of the links below to buy your ticket:

Bookstore at Fitger’s (September 22, 6:00 pm CT)

Mysterious Galaxy (September 29, 9:00 pm CT)

 

Cross-Over

And so we come to the most recent Jonathan Stride novel, ALTER EGO…at least until September 22, when the new Stride book FUNERAL FOR A FRIEND is finally released.

I’ll tell you a secret. I originally envisioned ALTER EGO as a Cab Bolton novel. Given Cab’s Hollywood mother, it made sense to have him as the hero in a book that focused on the sleazy secrets of a famous actor. However, the more I thought about it, the more I liked the idea of giving this plot to Stride…so that Stride could deal with an “alter ego” who is filming a movie in Duluth based on one of his cases.

But I couldn’t give up Cab entirely, could I? So ALTER EGO became my first cross-over novel, where Stride and Cab BOTH appear as main characters.

People have asked me whether ALTER EGO was inspired by the exposure of Harvey Weinstein and the eruption of #metoo protests in Hollywood. Actually, I turned in the novel a couple of weeks BEFORE the Weinstein scandal broke in the press. That prompted my editor to ask, “Hey, did you know something??”

So be sure to catch up on all of the Stride books…from IMMORAL through ALTER EGO…because you’ll want to be ready for Stride’s big return in September.

Click to find ALTER EGO at Amazon.

For Your Book Club

One of the most tragic elements of the bombing at the Boston Marathon was the way it violated an event that was so much a part of the heart of the city of Boston. In many ways, Duluth has a similar relationship with its own annual marathon. So when the tragedy happened, I knew that, one way or another, something like this would have to become a part of Stride’s world.

However, I don’t write straight terrorism or political thrillers. My books are more psychological, more rooted in intimate family drama. So I needed to find a way to write about a marathon tragedy — but do it in a way that was true to my storytelling.

MARATHON was the result. It’s rooted in a similar violent act (although I made sure that what happens deliberately occurs offstage). My focus in the book is less on the terrorism itself and more on the aftermath — particularly how suspicion and rumor in the age of social media can tear apart the lives of innocent people. Duluth in MARATHON is at a breaking point (does that sound familiar?), and the novel rips at many of the most difficult social threads before finding ways to bring people together.

This was a tough, emotional book to write. I think it’s that true for readers, too. I had readers who felt overwhelmed and wrote to me unsure of whether they could go on — but once they did, I think they felt a great sense of catharsis at the end of the book. So I hope you take the journey on this one — and that you share it with your friends and book clubs. I believe this is a book worth talking about.

Click here to find it on Amazon.

Past and Present

Readers “met” Stride’s late wife, Cindy, in my fourth novel IN THE DARK — but that was through the unreliable eyes of my book-within-a-book narrator, Tish Verdure. So I wanted to write a book in which I would actually take readers back to Stride’s past, where Cindy is alive…so they can see what their relationship was really like.

After THE COLD NOWHERE, this was the perfect time to write GOODBYE TO THE DEAD, because Stride’s relationship with Serena was at a crossroads. In order to really move ahead, he needed to come to terms with the loss of Cindy — in essence, to say goodbye to the dead. Serena also had to have her own reckoning with Cindy, to realize that the rosy glow of Stride’s memory didn’t necessarily reflect the complexities of his marriage.

So GOODBYE TO THE DEAD has a unique structure among the Stride novels. The first half is set in the past, when Cindy is alive, and the second half is set in the present — and the mystery ripples through the years in between.

This book features the first trial sequence in one of my novels since my very first book, IMMORAL. One of Minnesota’s county attorneys was very gracious in sharing trial transcripts and reading my initial drafts to make sure the legal side of the book felt authentic. The more books I write, the more I find readers with special expertise who are very helpful when I do research.

GOODBYE TO THE DEAD also includes one of the more shocking scenes I’ve written…a violent, emotional shooting inside Duluth’s shopping mall. One of the details I included was abandoned cell phones beginning to ring on the floor of the mall — and it was very poignant to read not long after of that same thing happening in the wake of a real mass shooting.

Click to find the book on Amazon.