Jeffery Deaver's novels usually feature as lead characters either the crime fighting team of Lincoln Rhyme and Amelia Sachs, or the criminal investigator Kathryn Dance. A book featuring one set of these characters generally appears once each year. The last Rhyme/Sachs novel, The Burning Wire, was published in June of 2010. Therefore no new Deaver novel was expected until 2011, but then Edge appeared out of the blue.
Edge is neither a Rhyme/Sachs nor Dance novel. In fact it has an entirely new cast of characters. The main character is a senior federal protection officer named Corte. He goes by that one name alone and it is only one of the mysteries surrounding him. He plays everything close to the vest and rightly so as he deals with very evil people.
In this book he is trying to protect Ryan Kessler and his family. Ryan is a Washington, DC police detective who has somehow caught the attention of a "primary" who wants some information he has. It is up to Corte to protect Kessler and his family from the "lifter" who has been hired. A "lifter" is the person who extracts the information from the "principal" or his family.
In this case the "lifter" is Henry Loving, a vicious man who killed Corte's mentor several years prior to this new case. Loving is known to be one of the vilest "lifters" around as he will torture people viciously to get the information he needs.
Loving is determined to get the information and Corte is determined to protect the people under his care. This time it is personal because of Loving's murder of Corte's mentor/friend. Both Loving and Corte are extremely talented at playing this game in which they are involved. Of course by game's end one of the will probably be dead.
The beauty of Deaver's work is in the detail. He crafts his stories with so many twists and turns that it would take a wizard to guess the outcome. In this book the answers seem so obvious at times and they never are. Loving is just as smart and crafty as Corte so he is able to match him point/counterpoint each and every time.
Plus no one is exactly who or what you think they are, even Corte. Revelations are made with the turn of each page and the basic premise only unfolds at the very end. It is like falling down the rabbit hole where everything is turned upside down.
In many ways this is one of Deaver's most personal books as he gives his lead character a chance to grow and to surprise us. He is a man scarred by his past and molded by his present. The reader gets to see inside his head and learn slowly what makes him tick. He is such a fascinating character that Deaver has to bring him back again in some future novel.
Deaver has been commissioned to write the next James Bond book and this will certainly make him the focus of much attention from the press and from the public. His spin on Bond and his adventures should truly be unique. Still it is hoped this doesn't distract him from his real vocation which is writing amazing novels like this one.
Deaver creates deeply twisted plots that draw us into his web of excitement. Then he spellbinds us with his inventive mind. Truly there is only one Deaver and long may he reign as Master of the Game.
Edge is published by Simon and Schuster. It contains 397 pages and sells for $26.99.
Jackie K Cooper