Published By: Minotaur Books

Book Category: Fiction, Suspense

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Reviewed by Jeff Foster

In Brian Freeman's latest thriller, Stripped, we find Jonathan Stride in Las Vegas where he has followed the new love of his lif,e Serena Dial. After a few months bumming in Sin City, an unexpected opening in the Detective Unit at Las Vegas Metro lures Stride out of his self-imposed retirement and back onto the job.

His first assignment is the cold-blooded murder of a famous Hollywood director's son. MJ Lane is not your run-of-the-mill tinsel town party boy. MJ is flying high and running with a fast crowd and spending Daddy's money, and ultimately it's what gets him killed.

At the murder scene, Stride meets his new partner, a stunning woman named Amanda Gillen, who turns out to be a transvestite. Here I have to tell you that when I first read the synopsis for this book to do the review, I passed on the book. This just didn't sound like something that anybody who was writing their second book could pull off. I was wrong.

Not only does Freeman pull this character off with an edge as sharp as Damascus steel, he breaks a few of the other criminal thriller stereotypes and weaves a story that will keep you captivated from the first chapter all the way through to the climax.

The core of the plot revolves around the mysterious death of an adult nightclub performer named Amira Luz. Her death, in the Rat Pack era of the 1960's burgeoning Las Vegas, was obviously covered up by powerful people, who as time has gone by have become older and more powerful. At the center are casino owner and millionaire playboy Boni Fisso, his muscle man Leo Rucci, and a mysterious pool boy that no one ever questioned.

The case gets stranger and more obtuse as a series of widely disparate individual stories are expertly woven into the novel. Stride, Serena and Amanda follow up on bizarre clues and meet one eclectic personality after another, all of which can only reside in the thin, dry air of the high desert of Las Vegas.

Stripped is a granite cornerstone, which Brian Freeman will use to keep the character of Jonathan Stride alive for a very long time.

Armchair Interviews says: Wow, sounds like a great read.

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