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Author Brian Freeman has brought us the highly acclaimed Jonathan Stride, Frost Easton and Cab Bolton series, along with a handful of stand-alone novels. However, nothing has quite prepared us for his most recent release, INFINITE, a psychological thriller unlike anything he has ever written --- a wild ride from start to finish.

Dylan Moran is sitting in a small-town police station somewhere in North Dakota mere moments after losing his wife, Karly, in a tragic car accident. While on a mini-vacation from their life in Chicago, they were driving on a rainy evening only to be unexpectedly overtaken by the raging river that had all but eaten the road. Once Dylan regains his memory of the events, he recalls that the automobile became submerged; although he fought valiantly, he was unable to free his wife from the vehicle as it was taken by the river. He also swears that he saw someone on the riverbank just watching them, not providing any sort of assistance, and this person looked vaguely familiar.

"It is so rare to have a psychological thriller that not only completely succeeds on that account, but also plays with your heartstrings, leaving behind an incredibly memorable reading experience."

To make matters even worse, it turns out that Karly recently had a brief infidelity, and they were hoping to talk about it during their brief excursion. He never had the opportunity to forgive her and now must live with that.

Dylan returns to his job as the events manager at the LaSalle Plaza Hotel in Chicago and stays there until he is mentally ready to go back to his apartment. He sees a display in the ballroom for “Many Worlds, Many Minds,” an event featuring author, psychiatrist and philosopher Dr. Eve Brier. This means nothing to him, which strikes his colleague Tai Ragasa as odd since she told everyone at the hotel that she was there at Dylan’s personal invitation. He does some quick research and learns that the doctor specializes in theories involving parallel worlds, an infinite number of them.

After attending the lecture, Dylan waits on line to meet Dr. Brier and insists he does not know her. She signs a book for him with a note to meet her outside the hotel. He has a lot of questions for her because he had his own “parallel” experience, swearing that he ran into his doppelgänger. In fact, that man by the side of the river looked exactly like him. I will bet that I am not the only reader who had chills down his spine at this point. It made me recall old Dean Koontz (think LIGHTNING), as well as several Stephen King stories that have dealt with doppelgängers.

Dr. Brier not only knows Dylan but has been treating him with a radical form of therapy that allows him to visit parallel universes and even convene with dozens of versions of himself. The problem is that one of the Dylan Morans out there is homicidal and somehow has shown up in our Dylan’s world. As a string of murders occur, those of young women who all resemble Karly, the police start following him, and he quickly becomes the prime suspect.

All Dylan wants to do is save Karly and say that he has forgiven her. He continues to travel to parallel universes hoping to find answers that can help him in his own world --- and to track down and stop the look-alike killer who is ruining everything. Dylan even has an opportunity to meet with his best friend Roscoe, a priest who had died in a car accident years earlier in Dylan’s world. This is one of the more profound and touching parts of the novel, and the scenes between Dylan and the various versions of Roscoe will provide a different sort of chill.

In the Acknowledgements, Brian Freeman talks about how THE MAGUS by the late, great John Fowles impacted him so much as a youth that he always wanted to write a novel like it. He certainly has pulled that off here. When I review a book, I use individual colored post-it notes to save the place of pages to which I want to refer back. After finishing this one, my copy looked like a Chinese fan. It is so rare to have a psychological thriller that not only completely succeeds on that account, but also plays with your heartstrings, leaving behind an incredibly memorable reading experience. INFINITE is something special, and I cannot recommend it highly enough.

Reviewed by Ray Palen on March 5, 2021

by Brian Freeman