Brian Freeman is small-town tough in ‘Spilled Blood’

If you’re tried Brian Freeman’s books — many of them crime novels focusing on cops and lawbreakers in Minnesota — you know Freeman writes with a little bit of … kink.

There’s an element of the lascivious in his stuff. His female cops are sexy but have secrets. His male protagonists are sexy … but have secrets. Everybody’s a little on edge.

There’s a lot of edge but not as much of the old dirty stuff in “Spilled Blood,” Freeman’s latest mystery. It’s still a very enjoyable read.

The story follows Chris Hawk, a lawyer estranged from his wife and daughter. Chris leaves the big city and heads for small-town Minnesota when his teenage daughter, Olivia, is accused of murdering a teenage rival.

Of course, the towns of St. Croix and Barrons have plenty of secrets. St. Croix is the struggling blue-collar town while Barrons is the more upscale town where a chemical company is located. For the past few months, trouble between the two towns has been threatening to boil over because of a series of cases of cancer in St. Croix. The citizens there, including Olivia and her mom, suspect the chemical company of poisoning their town.

And it just so happens that the murdered girl was the daughter of the chemical company CEO.

Chris has to untangle the mysteries of the two towns, save his daughter and his wife and navigate his way through a cast of antagonists that includes murderous young hoods and an anonymous environmental crusader with his sights set on the chemical company.

Freeman is a clever writer. His characters are likable and his stories really move along at a good pace.

Spilled Blood” is a good, fun read.



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