From the Publisher
“[A] brain teaser of a thriller . . . Following the moves of Deaver’s ingenious plot is hard enough. The real trick is keeping up with his brilliant mind.”—The New York Times Book Review
“Along with a complex investigation and a dangerous cat-and-mouse game, Edge also boasts some high-stakes political drama . . . Swiftness and ruthlessness carry the book's momentum, keeping readers on the . . . well, check the title again. . . . Rumors are that Edge might kick off a new series for Deaver [and] Corte's combination of professionalism and duplicity offer the chance for conflicts, both internal and external, to deepen. In the meantime, Deaver has been commissioned to write the next James Bond novel—a golden opportunity he's clearly earned.”—The Washington Post
“[A] twist-filled thriller . . . In Mr. Deaver's kaleidoscope world, the odds seem to change with each turn of the page.”—The Wall Street Journal
“Jeffery Deaver is one of the most reliable and prolific writers of mysteries and thrillers. . . . And some of his books are among the best thrillers written. The Bone Collector and The Coffin Dancer are brilliant, involving and creepy to the max. The Vanished Man is brilliant although less creepy, kind of a tribute to thriller-writing, in a way. Those three are all Lincoln Rhyme mysteries—his quadriplegic forensics investigator is one of the most popular characters in mystery fiction ever created, and certainly one of the best among living writers. Deaver's latest, Edge, is not a Rhyme mystery, but it's still one of Deaver's best, a book that grabs readers on its first page and doesn't let go.”—San Jose Mercury News
“The action is a cat-and-mouse weave of clues and counter-clues. . . . This is vintage Deaver at his best.”—Toronto Globe and Mail
“Another Deaver winner.”—The Toronto Sun
“Completely and utterly thrilling. . . . Deaver has created a story where nothing is as it seems. The only thing you can be sure of is that it will keep you on the edge of your seat from start to finish.”—Sunday Times (South Africa)
"Anyone who doubts the Ian Fleming estate's choice of perennial chart-topper Jeffery Deaver to pen the next James Bond novel need only savour his latest standalone barnburner, Edge. . . . A master of brilliantly paced misdirection, Deaver could teach a post-grad course in thriller writing."—The Winnipeg Free Press
“Deaver unveils some nifty new tricks in this edge-of-your-seat thriller . . . Deaver’s first first-person narrator, Corte, is an exciting new weapon in the author’s arsenal of memorable characters.”—Publishers Weekly
“Fans of Deaver’s fiendishly clever suspensers (The Burning Wire, 2010, etc.) won’t be surprised by the nonstop deceptions, reversals, shocks and surprises, but this time they’re even more varied than usual, and, given the characters’ backgrounds, a lot more plausible. The result is his most successful thriller in years.”—Kirkus reviews (starred review)
…if the timing of the plot shifts grows predictable, the surprises themselves don't. Swiftness and ruthlessness carry the book's momentum, keeping readers on the…well, check the title again.
The Washington Post
Thriller Award–winner Deaver (The Bodies Left Behind) unveils some nifty new tricks in this edge-of-your-seat thriller that pits two worthy antagonists against each other. Henry Loving, "a lifter," specializes in extracting information from human targets by any means necessary (i.e., torture). Corte, "a shepherd," is an agent in the Strategic Protection Department of a secret government agency normally assigned to protect high-profile targets. An intercepted communication identifies Loving as the lifter ordered to target Ryan Kessler, a Washington, D.C., metro detective. While Corte attempts to protect Kessler's family and identify the "primary," Loving's employer, Loving seeks the edge to get the information he needs to extract. Corte, a board game aficionado and game theory student, and Loving are well matched, sharing a history that ups the stakes and makes the contest personal. Deaver's first first-person narrator, Corte, is an exciting new weapon in the author's arsenal of memorable characters. (Nov.)
