Monday, September 17, 2012

Spilled Blood by Brian Freeman

Christopher Hawk’s wife left him three years ago, taking their teenage daughter with her to rural Minnesota. Since then, Hawk has buried himself in his big-city legal practice, trying to keep up a long-distance relationship with his daughter via cell-phone. Now a call comes from his ex-wife out of the blue: sixteen-year-old Olivia is in trouble. She’s the prime suspect in the murder of another teenager, and Hawk is determined to exonerate her.

Olivia Hawk and the victim, Ashlynn Steele, were on opposite sides of a feud between two small towns. Barron, Minnesota, is the prosperous home of Mondamin, a cutting-edge research facility. St. Croix, Minnesota, is right across the river, a tiny town where cancer is having a field day. When a prominent epidemiologist found no possible connection between the cancers and the company’s research, the lawsuit brought against Mondamin by the families of the stricken failed and the feud began. No one in St. Croix can accept that it’s just random chance that so many loved ones are dying; and the teens of Barron won’t put up with the accusations. Graffiti, vandalism, and assault have become common, and Ashlynn’s murder seems like another bloom on the same poison tree.

Hawk digs beneath the surface of the feud despite the strong evidence pointing Olivia’s way, and slowly uncovers proof of something even darker than murder, which threatens the lives of his family and the populations of both towns.

Spilled Blood is Edgar Award-winner Brian Freeman’s latest psychological suspense novel. With plenty of twists and an interesting issue at its heart, it’s well worth checking out. I also recently enjoyed The Bone House, Freeman’s previous book, where a teacher accused of misconduct is the perfect fall-guy for a murder.

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