First Sentence: The man in the Australian oilskin coat and black cowboy hat didn’t realize it yet, but fate had already dealt him the thirteenth tarot card.
The auto of a single-car crash is found with the driver dead and without any identifying documents. In the car is a recently fired gun. When the report of a missing college student reaches the desk of Lieutenant Jonathan Stride, he’s concerned that the two cases might be related. But what would link a student and a possible assassin? The investigation leads to a film set where a movie based on one of Stride’s cases is being made by the son of the man convicted of the murders. Still, someone doesn’t want Stride to solve this case.
After a very dramatic opening, Freeman does a good job of introducing the primary characters and providing their backgrounds. He also outlines the details of the case and the perpetrator of the case on which the movie is based. Both are very helpful readers new and prior.
Freeman brings back the character Lori Fulkerson, the only survivor of the case on which the movie is being made. Even if one hadn’t read the book in which she was previously involved, enough information is provided to understand the gist of the plot and have a sense of what the victims experienced—“Two hours. The docs said I would have been dead in two hours.” He nodded. “That’s right.” “I wish you’d been late,” she said.” The scene of the woman who survived and the actress portraying her in the film is very well done.
Freeman creates an excellent sense of place. Winter in Minnesota is cold, and Freeman ensures one can “feel” that cold—“Snow dusted his hair and melted down his back like cold fingers.”
There is a cross-over of a character from another of Freeman’s series, Cab Bolton, into this one which is enjoyable even if one hasn’t read the other series. Yes, procedurally it’s a bit suspect, but fiction allows for it and the character is appealing.
The story is bang on target with its theme of sex, drugs, and powerful men who are sexual predators—“Every actress has a story about someone in this business. They swallow it down and smile and pretend it never happened. It’s what women everywhere do with powerful men.”
“Alter Ego” is filled with twists and suspense with a plot that is very relevant to today. It’s a perfect weekend or airplane read.
ALTER EGO (Pol Proc-Jonathan Stride-Duluth, MN – Contemp) – G+
Freeman, Brian – 9th in seriesQuercus – May 2018