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Funeral for a Friend: A Jonathan Stride Novel


Funeral for a Friend: A Jonathan Stride Novel

Brian Freeman and his most popular character, Jonathan Stride, are celebrating their 15th anniversary together. FUNERAL FOR A FRIEND, the 10th installment in the series, is perhaps the most moving and heartfelt of all of his stories.

It begins with Stride waking up next to his wife, Serena, after suffering another recurring nightmare in which he is dead. He believes that he is having these terrible dreams because his longtime best friend, Steve Garske, is not far away from finally succumbing to cancer. Stride has always been a closed-off police officer, while Steve is a life-loving family doctor. They will have their most meaningful and confusing conversation when Steve tells Stride not to worry anymore about the Deeps because he buried the body.

"FUNERAL FOR A FRIEND is by far Brian Freeman’s most emotional novel, and to say that the ending is a wild one would be a gross understatement."

While this revelation initially will not mean much to the reader, it really hits home with Stride, who is hearing things he has not thought of in years. Steve passes away, but throughout the funeral, Stride cannot help but try to make sense of his deathbed confession. The Deeps is a dangerous part of the local riverway in Duluth, MN, which people often dare each other to jump in and face. Many have lost that challenge. Seven years earlier, an out-of-town reporter named Ned Baer disappeared and foul play was feared. The last place he was seen was the Deeps, and one of the last people who allegedly saw him was Stride.

This story consumes FUNERAL FOR A FRIEND because it ties in everyone involved in the plot, past and present. Baer had threatened to come forward with a story he came upon that would harm several residents in Duluth, some of whom are now quite powerful. It revolves around a house party attended by Stride's now ex-wife, Andrea Forseth, where she was supposedly raped. Local whispering had always held that the most popular boy at school, Devin Card, was to blame for this heinous act. In the present day, Devin is running for State Attorney General and cannot have past allegations like this resurface to sink his campaign. His friend and campaign manager, Peter Stanhope, will do anything to squash this accusation.

Stride is also in the spotlight, and not in a good way. When Baer’s body is dug up on Steve’s property, Stride becomes the primary suspect in the murder and is temporarily put on suspension from the force as the matter is investigated further. His partner, Maggie Bei, now must work on the case with Dan Erickson, her ex-lover who is not a fan of Stride. While they proceed with their investigation, Stride and his wife begin to conduct their own. The only issue is that Serena, herself a member of the Duluth P.D., is not completely sure of her husband's innocence.

Andrea will be forced to relive the most horrible night of her life, over and over again. At the same time, Devin must face allegations that nearly crushed his family years earlier when he first ran for office. Baer was far from likable, but was the story that he was about to release the truth? If so, was its contents worth killing him over? As Baer's final days are retraced, things are slowly put back together, and every road the investigations go down appears to end without a definite answer. It seems too easy for Stride or Devin to have been behind Baer's death, but sometimes the simplest solution is the correct one.

FUNERAL FOR A FRIEND is by far Brian Freeman’s most emotional novel, and to say that the ending is a wild one would be a gross understatement. Jonathan Stride is one of the more complex and therefore likable characters in crime fiction, and this latest entry in the series is a clear standout.

Reviewed by Ray Palen on October 16, 2020

Funeral for a Friend: A Jonathan Stride Novel
by Brian Freeman

  • Publication Date: September 22, 2020
  • Genres: Fiction, Mystery, Suspense, Thriller
  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Blackstone Publishing
  • ISBN-10: 1982663723
  • ISBN-13: 9781982663728