The Mirror's Edge

The Mirror's Edge

4.3 3
by Steven Sidor

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Twin brothers, two years old, are snatched out of their Chicago home at noon on their birthday, never to be seen again. The kidnappers never make contact. The crime haunts the city, devastating those left behind.

As the anniversary of the abduction approaches, freelance journalist Jase Deering begins to investigate a case gone cold for the police. What


Twin brothers, two years old, are snatched out of their Chicago home at noon on their birthday, never to be seen again. The kidnappers never make contact. The crime haunts the city, devastating those left behind.

As the anniversary of the abduction approaches, freelance journalist Jase Deering begins to investigate a case gone cold for the police. What he finds is a paranoid former nanny who had the word "mirrorrorrim" carved into her flesh that fateful day and a trail that leads to a fabled figure, Aubrey Hart Morick. Morick, dead for many years, was an iconic practitioner of the black arts whose legacies are a scandalous reputation and a son named Graham. Increasingly convinced that Graham Morick is more than the simple, innocent man he claims to be, Jase Deering finds the line between natural and supernatural beginning to blur. His determined search for the truth may cost him, and everyone he holds dear, more than he can bear.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

As the first anniversary of the kidnapping of two-year-old twins Liam and Shane Boyle approaches in Sidor's bone-chilling third novel, Chicago freelance journalist Jase Deering decides to investigate with his partner and girlfriend, the blind Robyn Matchfrost. Jase has his own demons: his 12-year-old brother, Matthias, was abducted and murdered when they were children. With the help of police detectives, Jase traces the palindrome mirrorrorrim, which the twin's abductor carved into their nanny's living flesh, to cult leader Aubrey Hart Morick, who advocated human sacrifice. Though Morick is long dead, Jase discovers that his son, Graham, lives in the area and isn't as harmless as he first appears. As Jase spends the next 10 years delving deeper into the world of Morick's cult, he realizes that even if he finds the Boyles, it may be too late to save them or himself. Sidor (Bone Factory) is a master of the unsettling, and each twist is more grisly and unexpected than the last. Readers won't be able to resist staying up all night to finish this haunting tale, though they may wish they hadn't. (Apr.)

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Kirkus Reviews
A reporter obsessively chases a story about obsession. On their second birthday, adorable twins Shane and Liam Boyle are snatched from their home in Chicago. When no ransom note follows, freelance reporter Jase Deering's nose for news goes instantly into twitch mode. "The story found me," he insists. A story so compelling seems to justify every investigative means. So Deering remorselessly tracks down every figure in the case, however peripheral, for hard-driving interviews. Eventually his quest leads him to Graham Morick, and suddenly things take a turn toward a side so dark that even as shrewd and practiced an observer as Deering is blind-sided. Morick is the embodiment of mystery. On the one hand, he's charming and plausible enough to seem almost normal. Even so, Deering understands from the outset that he's being skillfully manipulated. To what end? What do the dark arts have to do with the twins' abduction? What is the messianic subtext that slowly begins to redefine the exercise? As Deering pursues answers, he suspects that his life will be irrevocably altered by finding them. And he's right. No doubt about it: Sidor (Bone Factory, 2005, etc.) writes brilliantly. But some readers will find it an uncomfortable ride from noir to borderline sadistic to unequivocally repellent.
From the Publisher
“Unforgetable, spellbinding, and darkly suspenseful.  Sidor must have sold his soul to the devil to write this well.” – Steve Hamilton, author of Night Work, on Skin River

“Sidor is a prince of darkness, steeped in the noir tradition and not giving an inch. That said, he is also bountifully talented.” – Kirkus Reviews on Bone Factory


“Steven Sidor keeps the pacing piano-wire taut and selects his words with a vivisectionist’s diabolical care.” – Stewart O’Nan, author of The Good Wife, on Skin River


“Ideal for those who enjoy queasy, uneasy, macabre reading – this is stomach churning suspense at its best.” – Lansing State Journal on Bone Factory


“With an eye for gritty detail and a predilection for metaphor, Sidor paints a morbid picture of deviance and death….The salty prose and clever narration will keep readers hooked.” – Publishers Weekly on Skin River

