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By Jonathon King

Dutton Publishing, March 2005 ($23.95)
ISBN: 0525948651

Reviewed by Rick McMahan

Jonathon King has created an interesting and memorable character in his Max Freeman series set in South Florida. For those of you who have not read Kingís work, let me briefly recap. Jonathon King won a justly deserved Edgar for his first Freeman novel, THE BLUE EDGE OF MIDNIGHT.

In the first book, we find Freeman living as a recluse in a "research station," that is nothing more than a glorified shack. We learn that Freeman, a former Philadelphia cop, moved to Florida after a horrible shooting which left Max with scars on his body and his soul. Even though they were robbing a store and one was shooting at Max, Freeman has the heavy weight of knowing that during that shootout, he shot and killed two young boys. When Freemanís path crosses with a serial killer in the Everglades he is drawn into the fray, and slowly heís drawn back into human society. During the next two books (A VISIBLE DARKNESS and SHADOW MEN), Max Freeman is drawn into other mysteries of life and death, and in each book, we see Max move away from his hermit-existence in the Glades, though he always maintains his Everglade home as a sanctuary where he returns.

Over time, we see Maxís relationships grow and change with other cast members in the books, namely his lawyer friend Billy Manchester and his on-again-off-again love interest Sherry Richards, a local police detective.

A KILLING NIGHT is Kingís latest Max Freeman novel. Detective Richards asks for Maxís unofficial help. Sherry Richards has discovered a series of young, attractive women who work in the restaurant and bar trade have disappeared leaving family members in other states with aching questions. However, none of the women have turned up dead, and Richardsí supervisors tell her she has real crimes with real victims to investigate. The kicker is that Sherry has developed a suspect, another former Philly cop was involved in a similar scandal in Philadelphia, which resulted in him fleeing to Florida amid suspicions that he and other crooked cops killed a young Philly girl. This man lives in South Florida and is known to frequent the same bars where all of the missing women worked. Sherry asks Max to look into the manís background and help her "bag him or clear him."

If you like solid, well-thought out and well-written PI novels, then the Max Freeman series is for you.

We have reviews of earlier books in this series. If you would like to read them, please click on the appropriate title below.


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