I've read the first couple of Brian Freeman's  novels featuring protagonist Jonathan Stride. His latest novel, The Cold Nowhere, is the sixth in the series.

A young girl trapped on a boat, pursued by an unknown assailant. She's not as helpless as her pursuer might think though...."Wherever she went, whatever she did, Cat always carried a knife." She escapes - and lands on Detective Stride's doorstep.

Stride is back working in Duluth, Minnesota. And his past has come back to haunt him as well. Stride knows Cat - he failed to save her mother. Michaela  was brutally murdered by her husband - stabbed to death, in fact. And now Cat swears someone is trying to trying to kill her too. Stride vows to help her. "He couldn't undo what was done or erase his mistakes. All he could do was make a promise."

Familiar and recurring characters appear in The Cold Nowhere - notably Stride's partner Maggie Bei and ex-lover/partner Serena Dial. I 've enjoyed these two female characters in the past. They're strong personalities. A secondary personal storyline always adds to a book. The sexual tension and rivalry between these two women and Stride has been carried on throughout this series. A little bit is good. A lot, not so much. In The Cold Nowhere, I found myself growing weary of the repetitiveness of it. And for me,  it cheapened the two female leads.

Stride is struggling with inner turmoil - for many pages.

"She'd opened the door for him, and all he had to do was walk through it. All he had do was open up. He wanted to tell her. He wanted to do what she'd done for him and lay himself bare."

Enough already.  I found myself skipping pages and glossing over these poignant moments by the middle of the book. I was looking for a novel closer to Freeman's first book (which was award winning) More crime, less angst.

The crime storyline was well plotted crime and the final whodunit was a good one. There were a few procedural/plot points that bothered me. An upscale prostitution ring may be operating because the rate of STD's in the city has risen? Hmm, if it's upscale, I wouldn't expect the rate of STD's to go up or raise suspicion. And the other one that bothered me was Maggie (who I really like) giving information about a crime/case to a civilian.

There were a few awkward similes....

"She should have been pretty, but life and want had gnawed at her face like an attack of bed bugs."

And more insects...

"Insanely cold - twenty degrees below zero. Stride felt the wind chewing like maggots at his face."

There was just too much 'stuff' that got in the way of what could have been a really good crime read. I'm in the minority on this one, as The Cold Nowhere was just an okay read for me.  Read an excerpt of The Cold Nowhere.

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