“…dark, harrowing, and unpredictable as a run of dangerous river.  Sidor plunges you into chilling waters on page one and barely lets you up for air.” – Gregg Hurwitz, author of The Crime Writer, on Skin River

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St. Martin's Press
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Mirror's Edge
Chapter 1I will start my story in a place I shouldn't. My beginning won't involve the woman I once loved, my writing partner, Robyn Matchfrost. No, and the Boyle children, those two perfect little two-year-olds who went missing and whose disappearance sent me on my darkest journey--they are not present here.This is something that happened when I was a child.My brother, Matthias, walked into the woods one winter's day when he was twelve.He never came out. 
We play soldier in the pines.A broken transistor radio serves as a walkie-talkie, a natty bedsheet--my parachute--trails behind me filling with dead leaves. I've tied two corners together; there's a hard, little knot rubbing under my chin. The enemy stronghold is a bombed-out convent in the forests of France. Barbwire hoops spiral through the courtyard. A machine gunner's nest deals murder from the bell-tower shadows. My mission: destroy the nest.I walk on the homeward side of a shallow stream. The stream cutsacross my grandparents' Michigan property like a mirror crack. My older brother holds down the tree fort, no more than a hundred yards away, armed with pinecone grenades and a plastic Tommy gun. Even poorly equipped, Matthias always makes the better Nazi. Maybe it's because he's two years older and a head taller, or it might be his shock of white-blond hair, so fair that in a certain light his eyebrows disappear. My brown curls match our father's in his childhood albums on top of the piano. Donna Cirincione--Grandma C or sometimes we say Mama's mama--she calls them my pelt.Matthias is good at giving orders. That's why he's in the fort and I stumble on the ground. Burrs hook to my pants. Dampness seeps through the sides of my boots. I tell myself not to be surprised if, instead of the pinecones, Matthias throws rocks.I gather the knot in my fist and, using my Swiss Army knife, cut. I watch my men slicing their chute cords. Good men, and many will die today. Never see home again. So much sacrificed to save an unpronounceable French hamlet and a dozen nameless, frightened nuns. I stuff the bedsheet into the hollow of a tree. We rendezvous at the water crossing. Silent, smoking--their heads cool as statues--my men fix their minds on killing Germans. After five minutes, we saddle up.The winter has been mild, and the stream can't stay frozen. I cross on loose gray slates tilting in the current. A few old patches of snow persist in the deepest shade. They're like bones floating on a sea of rusty pins.I remember the wood smell, an odor of freshly sawn boards, and I remember leaning into a tree trunk and coming away with sap on my shirt, stickiness at the back of my neck. I remember my eye catching the liquid red of a fox slipping through the underbrush.I pick up a log to protect myself. The day keeps quiet, holding its breath. Pines everywhere. There is a crow marching through a zigzag of sunlight. I swat at him. The branch whistles, missing. His wings open--feathers fanning out like a hand of black playing cards--he flaps once, hopping sideways, aloft for a single windy beat. He lands and cocks his head for a better look at me. His eye is like a bubble of oil. He opens his beaked mouth without a sound. He flies.Overheated in my new blue sweater, the wool itchy as ants, I unbuttonmy grandfather's hunting jacket--I'm wearing it because Mama says mine is too thin for the woods. As if the woods are a colder place. I decide to take the jacket off. I hang it on the sharp remains of a tree that has split in half and been fed upon by something. The pulpwood transformed to a corky orange.Mama is right about the woods.The cold is scooping under my clothes. My sweat cools to glass. I put the jacket on again, stubbornly leaving it unbuttoned. I roll back the sleeves.I've been getting over the flu. The light-headedness of being sick is still with me. I'm fogged in by over-the-counter decongestants. When I swing my arms, the sea-salt tang of my grandfather's aftershave puffs into my face. I feel a little like throwing up. Acid spiders in my throat. I swallow down saliva, winter air tasting like stones.The fort.I duckwalk through underbrush. Needles soften my footfalls. I think I hear Matthias, his voice hushed and deep from the belly. Giving commands.Constructing the fort was simple. Scrap wood from our Grandpa C's workshop, nails from his Folgers coffee can. He lent us two hammers and a hacksaw to do the job. Grandpa C liked that we were builders. Told us to take his wheelbarrow for hauling the boards. Dad would've helped us, except he's at home. I gave him my flu.The fort is like a shoebox--top off and tipped sideways. We put it up between two trees growing close together. We pounded in braces. We made a five-step ladder, nailing two-by-fours crosswise up one pine. We have to swing ourselves to get in, but a man can reach. He can reach inside and a boy will have no place to hide. 
