Cover Image: The Zero Night

The Zero Night

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THE ZERO NIGHT (PolProc-Jonathan Stride-Chicago-Contemp)
	Brian Freeman – 1st in series
	Blackstone Publishing, Nov 1, 2022, 379 pp.
	RATING: VG+

	First Sentence:  The man with the briefcase sat on a bench in the drowning rain.

	Lt. Jonathan Stride has been on medical leave after nearly dying of a gunshot wound.  Now, his former colleague, Maggie Bei, is urging him to come back when Attorney Gavin Webster asks for his help.  He claims his wife has been kidnapped, but despite paying the ransom, she has not been returned.   Stride’s wife, Serena, is 6,607 days into her recovery from alcoholism.  Hearing her abusive, drug-addicted, alcoholic mother has died tests Serena’s strength and recovery. Can she keep her life, and marriage, together while helping Stride solve a crime?
	This book has some serious plus points as well as negative points.  To get the negative points out of the way, the plot focused too much on all the angst of the characters.  Many of us may have known abuse victims and those who are addicts.  Both are horrible situations.  Although one empathizes with the characters, especially Serena whose inner struggle and pain is conveyed very well, it all becomes too dark; too heavy.  There is also one really bad “too-stupid to live moment.”
	There needs to be some light in the story other than as provided by Maggie Bei, Strides’ replacement while he is on medical leave.  Without her, the story would have been without any humor.  It was her friendship with Stride that kept things moving forward.  Serena’s relationship with the bartender is much more toxic than Stride’s with Maggie, and a test of her strength.  One longs for books or a series with a family such as is found in Donna Leon’s “Brunetti” series or Cynthia Harrod-Eagles’ “Bill Slider” series.  But all was not lost.  
	THE ZERO NIGHT does have a  plot that is wonderfully twisty-turny.  There are a lot of excellent red herrings and some good suspense with an ending that is very well done.  Unfortuanatey, the next book is intended to be the end of the series. One hopes the characters will have found some sense of healing and normalcy.
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Another wonderful addition to the Jonathan Stride series!
At home recovering from a gunshot wound, Jonathan Stride has been on leave from the Duluth Police Department for more than a year. When a woman is kidnapped under suspicious circumstances Maggie Bei, Jonathan's partner, tells him it's time to get back to work.
As Stride investigates the crime he also has to deal with a crisis in his own marriage.
Action-packed and unputdownable!
With each novel it's always wonderful to revisit the characters I have come to know in the Stride series.
A series I highly recommend!

Thank you to NetGalley and Blackstone Publishing for an arc of this novel in exchange for my honest review.
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What is there not to love about a Brian Freeman novel? Anyone familiar with the author’s work knows there will be two or more differing storylines, as unrelated as they can be, which will soon converge; you don’t know when or how.  

For me, Strider’s storyline took a backseat, and Serena took centerstage. While reading this book, you discover that you will not like all the characters, but they play their part in bringing Serena long-deserved peace.  

While Serena may have to begin again, with her support team in place, she will thrive.
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Jonathan Stride is back for his 11th novel in The Zero Night by Brian Freeman.  There is a lot going on in this novel right off the bat.  A familiar defense attorney has his wife kidnapped and Stride, still recovering from his injuries, is  convinced to come back and work the case.  Meanwhile his wife, Serena, finds out that her mom has died. This leads her to contemplating drinking for the first time in a long time. She also decides to revisit a case that she ruled suicide two years.

This book is very addictive from the start. As with any book for Mr. Freeman, there are a number of twists and turns throughout the story. I will say one of them was kind of easy to guess, but Mr. Freeman does such a good job disguising his twists that I found myself second guessing through the novel.   I thought each storyline was very strong and could’ve stood on their own. Mr. Freeman did an excellent job leaving the two stories together to make one. It was very interesting to see Stride and Serena both on separate cases and dealing with their own personal problems.

If you like a good  thriller with unsuspected twists and turns. This is the book for you. It is an easy and fast read that you won’t want to put down.  The characters are well developed, and don’t feel like you can’t read this book if you haven’t read the rest of the series. It works as a standalone novel, but I would recommend picking up the rest of the series.
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Jonathan Stride has been on leave from the Duluth Police Department  for more than a year, ever since he almost died from a gunshot wound.  But when Maggie Bei, gets called about a suspicious abduction involving a local lawyer, she tells Stride it’s time for him to come back.  Attorney Gavin Webster says he paid $100,000 in ransom money to the men who kidnapped his wife. Now they’ve disappeared with the cash, and she’s still missing. Gavin claims to be desperate to find her—but Stride discovers that the lawyer had plenty of motive to be the mastermind behind the crime.  Meanwhile, Stride's wife Serena is dealing with the death of her mother, and struggling with her sobriety.  After Serena gets put on desk duty, she begins hunting through old police files and starts to ask questions about a mother’s death that was written off as suicide.  That file may turn out to have ties to the case that Stride is working.
I am a huge fan of this author's books and this one did not disappoint.  It had a great mystery with lots of twists and turns that will keep you guessing until the very end.  If you are a fan of thrillers, then you need to add this one to your TBR pile.  I highly recommend it!
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This is the thirteenth Jonathan Stride book by one of my FAVORITE authors, Brian Freeman, and this strong series truly just keeps getting better!

