Title: “Infinite”

Author: Brian Freeman

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

Publication date: March 1

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Pages: 328

Reviewed by: Chuck Frederick, News Tribune

The latest work from New York Times' bestselling author Brian Freeman is “very different from my others,” the Minnesotan said.

But that’s definitely in a good way — perhaps in an even more heart-pounding, what-a-ride kind of way. A lot like the parallel universes that torment and baffle Dylan Moran throughout “Infinite,” the new novel finds a place seamlessly with Freeman’s popular-particularly-in-Duluth and set-mostly-here Detective Jonathan Stride series of books as well as his other works over a 15-years-and-counting writing career.

Rather than Duluth, “Infinite” is set in Chicago — as well as in the “Many Worlds” that, in the book, are created with each of life's choices. After failing to save his wife from a roaring river that consumes her and their car, Dylan Moran realizes a different him is traveling between these planes of reality, with evil intent. He finds that he needs to save himself — from himself.

Marketed as a thriller and a psychological thriller, “Infinite” is all that, but it’s also very much a horror story. It has the wonderment and glad-to-be-along-for-the-ride intrigue reminiscent of Stephen King’s “11/22/63.” And it has the creepy, is-he-going-insane mystery of fellow Minnesota author Tim O’Brien’s “In the Lake of the Woods.” While reading, I even found myself recalling the dark unease of the 1999 big-screen thriller, “Jacob’s Ladder,” starring Timothy Robbins.

The author’s storytelling genius only grows stronger and more mature in “Infinite.” His characters, like always, are as real life as they are imperfect. Already known for tales with more twists than Skyline Parkway, Freeman's new release is a fast-paced and super-creative guess-fest.

Even his common can’t-hide-from-your-past theme shines through. Consider this passage: “You see, there are moments in your life you are desperate to take back as soon as they happen, but the clock ticks, and they’re gone. You make your choice, and an instant later, nothing is the same.” And this one: “You can’t simply undo the choices you regret from another life. That’s not how it works.”

Lovers of the Stride series, fret not. In addition to Freeman’s multiple forays into standalone books and other series, he hasn’t forgotten Duluth. A new Stride novel, “The Zero Night,” is being written right now, according to a Feb. 8 social-media post from Freeman’s wife, Marcia, also, always, his first reader. In addition, Freeman’s second Jason Bourne-franchise book, “The Bourne Treachery,” is scheduled for a July release. And “The Ursulia,” a followup to 2020’s “The Deep, Deep Snow,” is expected by the end of the year.

But first comes “Infinite,” due in bookstores on March 1. With its fast-paced suspense, keep-you-up-late horror, and nonstop intrigue and thrills, it’s a book easily consumed in a single sitting. Maybe two.

“I really had a lot of fun writing it,” Freeman said.

Readers will have a lot of fun devouring it.

Seeking

  • Lake Superior Writers is accepting entries for its annual writing contest. Categories: Poetry (1 to 3 poems), short-short fiction (1 or 2 submissions of up to 500 words), short fiction (a single submission of 1,500-2,500 words), and creative nonfiction (a single submission of 1,500-2,500 words). First place winner in each category will receive $200 and publication on the LSW website. Runner-up in each category will receive $50. The theme is “lockdown.” Writers may interpret this theme as broadly as they wish. You might write about the tension found in everyday experiences or the profound struggles faced by people, resulting in a feeling of being in “lockdown” or actually being in lockdown. The LSW Writing Contest is open to adults age 18 and older. Entry is free for LSW members; $35 for non-members, which includes membership in LSW. Graphic content that is violent or sexual in nature is prohibited. Deadline: April 12. For more information, go to lakesuperiorwriters.org/2021-writing-contest.

Events

Sam’s Club presents celebrated and best-selling authors reading from their books in honor of Black History Month. The readings will be over Zoom. Signup now via the links below.

  • Vashti Harrison, "Little Leaders Series," children’s title, 10 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 20. Click here to register.
  • Meena Harris, "Ambitious Girl," children’s title, at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 20. Click here to register.
  • Linsey Davis, "Stay This Way Forever," children’s title, 10 a.m. Feb. 27. Click here to register.

Sam’s Club also offers a Culture and Kindness book collection in every club and online. This collection features more than 30 titles to encourage open mindedness and allow kids and grownups to celebrate differences, learn empathy and increase understanding while also helping start conversations with peers and children of every age.