Deaver's (www.jefferydeaver.com) latest stand-alone work introduces Corte, the senior official of a highly secretive Witness Protection Program-like government agency. While "shepherding" people whose lives are in danger, Corte and his team come up against Henry Loving, a brilliant psychopath who has a personal history with Corte. The narrative, which occurs over the course of a weekend, takes some wild turns that will keep listeners guessing until the very end. Actor/musician Skipp Sudduth skillfully keeps the pace moving along, slowing down where necessary, as when Corte engages in some retrospection on his past association with Loving. Deaver fans and anyone liking a good thriller will be clamoring for this one; highly recommended. [The New York Times best-selling S. & S. hc also received a starred review, LJ 10/15/10; the Pocket Star pb will publish in September 2011.—Ed.]—Joseph L. Carlson, Vandenberg Air Force Base Lib., Lompoc, CA
Deaver's latest nail-biter features a blank-faced hero from a shadowy federal agency whose job is to protect menaced innocents from kidnappers and killers who don't want them to be protected.
The bad news is that Henry Loving, the ruthless freelance "lifter" who specializes in using physical torture to extract information from targets who know too much, wasn't killed in Rhode Island two years ago; he's very much alive and headed for the home of D.C. Metro police detective Ryan Kessler. The good news is that Corte, the Strategic Protection Department officer assigned to protect Kessler and his family, now has a shot at revenge against Loving, who tortured and murdered his mentor Abe Fallow six years ago. Corte's first attempt to protect his charges—Ryan Kessler, his daughter Amanda, his second wife Joanne and her flaky sister Maree—by moving them to a safe house is undermined by strong opinions from the Kesslers and the first of many attacks by Loving. Taking advantage of what he's learned about the lifter from the attack, Corte, an obsessive game-player, shifts his strategy, trying to identify Loving's client by figuring out what Kessler could know that would make him so dangerous. But Kessler insists that his current cases are routine, and all the while that Corte's struggling to put the pieces together, Loving is learning more about his strategies and reactions. As each combatant seeks an edge over the other, the game between them becomes more and more wildly twisted, with so many embedded subplots, threats and distractions that you'll welcome Corte's canned profundity ("People will do anything to anybody—if the edge is right") if only because it provides moments of relief from the otherwise breakneck action.
Fans of Deaver's fiendishly clever suspensers (The Burning Wire, 2010, etc.) won't be surprised by the nonstop deceptions, reversals, shocks and surprises, but this time they're even more varied than usual, and, given the characters' backgrounds, a lot more plausible. The result is his most successful thriller in years.
Read an Excerpt
“WE’VE GOT A bad one, Corte.”
“Go ahead,” I said into the stalk microphone. I was at my desk, on a hands-free. I set down the old handwritten note I’d been reading.
“The principal and his family’re in Fairfax. There’s a go-ahead order for a lifter and seems like he’s under some time pressure.”
“A couple of days.”
“You know who hired him?”
“That’s a negative, son.”
It was Saturday, early. In this business, we drew odd hours and workweeks of varying lengths. Mine had just begun a couple of days ago and I’d finished a small job late yesterday afternoon. I was to have spent the day tidying up paperwork, something I enjoy, but in my organization we’re on call constantly.
“Keep going, Freddy.” There’d been something about his tone. Ten years of working with somebody, even sporadically, in this line of work gives you clues.
The FBI agent, never known for hesitating, now hesitated. Finally: “Okay, Corte, the thing is ?? ?”
“The lifter’s Henry Loving?? . I know, I know. But it’s confirmed.”
After a moment, in which the only sounds I could hear were my heart and a whisper of blood through my ears, I responded automatically, though pointlessly, “He’s dead. Rhode Island.”
“Was dead. Was reported dead.”
I glanced at trees outside my window, stirring in the faint September breeze, then looked over my desk. It was neat but small and cheaply made. On it were several pieces of paper, each demanding more or less of my attention, as well as a small carton that FedEx had delivered to the town house, only a few blocks from my office, that morning. It was an eBay purchase I’d been looking forward to receiving. I’d planned to examine the contents of the box on my lunch hour today. I now slid it aside.