This intense story has well-developed characters and an intricate plot guaranteed to keep the reader guessing! Told primarily through the third person perspectives of Jonathan and his wife, Serena, we soon see there are problems in the Stride marriage. But they are professionals as they work to solve the fascinating case of local attorney Gavin Webster’s missing wife that grows much more complicated than it first appears!

Though this is the thirteenth book in this popular series, each book can be read as a stand alone novel. The action moves fast and promises to keep the reader turning the pages!

I thoroughly enjoyed this book as I have enjoyed all of Brian Freeman’s writing. Along with the Jonathan Stride series, Freeman also writes the Detective Frost Easton series and the Cab Bolton series, as well as several stand-alone novels. He was also chosen to take over the Robert Ludlum Jason Bourne series. 

If you have not read this author and you love stories with a strong plot line AND well-developed characters. Then I encourage you to start with this one!

My sincere thanks to @blackstonepublishing and @netgalley for my gifted digital copy. My thoughts are my own.
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Thanks for the ARC-loved The Zero Night. Freeman's books always have just the right amount of suspense and intrigue and I can't turn the pages fast enough!
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Jonathan Stride has been recovering from a gunshot wound when he is brought back to the force by a call from his partner, Maggie Bei.  A local lawyer's wife has been kidnapped and despite paying the ransom, she has not been returned.  But all is maybe not what it seems.  Meanwhile, Jonathan's wife and fellow officer Serena is going through her own struggles dealing with the death of her abusive mother.  She goes down a rabbit hole of a cold case involving an alleged suicide.  This is a solid police procedural but what sets it above is that the author does a great job of giving the lead characters depth and emotional resonance by delving into their inner struggles.
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Love this author and series. The characters feel like old friends. I did not guess who the bad guys were! A book full  of suspense and your favorite characters! A must read!
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Detective Jonathon Stride has been recovering from a gunshot wound for the last 14 months. When he decides to see if police work is still for him, the case presented to him is a tangled mystery. Attorney Gavin Webster claims his wife was abducted and he did what the kidnapper asked—he didn’t call the cops and he did fork over $100,000 cash. Does Gavin actually want his wife found or is he responsible for her disappearance?

At the same time, Stride’s wife, also a law enforcement officer, is losing it since the death of her abusive mother. Their marriage has been on the rocks for a while, and now Serena is taken off the Webster case for her own mental health. Where this leads her is down a rabbit hole of a cold case.

The clues in this novel as to who is responsible for various crimes kept me guessing until the end. There is a lot about alcoholism and parental neglect, so that was pretty dark, but this is a well-done mystery.

Thanks to NetGalley for the opportunity to read this book, which is the 11th in the series. It RELEASES NOVEMBER 1, 2022.
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I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

The Zero Night is book 11 in the Jonathan Stride series, but it was the first book by this author that I have read. You can read it as a standalone. References to things that happened in the past are complete enough that you know what's going on, but you may feel like you want to go back and read the earlier books! The story was fast paced and suspenseful. I enjoyed it!
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It was clear that this story was going to present a mystery that I assumed I’d spend practically the whole book trying to unpick and resolve, and that there would most likely be a dramatic ending that would inevitably involve violence. That’s okay, it’s precisely what I signed up for when I selected this novel. What I didn’t realise, and what I actually found most appealing about it, is how deeply I was to become drawn into the lives of the characters. There’s emotional depth here, bags of it.

This is the latest in a long running series featuring Duluth cop Jonathan Stride, his family and his colleagues. I’ve dipped in and out of it (as is my want) so I’ve missed chunks of the group’s history. As the story begins, Stride is recovering from a serious gunshot wound and hasn’t worked in a year. There’s some doubt as to whether he’ll ever return. He’s romantically entangled with Serena, who he lives with and had also worked with, and in the background (and sometimes the foreground) are others who feature large in both of their lives. 

A man reports the kidnapping of his wife, in circumstances that throw suspicion on his own actions in the lead up to the alleged event. It’s quite possible that events unfolded exactly as he describes them, but is there more to this than meets the eye? There is money in the mix, not only the ransom demand but also a background involving riches lost and found. This is going to be a tricky one: a woman is certainly missing but by whose hand and to what end?

As the investigation and the search proceeds, we get deeper into other matters that are occupying the minds of the various characters. There is a family death, backgrounds of neglect and abuse, alcoholism and mental health issues. This might sound grim, and I suppose it is, except it really fleshes out the players and provides context for their moods and their actions. I found myself drawn in, the matter of the kidnapping receding into the background. 

