Hilary and Mark Bradley are trapped in a web of suspicion. Last year, accusations of a torrid affair with a student cost Mark his teaching job and made the young couple into outcasts in their remote island town off the Lake Michigan coast. Now another teenage girl is found dead on a deserted beach... and once again, Mark faces a hostile town convinced of his guilt.
Hilary Bradley is determined to prove that Mark is innocent, but she’s on a lonely, dangerous quest. Even when she discovers that the murdered girl was witness to a horrific crime years earlier, the police are certain she’s throwing up a smoke screen to protect her husband. Only a quirky detective named Cab Bolton seems willing to believe Hilary’s story.
Hilary and Cab soon find that people in this community are willing to kill to keep their secrets hidden - and to make sure Mark doesn’t get away with murder. And with each shocking revelation, even Hilary begins to wonder whether her husband is truly innocent.
Freeman’s first stand-alone thriller since his Stride novels is a knockout.
©2011 Brian Freeman (P)2011 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
“Brian Freeman is, quite simply, a first-rate storyteller.” (Nelson DeMille, New York Times best-selling author)
The Dragon Mother
Mark Bradley and his wife Hilary think they have it all. They have finally found love. They both have jobs they love, a new house they love, and they think all is going well for them. That is until a mother reads her daughter’s diary and finds that her daughter has written some very sensual things in there. Things about sex with her teacher, Mark Bradley. Then it is trial by gossipy neighbors and co-workers. Hilary thinks she knows her husband better than to suspect him of doing the deed with a young girl and decides to stand by him as he faces ridicule, loses his teaching job, and is ostracized by his so-called friends.
On a vacation to Florida to watch a dance competition, a young girls turn up dead on the beach outside of Mark and Hilary’s hotel. Unfortunately for Mark, not only does the girl turn out to be the sister of the girl he is accused of having an affair with, but he is the prime suspect. When Mark and Hillary return to the small town where they live, they will find out that they are no longer welcome. People believe Mark is guilty and want him gone, permanently.
As the investigation unfolds, Mark starts behaving erratically. Hillary starts to have doubts about her husband and wonders if there is something else he isn’t telling her.
This was a very suspenseful murder mystery. Right up until the ending, I still couldn’t decide if Mark was a lying, cheating jerk or just a guy suffering from ‘outsider’ syndrome. If you have ever lived in a small town you know what that is. The new people are never to be trusted, they are never allowed into inner circles, and are always the first to have fingers pointed in their direction when things go wrong.
This was my first novel by author Brian Freeman and it won’t be my last. I really enjoy a story that keeps you guessing right up until the end.
The Narration Review
This audiobook was narrated by Joe Barrett. I enjoyed his calm narration through most of the book and really enjoyed it when things started heating up and getting exciting. It was like he was right there with me in the suspense department. When you read a book and it comes to the suspenseful part you tend to read a little faster until you are almost ripping the pages as you turn them. That is what I felt like Joe was doing. It felt like he was so gripped by the story that he was feeling all the emotions that I was feeling and couldn’t wait to take me with him on the ride.
Speaker, Coach, Author - in Reno, NV (A GREAT place!) I've been an avid Audible fan for several years. Listen on my iPhone many hours each week.
I love this narrator and appreciate his professionalism and delivery. To me, this was a perfect Audible book - because it was a good listen and there were times that I wanted to put it on double speed, as you can do with an iPhone, to hurry up and find out what happens. Toward the end, there were a few scenes that dragged because they seemed a bit overextended...but still, OK. Worth a purchase or a credit. There were surprises throughout (although why Hillary and her husband would stay in a community that didn't want them there is hard to imagine. Tougher that I am, I guess :) Or it's a novel...)
Scary, compelling, mysterious
The plot has you guessing throughout, everybody seemed like they could be a suspect
Since this book I've listened to another of his, overall he's just a great reader
Nothing like that, it was my first Brian Freeman book, I've now become a fan of his work
I started listening to audiobooks to help with my commute to work. I now listen to books while I sew and do my crafts.
I listened to this book in a day because it just keeps you guessing; did he do it? Listen a little more and think, no he didn't do it - and awhile later - he might be the killer after all - no wait - Is it____? This is my first Brian Freeman book and it will not be my last. The one thing that bothered me was his wrap up at the end. I had to "rewind" a few times to put the sequence of events in order to solve this mystery. I think the author got so excited about his ending plot divulsion, that he ran through it too fast. I did not really understand why a house getting burned had anything to do with a teacher molesting a student? Anyway, I would suggest listening to this book and say "pay close attention to the last quarter of the book!
Tell us about yourself!
As this story unfolds, incidents and attitudes from the past are intertwined with the current investigation of the murder of a troubled teenage girl. It proceeds in an isolated, opinionated community with a sheriff that is sure that he knows the truth about all the local dirt.
A teacher is assumed to be guilty and is treated accordingly. His wife is sure he is innocent and pursues leads to exonerate him. An out of state detective does his own investigation and uncovers local biases. Independently the wife and the detective manage to sort out the truths. There are several story strands and twists that lead to the conclusion. Some are predictable and several are not.
This is a well written and engaging book. It seems low key, but the many subplots pulled me in and kept me guessing.
Joe Barrett is an excellent narrator.
Yes. It's good but frustating for the idea that people are innocent until proven guilty.
The decription of the area.
Conversations between two people who trust and believe in each other.
Never believe everything you see.
It is truly a mystery.
I love to read... love to listen while I walk my dog, Sally Jo.
I initially thought this book was about a "haunting." Surprise, surprise, it was a mystery. But it was a great story. Many good characters and a nice twist and turn at the end.
Yes, it is a very absorbing book.
None come to mind.
yes, it was speedy. It matched the subject's pace.
So glad to get this one out of my Library. It is one of the books I will return, do not use a credit on this one, waist of a credit by all means. # 2 of my all time ( Not Like ) Books!
I really enjoyed this story, as it had many twists, and many I did not see coming. I really liked the characters, and it was suspenseful, and kept me hanging throughout the story. It was very believable, and the story laid out easily enough to understand and follow. I think the narration was excellent as well.
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