King, Jonathon

Max Freeman
The Blue Edge of Midnight The Blue Edge of Midnight (2002)
From Publishers Weekly
With his first novel, King jumps into James W. Hall territory and lands firmly on his feet. Ex-Philadelphia cop Max Freeman, haunted by his killing of an adolescent robber, has retreated to an isolated cabin in the Florida Everglades. When he discovers the body of a kidnapped youngster, the victim of a serial killer, Freeman becomes a suspect who can clear his name only by finding the murderer. Although this is an often-used plot device, the author's stylish prose and insider's knowledge of the sinuous, dangerous Everglades give the gimmick a fresh twist. Especially fine are the passages showing the different faces of Florida as Freeman travels between his austere cabin and the plush penthouse apartment of his Palm Beach lawyer, Billy Manchester. A scene in which Freeman seeks out a group of furtive Everglades natives in their natural habitat reeks with atmosphere. In fact, King uses descriptions of places and environment to reveal character and attitude, much as Hall, James Lee Burke and Robert B. Parker do, if not as smoothly as those established masters. While fans of Carl Hiaasen's black humor or Lawrence Shames's wacky characters may not find this novel to their taste, most readers should hail Freeman as an appealing addition to the already large roster of independent-minded Florida investigators. Skillful writing, original characters and evocative settings initiate a welcome new series. (Apr. 1)Forecast: With a prominent blurb from Michael Connelly, this crime debut by a feature writer for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel should get off to a strong start. Based on his ruggedly masculine author photo, King would seem a natural for the TV talk show circuit.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
A Visible Darkness A Visible Darkness (2003)
From Booklist
*Starred Review* King, a longtime police and criminal courts reporter in South Florida, proves that the success of his first detective novel, The Blue Edge of Midnight [BKL F 1 02], was no fluke. This one stars the same ex-Philly cop with the shattered psyche dragged into doing some sleuthing; features the same evocative detective digs, a one-room stilt shack hidden in the middle of the Everglades; and is shot through with the same burgeoning suspense and rich, brooding atmosphere. There is one important difference, though. This time detective hero Max Freeman, traumatized from the memory of a shooting that left a 12-year-old dead, takes a few steps toward recovery, moving slowly toward the light and away from what he calls the "dead zone time," when it seems the dark silence will never lift. It begins with a call from Freeman's oldest friend, an ex-cop who needs help investigating the murders of five elderly women in the Fort Lauderdale area. Freeman uncovers an elaborate insurance scam and a serial killer as the plot moves toward a chilling climax. King sets up a powerful parallel between the primordial feel of the Everglades and the mean streets of South Florida, with civilization seeming much more cutthroat. King seems well on his way to creating a knockout series. Connie Fletcher
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
Shadow Men Shadow Men (2004)
From Booklist
*Starred Review* Welcome to Max Freeman's world. It centers on an abandoned research shack on a river at the edge of the Florida Everglades. It's lit by an oil lamp. The furniture? A couple chairs, a table, and a bunk bed, the top bunk of which is loaded with travel and history books. Freeman, introduced in the Edgar-winning Blue Edge of Midnight (2002) and met again in A Visible Darkness [BKL F 1 03], may be the most thoughtful, well-read, and multilayered private-eye hero since Spenser. He's an ex-cop from Philadelphia with a history that keeps him holed up in the wilds, venturing forth only to do investigations for an old friend, an attorney. The third Freeman novel gets its unlikely impetus from a discovery in an antique hope chest, letters from a worker on the Tamiami Trail, a road project through the Everglades undertaken 80 years ago. The letters detail the brutal conditions under which the men and boys worked. The disappearance of the letter-writer and his two sons points to a triple homicide in 1923. (The stunning first chapter showing the three men being hunted down on the river ranks among the most frightening in crime fiction.) Freeman's investigation quickly moves from history to present threat, as he discovers that any number of people want what happened on the road project to remain buried. Haunting and evocative. Connie Fletcher
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
A Killing Night A Killing Night (2005)
From Booklist
Someone is killing the women bartenders of Broward County, Florida. Max Freeman, a former Philadelphia cop, is lured by his ex-lover, detective Sherry Richards, into helping with the investigation. In the first three novels in King's award-winning series, Freeman was lying low in a stilt shack in the Everglades, trying to put his life back together. Now he is living in a more conventional beach cottage, but he seems to be asking for trouble. The case is rife with conflicts: he must work with a woman who trampled his barely mended heart, and the leading suspect is one of his former cop buddies. The earlier installments of King's adventures--The Blue Edge of Midnight (2002), A Visible Darkness (2003), and Shadow Men (2004)--were masterpieces of atmosphere and characterization. This one has lost a huge chunk of atmospheric appeal with the hero's move to the cottage (can't hold a candle to the shack in the middle of the Everglades), but Freeman's character is still quirky and complicated, and the plotting remains -eerily precise. Connie Fletcher
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
Acts of Nature Acts of Nature (2007)
From Booklist
*Starred Review* The latest entry in the Max Freeman series (King won an Edgar with the debut of cop-turned-recluse Freeman in 2002's Blue Eye of Midnight) is every bit as polished and absorbing as its four predecessors, and it trumps King's own standards for description with a stunning depiction of a hurricane and its aftermath. A longtime Philadelphia crime reporter, King knows cops well, and it shows in the hero he has crafted. Ex-cop Freeman has been holed up in a former research shack deep in the Florida Everglades, accepting some detective work from an old lawyer friend but mostly hiding himself away from his horror at having killed a 12-year-old boy in a robbery attempt. Each novel inches Freeman away from his grief and into life; King is both a master plotter and an able psychologist. In his latest, Freeman and his new love, a South Florida detective, are enjoying a break at Max's retreat when a hurricane rips apart the shack, nearly killing Freeman's girlfriend. This novel is more adventure-suspense tale than mystery, as the couple struggles to survive, first against the hurricane and then against the villains who flood into the Everglades. King juxtaposes Max's first-person narration with third-person accounts of criminals in a breathtaking series of survival moves. Gripping. Fletcher, Connie



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