Occupation: Duluth Police Lieutenant

It’s race day. Five in the morning. We’ve already closed the streets.

There’s no sun over the lake today, just black clouds. The morning is cool, and drizzle spatters the streets. The spectators don’t mind; nothing keeps the people of Duluth away from the marathon. I can already feel the excitement at the finish line. People cheer; people clang bells. There’s a sense of anticipation, waiting for the first of the runners to arrive.

For me, there’s a sense of foreboding, too. Maybe that’s just my cop’s imagination. Maybe this will be one more perfect summer day. But I have mixed emotions about the marathon this year.

On one hand, it’s the city’s crowning event. Tens of thousands of runners and spectators fill the streets and line the shore of Lake Superior.

On the other hand, I can’t help thinking about what happened in Boston.

There’s energy in crowds, but there’s also a threat. My team and I are on high alert this year. We’ve got a tactical van near the finish line. We’ve got bomb-sniffing dogs. We smile, but we study every face. That’s the job of a cop. To see everything.

This isn’t just a job for me. It’s personal, too. My wife, Serena, is running the marathon. The teenage girl we adopted, Cat, is hanging out with the crowd on the last block to cheer her on.

My name is Jonathan Stride. I’ve been a Duluth cop for thirty years. This is my town – born and raised here. When you spend this long in one place, you don’t see strangers anymore among the people you protect. The whole city is a family to me. But like other parts of the country, our family is divided.

We’ve had protests in Duluth for weeks that have split the city. Everyone is screaming at each other; no one is listening. I feel like we’ve become a dry, dry field, waiting for a single match to burn us all down.

It’s a bad time. It worries me to see thousands of people crowded together in the midst of so much unrest. And yet this is also the kind of event we need to bring us together again.

There’s a cheer in the crowd now. Steely Dan is playing over the loudspeakers, and people are laughing and dancing. I love to see the excitement on all the faces, caught up in the energy of the morning. Good for them. That’s what this day is all about.

Me, I’m looking at everyone with a backpack.

The race is about to begin.


You can read more about Jonathan in Marathon, the eighth book in the “Jonathan Stride” thriller series.

On a rainy June morning, tens of thousands of people crowd into Duluth for the city’s biggest annual event: the Duluth Marathon. Exhausted runners push to reach the finish line and spectators line the streets to cheer them on. Then, in a terrifying echo of the Boston bombing, there is an explosion along the race course, leaving many people dead and injured.

Within minutes, Jonathan Stride, Serena Dial, and Maggie Bei are at work with the FBI to find the terrorists behind the tragedy. As social media feeds a flood of rumors and misinformation, one spectator remembers being jostled by a young man with a backpack not far from the bomb site. He spots a Muslim man in a tourist’s photo of the event and is convinced that this was the man who bumped into him in the crowd–but now the man’s backpack is missing.

When he tweets the photo to the public, the young man, Khan Rashid, becomes the most wanted man in the city. And the manhunt is on.

But are the answers behind the Duluth bombing more complex than anyone realizes? And can Stride, Serena, and Maggie find the truth before more innocent people are killed?

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Meet the author
Brian Freeman is the author of more than a dozen psychological thrillers, including the #1 Amazon bestseller The Night Bird and the internationally acclaimed Jonathan Stride series. His books have been sold in 46 countries and 20 languages. He is widely acclaimed for his “you are there” settings and his complex, engaging characters and twist-filled plots.

His novel Spilled Blood won the award for Best Hardcover Novel in the annual Thriller Awards presented by the International Thriller Writers organization, and his novel The Burying Place was a finalist for the same award. 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. Freeman lives in Minnesota with his wife, Marcia.

Connect with Brian at bfreemanbooks.com, on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

All comments are welcomed.

Marathon is available at retail and online booksellers or you can ask your local library to get it for you.

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