Saturday, May 8, 2010

Saturday Spotlight ~ Favorite MALE Mystery Author

Welcome to the Saturday Spotlight, where each week we will have a chance to showcase something new.  It will be the place to gather, talk and shine the “spotlight” on all things book related.  Not to mention a place to discover new to us authors, characters, series and places. 

 Each week I will pick a new theme for us to share our favorite of, and every once in a while I’ll make it a “readers choice” week where you can spotlight whatever you want.

  Some of the different things we’ll be spotlighting are our favorite book, author, female/male character, location, murder weapon, series, other book blogs, giveaway sites, places to get our books and just about anything else book related.

This week my spotlight is shining on my ......

Brian Freeman
I LOVE LOVE LOVE Brian Freeman's Jonathan Stride series. 

Get to Know Brian

Brian Freeman is an international bestselling author of psychological suspense novels featuring Lieutenant Jonathan Stride. His books have been sold in 46 countries and 18 languages and have appeared as Main Selections in the Literary Guild and the Book of the Month Club.

“Who is Brian Freeman?” says bestselling author Michael Connelly. “This guy can tell a story.”

Nelson DeMille echoes that sentiment, saying, “Brian Freeman is a first-rate storyteller.”

Brian’s debut thriller, IMMORAL, won the Macavity Award and was a nominee for the Edgar®, Dagger, Anthony, and Barry awards for best first novel. IMMORAL was chosen as International Book of the Month by book clubs around the world, a distinction shared by bestselling authors such as Harlan Coben and Karin Slaughter. He published his second novel STRIPPED to widespread critical acclaim in 2006. STRIPPED hit the Globe and Mail bestseller list in Canada and was named one of the top 10 mysteries of the year by the South Florida Sun Sentinel. The novel was a finalist for the Minnesota Book Award.

The Library Journal review of his third novel, STALKED, noted that “Freeman just keeps outdoing himself with each book.” The Chicago Tribune called STALKED “a perfect blend of psychological suspense and crime fiction.” His fourth book, IN THE DARK (called THE WATCHER in the UK), was released in 2009. Publishers Weekly gave the novel a starred review, calling it Brian’s best book yet, “harrowing and heartrending.”

Brian's latest thriller, THE BURYING PLACE, was just released. Upon its release in the UK in 2009, the reviewer at the Daily Mail in London called it her discovery of the year, saying: "Fleshed-out characters, high tension and terrifying twists put Freeman up there with Harlan Coben in the psychological crime stratosphere."

The drama in Brian's books is driven by the emotions and secrets of the characters. "My goal is to write books with haunting characters and a lightning-fast pace," he says. "My stories are about the hidden intimate motives that draw people across some terrible lines. The twists and turns keep you turning the pages, and each piece in the puzzle gives you new insight into the heroes, victims, and villains."

"I don't like books where the characters are all good or all bad," he adds. "I want them to live in the real world, where morality means tough choices and a lot of shades of gray. I hope that's why readers relate so intensely to the people in my books."

For Brian, launching a worldwide publishing career at age 41 was the culmination of thirty years of fascination with writing suspense fiction. “I started my first ‘novel’ in sixth grade,” he recalls wryly. “It was about the death of a chess grandmaster. This was in the Bobby Fischer and Boris Spassky days. I called it Checkmate. Who knows, I may yet go back to that one.”

He credits two unusual sources for his career: his grandmother and his eighth grade composition teacher. “My grandmother really spurred the family obsession with crime fiction. She used to tell us, ‘I’m reading this great new book. It’s got lots of bodies in it!’” His middle-school teacher spotted his obsession with writing and encouraged him to follow it. “She pretty much scrapped the lesson plans for me and simply told me to sit in a corner and write. The next summer, I finished my first full-length novel.”

Freeman rattles off a list of novels he wrote at various points in his life as he honed his craft: a thriller about the kidnapping of a U.S. president; a surreal erotic fantasy about a classical composer (“perfect for an idealistic college kid,” he says), and then three mysteries ranging from racial violence in Minnesota to sexual obsessions in a revival Shaker community to sins and crimes among the super-rich of Newport, Rhode Island.

“I recall James Michener saying that you should only get published after you’ve written a million words,” Freeman says. “By the time I wrote IMMORAL, I must have been just about there.”

Brian on Brian: What is Psychological Suspense?

What can you expect from Brian's books? Here's how he describes them in his own words:

I've never been a fan of putting novels in boxes.

To me, each novel should stand on its own based on its plot and characters, because the styles of all good authors are necessarily different. You may find echoes from author to author, or even book to book, but each novel (even among a series from the same writer) should rise or fall on its unique merits.

