“A remarkable debut . . . The beginning of an exciting new series.” —Harlan Coben
“A tough, compassionate novel.” — The Boston Sunday Globe
“ Full of true character and jagged surprises. King adds new dimensions of depth and substance to the modern crime novel.” —Michael Connelly
“King's descriptions of Florida's backwaters put him right up there with James W. Hall and Randy Wayne White—excellent company indeed.” — Chicago Tribune
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 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Just when you thought the Florida Everglades couldn't possibly sustain another detective, along comes Max Freeman in this fiction debut by King. About a year and a half before the start of the story, Max had moved to the swamps of southern Florida from Philadelphia to forget. A career cop until he shot a very young, armed black convenience-store robber, Max happens on the dead body of a child as he makes his obsessive rounds of the Everglades. Because this is the third such murder in the insular community recently, Max comes under suspicion himself and, in self-defense, starts investigating. Included among the suspects are the hunters and trappers, who are hurting from encroaching development; longtime residents, who detest the new arrivals; and environmentalists, who are regarded as loonies anyway. However, even such hot-button topics as serial murder and environmentalism can't keep this vessel afloat under the weight of the morose, obsessive, and totally humorless Max. An optional purchase in an already crowded field. Bob Lunn, Kansas City P.L., MO Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Adult/High School-Once a street-savvy Philadelphia cop, Max Freeman now spends his time canoeing in the Everglades where he uses the physical exertion of paddling to battle the nightmares he carries with him. His last active duty involved the accidental killing of a 12-year-old who was helping to rob a convenience store, and he still suffers from psychological wounds. When he finds a child's body on one of his nightly canoe trips, he becomes a suspect. Questioned by local police, he learns that this murder is one of a series recently committed close to his area and he begins the long, complex task of tracking down the perpetrator. King paints a vivid picture of the Everglades, intense enough to conjure up the hum of mosquitoes before they bite. Scenes come clearly to mind as he describes the heat, ever-present moisture, thunderstorms, and reptiles. The sense of place and the memorable main characters carry the plot without major doses of intense violence or language.-Pam Johnson, Fairfax County Public Library, VA Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Philadelphia cop Max Freeman thought he'd left the worst of his life behind when he killed a 12-year-old thief in self-defense and left the force. Abandoned by the SWAT team wife whom he'd given up without a struggle when he saw where her eye was roving, he's taken his disability payoff and retreated from the civilized world into a stilted shack at the edge of the Florida Everglades. But the Glades can be as nightmarish as any blasted cityscape, as Freeman finds when the canvas-wrapped package his canoe nudges in a quiet river pool turns out to be a dead child. Alissa Gainey is the fourth victim of the Midnight Murderer, who's kidnapped and killed three other children in ways that suggest both the wildest side of Florida wildlife and the losing battle environmentalists are fighting against powerful developers and well-heeled tourists. Freeman's grisly discovery brings him to the attention of the joint task force partnering county sheriff's investigators and state law enforcement. It's a potent combination, and one that looks like more than a match for the beleaguered, and increasingly suspect, Freeman. Already tormented by flashbacks to his traumatic twelve years on the force, he finds himself hamstrung between cops eager to nail him for a horrendously unpopular series of crimes and a killer who seems to be dogging his every attempt to get to the bottom of the mystery with brutal disapproval. King's debut tells a familiar story with somber authority and a keen appreciation for the wildness of the Glades and its people.