Review: Season of Fear by Brian Freeman (4/5)

Monday, 30 June 2014
Lake Wales, Central Florida. Ten years ago, a political fundraiser became a bloodbath when a hooded assassin carried out a savage public execution. Three men were massacred, casting a dark shadow over the Sunshine State.

A decade on, history is threatening to repeat itself. The widow of one victim, herself now running for governor, has received an anonymous threat – a newspaper clipping from that fateful day, along with the chilling words ‘I’m back.’

Florida detective Cab Bolton agrees to investigate the threat against this candidate, Diane Fairmont: an attractive politician who has a complicated history with Cab’s mother, Hollywood actress Tarla Bolton – and with Cab himself.

But by doing so, Cab is entering dangerous waters. Fairmont’s political party is itself swamped in secrecy – a fact that, unknown to Cab, has led one of its junior staff to start asking very sensitive questions about the death of a party employee.

Both Cab and this young researcher, Peach Piper, are digging up the kind of dirt that ten years can’t wash away. And as the powerful crosswinds of state politics swirl around Cab and Peach, and the threat of a tropical storm hangs over Florida, this whirlwind of pressure and chaos will ultimately unearth a poisonous conspiracy, and reawaken a killer who has lain dormant for a decade.

I am a huge fan of Brian Freeman from his Jonathan Stride series of novels. When asked if I would like to review this book, the second in the Cab Bolton series it wasn't really a question that needed answering. Freeman is one of the best writers in the business and knows how to tell a damn good story so I knew I was in for a treat. I haven't read The Bone House which is the first Bolton book but this one can easily be read as a standalone.

The first thing that stood out to me is this book is very different from the Stride books and I have to admit at first it took me a long time to get into it. I picked it up and put it down more than once, I think that's more to do with me reading SO many books lately more than anything. That said though once the story got going it really got going and I was hooked. It's not the quickest book to read but well worth the time invested. The book opens ten years ago to the murder of politician Birch Fairmont and his colleague Lyle Piper by a lone gunman. We are also introduced to the characters of Caprice Dean, Lyle's partner, Diane Fairmont, wife of Birch and finally the mother of our main character Cab Bolton, Tarla.

Then coming back to the present day we are introduced to more characters and at first it was a little overwhelming but after a while I was comfortable in the story. There's so many different threads to the story it's impossible to cover them all without giving anything away. Cab Bolton starts looking into past events and realises everyone has something to hide. The supposed shooter is behind bars, but Cab begins to suspect there may be more to it. I'm going to liken it to a jigsaw puzzle except when I put the pieces together and compared it with the picture on the box I couldn't have been more wrong. Freeman definitely keeps the reader on their toes.

A storm brews both in Florida and on the page as I got sucked in to one of the more gripping mysteries I've read in the past few months with the biggest twist at the end! I tend to avoid reading about politicians in the press and I've not read all that much about them in fiction but that didn't effect my enjoyment of this novel. The plotting is excellent and it's a very gripping thriller that rattles along at just the right pace. The writing is top notch, very descriptive - the standard you expect from Brian Freeman and the characters well crafted and believable. My favourites being Cab, his mother and Peach. I will definitely be looking to read The Bone House in the near future.

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