The sergeant paces along scarlet arches of thorns. This spot, in the country of my imagination, was Nazi barbwire. But here and now is no game. We are searching for Matthias. My mother and grandfather have gone off. They picked a direction. My grandmother and a deputy named Cady have taken the opposite. I remain under the fort with thesergeant, whose name is Billy Dean Gatlin. We are within a small oval clearing directly beneath a tree. The fort is empty, the way I found it four hours ago.The sergeant fingers a carved trunk. "You boys do this?"I inch up. Stand tiptoe. "No, sir.""Possibility?""What?""I said is there any possibility Matthias could've done it?""He didn't have a knife.""Right. That's good to know," he says, finger brushing the spot of bald chipped wood and the slit. "This mark here might be a clue.""I know what a clue is.""Yeah?""It's a mistake.""There you go, partner." The sergeant meets my gaze. No nod, no additional words. Eyes gray as a bucket. Smooth chest visible inside the unbuttoned collar of his shirt. His neck is golden. He's chewing on something. Sunflower seed. He spits the husk. 
Mama finds Matthias's stocking cap. Inside out. Blond hairs pulled at the roots.The gathering at the Cirincione farm swells. My father arrives. Bleary, coughing into his fist. He has his weekend eyeglasses on. They're speckled with paint. Duct tape holds the frames together. Looking like he skipped his shower this morning. I'm embarrassed to see him in public unkempt.I tug his coat."What is it?" he asks."You forgot to switch your glasses.""Go inside the house," he says.People jostle me. Ignore me altogether. Then they realize I might be the key. I'm brought front and center. They take turns squatting down to my level. Going eyeball-to-eyeball with the kid.The only witness.Except I didn't see anything.That's not what they want to hear. They're too freaked out about the prospect of a missing boy to put on their happy faces for my sake. I see anger brewing. They need to locate my brother. I'm a path, but I'm also an obstacle. The sheriff's men seek my full cooperation. When that yields little, they convey disappointment. All the attention is yanked from me. I'm demoted to a chair next to the fridge. Under a clock that uses birds instead of numbers. Tick-tick-tick. It sounds like a baby bird, hungry for a beak filled with red worms. If they could send me away, they would.You aren't supposed to lose your brother in the woods. Even if he's your older brother, and he's the one who should be keeping an eye on you. Nice going, Matthias. Look at the jam I'm in. Where are you?The window above the sink has a spiderweb in it. I don't see any spider. The web trembles. When I switch to looking at the glass, I expect to see the sky slowly getting darker. But it's black.Where are you, Matthias?I have a thought: what if they can't find him forever? That thought is electricity. Pure fear. I'm vibrating in my seat. Hairs on my arm prickle. Static crunches my ear. My bowels go shifty and growl.I'm scared. A brand-new scared I've never been before.Midnight.The clock birds go nuts. 
At dawn, they start to find my brother. Piece by piece.The trail of body parts runs north.Up near the interstate there's a van. My dear brother's abused torso is inside. 
The family hears the news together. My coldcocked parents hit the floor. They claw each other. Moaning. Screaming names. Like the others in the farmhouse, I am a spectator to their grief. We watch them wrestle more than themselves. Strangers I've never met are crying at thesight of my parents and their pain. The farm empties. Snot teases in and out of Grandpa C's left nostril like a party whistle and Grandma C topples over. Ambulances are parked in the yard. We ride one into town. Oxygen is leaking under the mask into my grandmother's blank, wrinkled face.The siren calls out.Traffic stops for us on a beautiful Monday afternoon.I wade through this viscous dreamworld. 
I feel a quivering. Crush before it spreads. Take a Perc if they're handy.Pour liquid courage on top.Life is a mystery.That's barroom philosophy, but it's also true.Death is a riddle. We get the answer too late. No way around it. Call your answer God or Allah or Oneness. Just remember to call.Worship.Make sacrifices. Do the rituals.Obey.But you never really know, do you? How it's going to end.I don't believe in a divine order anymore. But I believe in devils. Because devils have bitten at my heels and run me through the woods of my brother's slaughter. For thirty years, they've treed me. Hounded and haunted. They've twisted me up and burnt me down. I'm walking, talking charred remains. I inhabit the wreckage of myself.He's the lucky one, they'll say.The boy not chosen. 
On the third anniversary of the disappearance, Dad falls from the twelfth-floor balcony (Matthias will always be on twelve) of a single room at the Holiday Inn in San Diego. His hometown. He pays for the room with cash. He brings no luggage. The girl at the desk remembers this: he requests a view of the bay. Alcohol pervades his system. But any blood sample drawn after his boy went missing would've come back looking like wine.My parents had divorced. He'd lost his modest law practice. Alienated his friends. Moved away as he slid precipitously down the social ladder. Self-destruction, by the time he reached the physical stage, was well learned.Mama and I get a phone call. We are still living in the Midwest, not the family house but an apartment in the same part of a different town. We don't get many calls. Once in a blue moon, it will be him. Late-nights jolts