four-stars
Bookmarks Issue: 
19-Nov-Dec-2005
user_rating: 
0

A-ImmoralIn the bleak ore-mining town of Duluth, Minnesota, another pretty young girl has gone missing, eerily reminiscent of another recent missing-person case. But unlike the sweet innocent girl for whom Detective Jonathan Stride is already searching, Rachel Deese is a smug, unrepentant vixen, savvy in the manipulation of others. The case soon becomes mired in revelations of vengeance, perversion, and treacherous intrigue. Stride develops into a haunted detective: the recent death of his wife darkens his days. But he is likable, quirky, and sharp—and persists in searching for a possible murderer even as he uncovers devastating secrets.
St. Martin’s Minotaur. 352 pages. $22.95. ISBN: 0312340427

Seattle Mystery Bookshop 4 of 5 Stars
"Freeman’s characters are multi-layered, and as Stride diligently tries to find out what happened to them, especially to the most recent girl, Rachel, he learns that no one is completely good or bad, except possibly Rachel herself. . . . This debut shows a deep understanding of the complexity of human behavior and is, yet again, another worthy debut." Fran Fuller

South FL Sun-Sentinel 4 of 5 Stars
"Freeman, a business writer and marketing executive, delivers a near pitch-perfect first novel that soars with believable characters, crisp dialogue and, for the most part, logical twists and turns. . . . Immoral may very well be one of the best debuts of 2005." Oline H. Cogdill

Dallas Morning News 3.5 of 5 Stars
"Tightly written with a strong sense of place and character, Mr. Freeman’s first published novel is based on the premise that moral people behave in a predictable way, but that immoral people in the world obey only their own wishes. This novel is filled with those immoral ones, and Stride’s determination to get past that immorality makes it a compelling read." Laurie Trimble

Critical Summary

Freeman’s debut, which Bookspan selected as International Book of the Month, resounded with its critics. His is a highly intricate story, veering with sharp turns and switchbacks. In fact, his acrobatic plot may be excessively so, overindulging in too many clever flips and flops. No doubt, his prose can be worthy cause for wincing ( "Tight black jeans, the kind you need a knife to cut yourself out of"), but Freeman paints the requisite cold, gray atmospheric tones for a tale of murder, sex, and intrigue. For an old-school visceral ride of thrills better than most, and for an introduction to a strong, new character, Immoral is a pleasurable foray into the shadows of immorality.