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Author: Jeffery Deaver

Title: Edge

Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton

Hardback: 420 pages

ISBN: 978-1-444-70444-0

Price: £18.99

Publication Date: 28/10/2010

The second Jeffery Deaver novel to be published this year [after The Burning Wire], Edge is a standalone thriller that occurs over the course of only a few days – giving it an almost real-time feel. As is the author’s wont, there are a lot of acronyms and terms for the reader to get their heads around [wits, lifters, shepherds, getting an edge, etc.]. This attention to detail is a theme of Deaver’s novels and, whilst it undoubtedly adds to the feeling of authenticity, it does tend to take a little while to get used to. But once it gets into the swing of things, Edge is a fast-paced read with car-chases and shoot-outs aplenty.

At its heart is the slightly cipherous Officer Corte who, like Madonna, goes by just the single name. Working for an unnamed US government organisation, Corte’s job is to guard [or ‘shepherd’, as he refers to it] individuals in possession of dangerous or potentially lucrative information. Thus when D.C. detective Ryan Kessler is targeted by Corte’s arch-nemesis, Henry Loving, Kessler and his family are put under Corte’s protection. Loving is a ‘lifter’, hired to extract information by any means necessary – blackmail, murder, or torture [Loving tends to favour the simple but effective sandpaper and alcohol route].

As with any good thriller, the task our hero faces is never easy. From the Kessler family’s frustrating unhelpfulness and Ryan being a drunken cop with a hero-complex, to the interference of his superiors, Corte is faced by an ever-increasing number of distractions that complicate the cat-and-mouse game being waged with Loving. And just to add more spice – and because no piece of crime fiction is ever really complete without it – Corte is driven by a need for revenge against the elusive lifter, which threatens to cloud his judgement when it comes to protecting the Kesslers.

A number of these elements are fairly staple fare in contemporary crime thrillers, and undoubtedly their use in Edge could have been quite clichéd. However, Deaver, with the authority and knowledge gleaned from his many years as an author never allows this to happen and once again shows quite how adept he is at creating twists and counter-twists that keep the reader constantly on their toes. Filled with suspense and action, Edge is another competent and assured thriller from Deaver and certainly whets the appetite in advance of his next book, the highly anticipated new James Bond novel, to be published in the UK on the anniversary of Ian Fleming’s birthday, the 28th May 2011.
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