by Brian Freeman

Brian Freeman seemed to come out of nowhere in 2005. IMMORAL, his
debut novel, was a critical and commercial success, building on a
canny marketing campaign and reader word-of-mouth. The center of
IMMORAL was Jonathan Stride, a flawed but sympathetic Minnesota
police detective who, at the conclusion of that work, had found a
tentative but promising happiness with Las Vegas Police Detective
Serena Dial. Freeman's latest release finds him taking chances with
his characters, stretching the limits of their professional and
personal relationships.

STRIPPED begins where IMMORAL left off, with Stride having
relocated to Las Vegas to be with Dial. The change of locale is not
without its difficulties, as Stride experiences some
fish-out-of-water dislocation. Paired with a partner who also
doesn't quite belong (for much different reasons), Stride catches a
murder case involving the seemingly random killing of a celebrity
on the Vegas Strip. The murder is anything but random, however, and
soon begins to reveal ties to the decades-old killing of a Las
Vegas showgirl. When one of Dial's cases --- an apparent
hit-and-run death of a child --- appears to have a tenuous
relationship to Stride's, the trail leads the pair into an
intricate labyrinth of political secrets with the potential to rock
the top movers and shakers in Las Vegas and beyond.

When more murders occur, it becomes clear that an angry killer is
motivated by revenge and will stop at nothing until all sins of the
past are paid for. At the same time, the case tests Dial's
relationship with Stride in a way that Stride had not anticipated.
Matters are further complicated by Stride's growing alienation from
the city of Las Vegas itself. While he doesn't doubt his love for
Dial, he is rapidly coming to the conclusion that he and Vegas are
on a collision course.

Freeman's ability to drop bombshells --- amply demonstrated in
IMMORAL --- remains fully intact here, with each page becoming more
and more explosive right up to the very end. STRIPPED will only
enhance Freeman's reputation as a thriller craftsman; his talent
runs strong and, to all appearances, deep. Make room on your
bookcase for more.

Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on January 23, 2011

by Brian Freeman

  • Publication Date: July 31, 2007
  • Genres: Fiction, Mystery
  • Mass Market Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks
  • ISBN-10: 0312340451
  • ISBN-13: 9780312340452