are his specialty, and it's always still early from where he's calling. The bars have let out. He's about to punch through into 100-proof oblivion. But then a little space, a bubble, must open around him where he can pretend nothing ever happened and he's feeling okay, even cheery, and he calls Mama. She listens. She doesn't scream at him. No, she eases him off to bed. I never get waved to the phone. He never asks for me, or maybe she gives him excuses if he does. He's in no condition to talk to a child. But I'm guessing he never asks.Before he headed for the coast, he'd ignored me to the point I felt nonexistent. I don't remember actually seeing him during that time. I remember, instead, the locked door to the den and my misshapen face reflected back at me--a dwarf's head and nubbin fingers--by the doorknob. We go this way and that. A carny game. Always rigged. How I boiled with hatred while staring at myself in curved brass. Dad launched into full retreat. Peered through me as if I were a creature of fog. I loved him. He loved me. But it was impossible. He seemed so afraid. He couldn't touch or talk or be alone in a room with his surviving son. Me, the live ghost. My mother hated him for the way he shivered in my presence. He did worse to her. Accusations. You're a god-damned liar. How could you? Facets of betrayal explored. Adultery. Stealing his money. His pills. He never blamed her outright for Matt's death. But, please. He took many, many pills. It seemed like an overdose every morning. Down the hatch! Chased with his dram of pulp-free orange juice and cup of French roast. Time for his daily walk. And then slugs of whatever filled the flask he sank deep into the stinking pocket of his leather coat. He'd stagger home after sunset. Void, brush his teeth, and go out again. He didn't eat anymore. He'd become a chemical and liquid man.It is a chemical and liquid man that goes over the top rail, accelerates to a blur, and breaks open on the sidewalk below. He leaves no note. People suggest this means the act was not deliberate but an accident. I can't say. He'd emptied the minibar. His shoes and socks were left on the balcony. He was too hammered to hold a pen. He'd never been a letter writer. The police find a photo inside his shirt. Matthias. Little League. He's wearing his BIG TONE'S AUTO PARTS ASTROS uniform and showing off his batting stance. Back in the hotel room, Dad's empty money clip is on the television. Wallet too. Another photo, and this one's been slipped out of a frame--too large to carry in a billfold. The edges are unbent, the backing stiff. Their wedding day.I am nowhere to be found. 
Mama and I get the ashes mailed to us in a contraption resembling a cake box, tied with yellow string, dangling from a little plastic handle and two metal hooks. Inside is a smaller box sealed with reinforced tape. Then, finally, a copper canister with a key attached to its side, like on shoe polish. I was curious. Turn. Quick peek. An eyeful of soot and nothing more. What did I expect? Cuff links? A smutty incisor half-buried in the Sahara of dust that once was my father? We put Dad next to Matthias's stocking hat on the mantel. The apartment complex doesn't allow fireplaces. But ours came with a phony setup that burns natural gas and has a wall switch. Blue tongues appear dancing behind the grate. We don't enjoy fake fires. Hardly enter the living room except when company stops by. Almost never, you could say.You wouldn't be wrong. 
"Where's Mattie?"Her darkened bedroom is right down the hall from mine. We leave our doors open. The question wakes me up. She's not hysterical. She's not awake either. I learn this from repeated experience. She never says it twice. I lie back. Pull the covers taut with my toes. Seek the moon,if it's there. Full tonight. Cornered and shredding through the blinds. Daylight hours, Mama would never ask me about my brother.Last time she did, I had no answer. That utterance defined the end of her happiness. My lack of response was the start of everything after. Incompleteness. Loose ends. The fun-house floor drops. Her question becomes a hole she can't climb out of. She doesn't need to hear another echo to know she's underground.But thoughts, dreams, and prayers she devotes to an ongoing interrogation. She is continuously asking. Directing inquiries to God or the universe. I never find out which, or if there's a difference. She does not recover. Even decades later, playing with her grandchildren on a beach in South Carolina, wearing a straw hat with a paper gardenia stuck to the crown--her body language speaks.This is wrong. We need to go back. Look again."Don't you dare ask me to smile. Go on. Take your silly picture. You never listen to me anyway." Her hand flicks up into the view of my camera as I press the button. We can always say she's waving. At least the girls are having fun. Oblivious. Hopscotching the blobs of dead jellyfish stranded by the tide. Shrieking. The girls run. Stop. Are transfixed. Reach their wrinkly fingers into the sea. On hands and knees they pluck a fiddler crab from the roiling surf. Laugh as he snips the air.But I am listening, Mama.It should have been you, Jase. Why not you?THE MIRROR'S EDGE. Copyright © 2008 by Steven Sidor. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews. For information, address St. Martin's Press, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10010.