“In Providence? Somebody else was in the building.” Freddy filled in this missing puzzle piece, though I’d almost instantly deduced—correctly, from the agent’s account—exactly what had happened. Two years ago the warehouse Henry Loving had been hiding in, after fleeing a trap I’d set for him, had burned to the ground. The forensic people had a clear DNA match on the body inside. Even badly burned, a corpse will leave about ten million samples of that pesky deoxyribonucleic acid. Which you can’t hide or destroy so it doesn’t make sense to try.
But what you can do is, afterward, get to the DNA lab technicians and force them to lie—to certify that the body was yours.
Loving was the sort who would have anticipated my trap. Before he went after my principals, he’d have a backup plan devised: kidnapping a homeless man or a runaway and stashing him in the warehouse, just in case he needed to escape. This was a clever idea, threatening a lab tech, and not so far-fetched when you considered that Henry Loving’s unique art was manipulating people to do things they didn’t want to do.
So, suddenly, a man a lot of other people had been content—I’d go so far as to use the word “happy”—to see die in a fire was now very much alive.
A shadow in my doorway. It was Aaron Ellis, the head of our organization, the man I reported to directly. Blond and fiercely broad of shoulder. His thin lips parted. He didn’t know I was on the phone. “You hear? Rhode Island—it wasn’t Loving after all.”
“I’m on with Freddy now.” Gesturing toward the hands-free.
“My office in ten?”
He vanished on deft feet encased in brown tasseled loafers, which clashed with his light blue slacks.
I said to the FBI agent, in his office about ten miles from mine, “That was Aaron.”
“I know,” Freddy replied. “My boss briefed your boss. I’m briefing you. We’ll be working it together, son. Call me when you can.”
“Wait,” I said. “The principals, in Fairfax? You send any agents to babysit?”
“Not yet. This just happened.”
“Get somebody there now.”
“Apparently Loving’s nowhere near yet.”
“Do it anyway.”
“Do it anyway.”
“Your wish, et cetera, et cetera.”
Freddy disconnected before I could say anything more.
I sat for a moment and again looked out the window of my organization’s unmarked headquarters in Old Town Alexandria, the building aggressively ugly, 1970s ugly. I stared at a wedge of grass, an antique store, a Starbucks and a few bushes in a parking strip. The bushes lined up in a staggered fashion toward the Masonic Temple, like they’d been planted by a Dan Brown character sending a message via landscaping rather than an email.
My eyes returned to the FedEx box and the documents on my desk.
One stapled stack of papers was a lease for a safe house near Silver Spring, Maryland. I’d have to negotiate the rent down, assuming a cover identity to do so.
One document was a release order for the principal I’d successfully delivered yesterday to two solemn men, in equally solemn suits, whose offices were in Langley, Virginia. I signed the order and put it into my OUT box.
The last slip of paper, which I’d been reading when Freddy called, I’d brought with me without intending to. In the town house last night I’d located a board game whose instructions I’d wanted to reread and had opened the box to find this sheet—an old to-do list for a holiday party, with names of guests to call, groceries and decorations to buy. I’d absently tucked the yellowing document into my pocket and discovered it this morning. The party had been years ago. It was the last thing I wanted to be reminded of at the moment.
I looked at the handwriting on the faded rectangle and fed it into my burn box, which turned it into confetti.
I placed the FedEx box into the safe behind my desk—nothing fancy, no eye scans, just a clicking combination lock—and rose. I tugged on a dark suit jacket over my white shirt, which was what I usually wore in the office, even when working weekends. I stepped out of my office, turning left toward my boss’s, and walked along the lengthy corridor’s gray carpet, striped with sunlight, falling pale through the mirrored, bullet-resistant windows. My mind was no longer on real estate values in Maryland or delivery service packages or unwanted reminders from the past, but focused exclusively on the reappearance of Henry Loving—the man who, six years earlier, had tortured and murdered my mentor and close friend, Abe Fallow, in a gulley beside a North Carolina cotton field, as I’d listened to his cries through his still-connected phone.
Seven minutes of screams until the merciful gunshot, delivered not mercifully at all, but as a simple matter of professional efficiency.
© 2010 Jeffery Deaver