The only false note in the whole story occurs as it reaches its its conclusion. Here, an action is taken which is out of step with everything that preceded it, a ‘why did they do that’ moment which gift wraps the opportunity for a dramatic climax. In truth, resolution of this tale is it’s weakest component: after setting up a set-piece ending, loose ends are tied up a little too easily and far too neatly for my tastes. It’s a pity and I really wish the author had been a little braver in this regard. But overall it’s an enjoyable read with deft scene setting, excellent characterisation and strong dialogue all ticking boxes for me.
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Agent Stride is back in the game after being shot and almost dying.  His former partner, Maggie Bei, pleads with him to come back and work on a case involving the apparent kidnapping of the wife of a local lawyer.  The lawyer, Gavin Webster, claims to have paid the ransom money and the kidnappers didn’t return his wife as they agreed.  Gavin may have had motive to be the mastermind behind the disappearance.  As Stride finds a path back to work, he also finds trouble in his own marriage as his wife struggles with her abusive past and alcoholism.  

The author keeps you on the edge of your seat throughout the story and the characters are well developed.  You can relate to the behaviors and the triggers along the way and the plot will keep you guessing until the surprise ending.  I highly recommend the book and the author.
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A kidnapping,  murders, betrayal. This book has it all.  There were so many twists that caught me completely by surprise.  I highly recommend this book.  Thank you to net galley for an advanced readers copy.
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Another 5⭐️ for Brian Freeman. 
This is the eleventh installment in the series. 
Jonathan Stride and Maggie Bei search for a lawyer’s kidnapped wife while Jonathan’s wife Serena investigates the suicide of a woman two years ago. This book is full of twist’s and turns and didn’t want to put it down. 
Thanks NetGalley, Blackstone Publishing and Brian Freeman for the chance to read this ARC!
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Brian Freeman is a master storyteller. He beautifully crafts such detailed and deep stories to thoroughly involve the reader. In The Zero Night, he visits some of his favorites, Jonathan and Serena Stride... what initially begins as a kidnapping of a lawyer's wife, quickly spirals into something so much more. And, it's written magnificently. I became hooked on Mr. Freeman's writing with The Deep, Deep Snow and The Ursulina.... both have become favorites of mine to re-read as I always see something new... A big thank you to Blackstone Publishing for an advanced reader of this book. The views expressed are my own.
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Serena and Stride are at a crossroad in their lives but when two separate cases and death knocks on their door, the vulnerabilities and their fierceness take center stage as they tackle the perspective cases. The author knows how to tell a complex story where the visually descriptive narrative puts you in the middle of all the actions and a variety of emotions are awaken as the solid plot plays out on the page and all you can do is sit back and follow along with what the author has intended. As this story reached a fevered pitch, the abundance of plot twists, some that gave me pause, enhanced my reading pleasure. When all was said and done, this book blew me away and I did not want it to end. I wanted more Stride and Serena. This is by far, the best book in this terrific series.
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This is another winner in a series I like very much. 

Jonathan Stride is recovering from a gunshot wound that nearly ended his life and his wife, Serena, is dealing with the death of a mother whom had no chance of mother of the year. Throw in a kidnapping and a cold case involving a suicide…..no way they could be connected, right?

The plot is intriguing, the character development is spot on, and the ending….well you will have to read it for yourself. 

Highly recommended!
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Interesting plot premise.  Zero Night is an original plot.  Love his books. Zero Night keeps you turning the pages well into the night.  Great characters.
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In 2018, when I started reading Brian Freeman’s Alter Ego, (#9 In the Jonathan Stride series), I kept thinking “wait, I KNOW this Jonathan Stride, a cop from Duluth, I recognize his house…” But then I thought maybe I was getting him mixed up with a character in John Sandford’s Lucas Davenport/Virgil Flowers series – or maybe it was in one of Owen Laukkanen’s Kirk Stevens/Carla Windermere series – holy crap,  how many mystery/thrillers are set in Minnesota, right? Apparently, quite a few! It turned out to be a 5-star read for me. Thanks to Blackstone Publishing and NetGalley, I received a copy of The Zero Night, #11 In the Stride series, in exchange for this honest review. Since 2020’s Funeral For A Friend (#10 in the series) was only 4-stars, I jumped in, hoping for another ***** read. 

Freeman is an absolute master at creating setting (I admit I keep feeling cold reading about Duluth in the winter). As this story opens, Stride is recovering from a gunshot wound After nearly dying of a gunshot wound, Jonathan Stride gets a call from his partner, Maggie Bei, calling with information about a suspicious abduction involving a local lawyer. Maggie tells Stride it’s time for him to come back to work.

Attorney Gavin Webster says he paid $100,000 in ransom to the men who kidnapped his wife. Now they’re gone and so is the cash, and his wife is still missing. Despite Gavin’s claims to be desperate to find her,  Stride finds that there is plenty of motive for Gavin to have arranged the kidnapping himself. 

Meanwhile, Stride’s wife, Serena, is having personal struggles and  she loses control at a crime scene, drawing her gun on a fellow cop. As a result, she is  booted off the kidnapping case and assigned to desk duty. She  starts  looking at a cold case that becomes an obsession.The strain on both Jonathan and Serena makes for a big challenge to their relationship, and it’s all combined to make a great read. Four stars…and while this one wasn’t a solid 5-stars for me, that is possibly more due to my summer malaise rather than a lack on Freeman’s part. I’m still a fan, and recommend him frequently.
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