Meet the Author

Steven Sidor is the author of the acclaimed novels Skin River and Bone Factory. He lives near Chicago with his wife and two children.

Steven Sidor is the author of acclaimed novels including Skin River, Mirror's Edge, Bone Factory. He lives near Chicago with his wife and two children.

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Mirror's Edge 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Kept waiting for improvement but it just went on and on. Did not even has an ending. Save your time and money.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. Sidor will keep you on the edge of your seat through the entire book.
harstan More than 1 year ago
Independent reporter Jase Deering believes it was the disappearance of his brother Mathias who at twelve years old walked into the wintry woods and never came safely home. Now as one year has passed since the kidnapping of two-year-old twins Liam and Shane Boyle, Jase and his blind girlfriend Robyn Matchfrost decide to investigate what the police have classified as a cold case. --- The Chicago police detectives who worked the official inquiry assist Jase and Robyn as much as they can as they want closure almost as much as the victims¿ parents crave it. The journalist team interviews the Boyle former nanny who lives in total abject fear and shows them the term ¿mirrorrorrim¿ that the abductor etched on her skin. That message leads Jase and Robyn to black arts cult leader Aubrey Hart Morick, who believed strongly in human sacrifice however Morick was dead long before the snatch occurred. Jase turns to Aubrey¿s offspring and soon uncovers disturbing information that makes him wonder if the son is a chip off the evil father¿s block. Finding the twins and proof remain elusive as the years go by with Jase now a solo act digging deeper and deeper into the cult and the supernatural. He knows he is too late for the boys and for himself, but obsessively keeps drilling deeper in search of the truth --- This is a one-sitting superb but upsetting suspense tale (keep the antacid tablets handy) that plays out like an investigative thriller, but is much frighteningly more. Readers will follow every disconcerting twist with macabre fascination as Steven Sidor keeps the audience mesmerized with what is going on especially in the obsessed mind of Jase. You will not sleep well thinking about what really happened in this unforgettable novel.