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Season of Fear


Season of Fear

SEASON OF FEAR has it all. For starters, it features the back-by-popular-demand Cab Bolton, whose star turn in author Brian Freeman’s intended stand-alone THE BONE HOUSE garnered sufficient readers to generate this sequel and the promise of additional volumes. It also contains what is the best Epilogue I’ve read in years. Or maybe ever. It gave me enough gooseflesh on my back to last until Thanksgiving. Throw in a compelling and truly puzzling mystery that develops into a couple of mysteries, and the landfall of a devastating hurricane as a backdrop just for grins and giggles, and you have an ambitious, complex and eminently readable novel that will keep you reading all night long.

"SEASON OF FEAR is full of fear, of course, and suspense. And surprises as well. You won’t be able to read the last hundred pages or so quickly enough. Trust no one and believe nothing until you get to the end..."

Cab Bolton is a Naples detective who is assigned to investigate a veiled threat against Diane Fairmont, who is running for the governor’s office at the top of the Common Way third-party ticket. Diane’s husband, Birch, had made a similar run for Common Way a decade before, only to have his campaign suddenly ended by a masked assassin who also killed two other people during the incident. Although someone was tried and convicted of the crime, it appears that the original assassin is back and bent on seeing that history repeats itself. Bolton, who resembles anything but a detective --- those of us of a certain age might be reminded of television cop Amos Burke in some ways --- has some prior ties to Diane. The most noteworthy of these is through Bolton’s mother, Tarla, a former actress who has been friends with Diane for several decades. Tarla delights in playfully making Bolton’s life difficult, personally and professionally, and provides a bit of lightheartedness in an otherwise somewhat grim narrative.

And grim it is. Bolton slowly discovers that while the Common Way professes to be an alternative to the two mainstream political parties, there is a dark underbelly to it. This is gradually uncovered by a somewhat unusual young woman on the campaign staff named Peach Piper. Peach is brilliant in her way but a bit of a loner, spending time mostly with Deacon, her older brother, who also works for the campaign, and mourning Justin, a coworker with whom she had become romantically attached but who had been killed several weeks prior to Bolton’s arrival in what was classified as a drug deal gone wrong. While Peach is devoted to her job, she is also obsessed with discovering the truth behind Justin’s killing. Peach is no stranger to death on the campaign trail, given that Lyle, her oldest brother, was murdered by the same killer who assassinated Birch. Is Peach unlucky? No, but death follows her even as she pursues an enigmatic trail that Justin has left for her.

Bolton is caught in the middle of a number of adverse political factions that are jockeying for position. He finds that the more he discovers, the less he truly knows, until he uncovers a clue that reopens everything he knew about events that took place a decade previously, and are about to affect the present in ways that no one --- including the reader --- will anticipate. As a deadly hurricane bears down on the Florida coast, a murderous tableau is played out, and (almost) all is ultimately revealed. At least it seems that way, at first.

SEASON OF FEAR is full of fear, of course, and suspense. And surprises as well. You won’t be able to read the last hundred pages or so quickly enough. Trust no one and believe nothing until you get to the end, which, while complete in itself, will leave you eagerly awaiting the next installment in the Cab Bolton canon.

Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on March 20, 2015

Season of Fear
by Brian Freeman