Here's an example. The Chicago Tribune review of STALKED said that my books should be on the to-read list for anyone who enjoys books by Harlan Coben and David Baldacci. I'm not complaining! That's high praise to be put in the company of two very successful writers. But my style really isn't much like either Coben's or Baldacci's. Yes, my books are fast-paced, with lots of twists and turns, like their novels, but I don't do suburban suspense like Harlan or political thrillers like David.
On the other hand, I know it's a useful shortcut for readers. If you like Coben, or Baldacci, or Connelly, or Cornwell, will you like my books? I think you will. But the reading experience will be as different as it is for each of those authors.

If I have to build a box, I want it to be my own box. So when readers ask me to give my books a label, here's what I say: If I had to carve out my specific niche in the big, wide genre of mysteries and thrillers, I'd call my novels psychological suspense.

The drama isn't about how the crime was committed (as in a literary game of Clue) or even really about how the crime is solved (such as in the forensic novels of Patricia Cornwell or Kathy Reichs or the police procedurals of Michael Connelly). Instead, the focus is really on why a crime took place to begin with. What was it about the backgrounds of the characters that drew them across a terrible line?

The result is that, chapter by chapter, the story peels back the emotions, secrets, and sexuality of the characters. Yes, there are police investigating crimes, but their voices are not the only ones in the novel. We are also pulled inside the heads of other characters, and we get to know them as complex, multi-dimensional individuals, not all good, not all bad. The suspense and drama are driven by their actions and motives. As a result, the ending should not only be shocking and unexpected; it also should feel like the last piece in the emotional puzzle and the right psychological resolution.

I actually have a specific goal for people reading my books. I want you to read them twice. The pace should be so fast that you have to keep turning the pages to get to the breathtaking climax and find out what happens and why. But when you're done, I want you to feel compelled to go back and read parts of the novel again, to pick up the nuances of the characters you may have missed the first time. The beauty of psychological suspense is that, once you know the secrets, the drama of the interactions changes and becomes something completely different. Suddenly, you know the back story; you know what's in the back of the characters' minds. It gives you a whole new perspective on the novel.

That's my box.

Visit Brian on his Facebook page, at his BLOG or his website

  Now tell me.....who's YOUR favorite mystery MALE author.

(Stolen from the lovely Jennifer @ Crazy-For-Books – thank you!)

The Spotlight isn't just for you to throw your link in there and not visit any other blogs.  It's all about networking and finding new blogs that are of interest.  So, in the spirit of the Spotlight, try to make some time to visit other blogs and don't post your link if you are not planning on visiting other blogs during the week.  This is a weekly event, so if you don't have time this week, that's fine!  Hopefully we'll see you next week!

If you sign MckLinky, make sure to leave a link to YOUR Spotlight post; please share the love and POST ABOUT THE SPOTLIGHT ON YOUR BLOG!  How else will anyone else find out about it and come join the fun?

 Please use the following format when entering your link

Blog Name (Favorite Male Mystery Author)
Example ~ Lori's Reading Corner (Brian Freeman)


ReadingRainbow said...

Very interesting writeup. I'll have to check out this books as I had never heard of him before.

Jennifer (Crazy-for-Books) said...

I still have to read his books! I gave my SIL IMMORAL to read based on your recommendation! I hope to get to it soon!!

Googie said...

Hello! I am new to the book blogging world and I found yours from crazy for books! Looking forward to reading your blog!

Mash1195 said...

I have never heard of this author, but after reading your post, will have to put him on my tbr list.
Thank you for hosting Saturday Spotlight.

Jo said...

I think I've heard you talk about his before, but have yet to try any of his books. I guess they're something for me to look forward to. =)

Sa Toya said...

Wow that was a fun read...I've not read any of his books...will need to change that right?!

Anonymous said...

I've heard really great things about Freeman, but I haven't had a chance to check out his books yet. He's definitely on my list of authors to read!
I'm a huge fan of mystery novels and I've been looking for other authors to read so I'm glad I ran across this Saturday Spotlight!
Personally my favorite male mystery author is Harlan Coben. I absolutely love his books and I've pretty much read all of his stand alone and recently started on his Myron Bolitar series.

Wendy said...

I LOVE Brian Freeman. Actually, I never would of read his work except for your high praise back in the day. Can't wait for his new book!!

VH said...

Great review. We will definitely check his out sometime (well, his works lol).

Heather said...

Great idea for a topic. My favorite is either Jonathan Kellerman or Harlan Coben. I love the Alex Delaware series (and his misanthropic best friend Milo), but I also love Myron Bollitar (and his sociopathic best friend Win). I guess it's a draw...