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Over the Edge

Over the Edge

5.0 1
by Hal Friedman

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An eight-grade class trip from a supposedly perfect and affluent little town to a state forest ends in a horrifying moment when a revered teacher plunges to her death from a towering cliff. If the students present witnessed the events leading up to the accident, they're not telling.

No one in the elite and tight-knit suburb of Knollwood, New Jersey, seems to


An eight-grade class trip from a supposedly perfect and affluent little town to a state forest ends in a horrifying moment when a revered teacher plunges to her death from a towering cliff. If the students present witnessed the events leading up to the accident, they're not telling.

No one in the elite and tight-knit suburb of Knollwood, New Jersey, seems to know what really happened to the teacher. Worse yet, no one seems to care. Except Meg Foley. A young, single woman used to instructing inner-city kids, Meg gladly accepts a replacement position in this cushioned community. But in the eyes of her new students she sees a chilling hint of past terrors, and Meg is determined to find out the cause.

In her search for the truth, Meg raises painful questions that the people in the town would rather not answer: Was the teacher not what she seemed, not even close? Did a rebellious clan of teenagers take their revenge on a tough, critical authority? Or was it some greater evil that no one dares to acknowledge?

The hornet's nest Meg stirs quickly results in antagonism from school and local officials, as her quest probes a lot more than just a tragic but isolated incident. When unseen forces in the community target her as their enemy, first with threats, then with violence, Meg can no longer handle the danger alone.

At her request, Meg is joined by maverick Los Angeles police detective Dan Jarrett, her father's partner before his death in the line of duty. Jarrett must protect Meg and discover the truth about a teacher who never expected the result of her last assignment and a town that fiercely protects its own.

Mrs. Wilkens prayed silently for someone to help her. She looked over her shoulder as she continued to flee. She couldn't see or hear them any longer but was certain they were still behind her, somewhere.

Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
Formulaic sequel to Friedman's equally formulaic debut, A Hunting We Will Go (p. 134), brings back gung-ho LAPD maverick Detective Dan Jarrett, this time to rescue a small-town New Jersey schoolteacher, the daughter of Jarrett's dead partner, from obnoxious teenagers, abusive administrators, and a perverted killer.

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HarperCollins Publishers
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Read an Excerpt

Studio City, Los Angeles

The frenzied voice in Captain Dan Jarrett's earpiece belonged to Sergeant Ben Wasser, the normally unflappable stalwart of the Threat Management Unit. Wasser was in a chase car a mile away, keeping a measured distance from the subject of his surveillance in a white Camaro convertible.

The suspect was a thirty-year-old man who'd been dubbed "Lady" for his sick interest in certain female celebrities. In the past four months he'd stalked and attacked four of them in ways too perverse to print in the papers. With any luck at all, Lady was headed for the TV stage of Fahrenheit Studios, where Jarrett and half the TMU were waiting to take him out.

In theory he was headed there, Jarrett thought. To date, none of the guesses about where the degenerate psycho lowlife was supposed to have shown up had been worth a damn.

"This mother effer's a cool one," Ben Wasser said into the earpiece. Wasser never said the F word, though for some reason every other curse was permissible. "Top down, arm out the window. Taking in the goddamn scenery like he's got all the effing time in the world."

"Stay close," Jarrett chided. "You lose, you cruise." This was a playful reference to being dropped from the renowned antistalking team and put back on routine radio patrol. The TMU was considered a plum assignment. Its members interacted with some of Hollywood's most famous celebrities, as close to glamorous as you could get on the LAPD.

Jarrett was parked down the block from Fahrenheit Studios, on the opposite side of the street. Inside, on the ground floor, the Sally Grant afternoon TV show was produced live five days a week. The curtain ontoday's show was going up in fifteen minutes. Lady would have to hurry.

The inside men were Sergeant Steve Tobin and his partner Fred Thaler, who were backstage, nervously watching the audience gather. All the expected types were in the house, tourists and retired couples wanting cheap amusement, the temporarily unemployed, and a surprising number of young people who at two o'clock on a Wednesday afternoon evidently had nothing better to do.

Tobin was on edge. Lady's likely target was a female guest star who was only in town for the day to appear on the program. No one wasted time trying to figure out how Lady knew that.
According to the plan, Jarrett was to allow the creep to enter the building, then shadow him. Lady had a propensity for attacking his women in public places. This time, once he made a move, Jarrett would be on him like stink on a skunk.

"Turning off La Cienega onto Santa Monica," Wasser barked in the tiny speaker in Jarrett's ear. A minute later he said, "The son of a bitch is heading right for the studio."
Jarrett kept his eyes fastened on the end of the block. Lady had started his illustrious career with patience, harassing Jamie Macumber, an actress on a steamy soap. Eventually he visited her Laurel Canyon residence while she was away, and an arriving housekeeper saw him leaving with a few of her dresses. At the time there was speculation Lady got his rocks off by cross-dressing.

Three attacks followed in the next four months as Lady graduated to a dangerous creep. One actress was attacked in a makeup trailer during a break in filming, another in a rest room of the theater where her film was premiering. The third worked on a TV quiz program showing the prizes. Lady had found out what was behind doors number one and two in the studio parking lot.

"Coming right at you," Wasser said. His voice had become a whisper. "Give 'im a kiss for me."
Jarrett saw the Camaro turn into the block and slow as it approached the studio. Lady parked diagonally across from the entrance to Fahrenheit, the butt end of his car hanging impudently over an active driveway. Probably he didn't intend to stay long enough for that to be a problem. He stepped out of the car, stretched, and looked around.

Jarrett eased out of his Land Cruiser. Even from where he was, he could make out Lady's distinct features: a pinched nose that one of his victims reported to be like the carrot that kids put in a snowman's face, unkempt red hair worn long at the back, buzz-cut in front. He moved like a scarecrow stoned on downers. For this occasion Lady wore a loose-fitting corduroy sports jacket over a paisley Hawaiian shirt, the kind they still sold at used clothing stores in Santa Monica. "Nobody makes a move until I do," Jarrett said into the microphone under his shirt. Two voices in his earpiece said, "Check" at the same time. He pushed off the truck and started in Lady's direction. Lady was definitely going for the entrance.

Jarrett crossed the street, keeping his distance. Occasional passers-by coming toward him from in front of the building partially blocked his view. The first was a chesty young woman in her early twenties who showed a lot of wear. She had on a tight halter top and stared at Jarrett in a way that erased the twenty years that separated them. The next was an unkempt, stoop-shouldered man, an older techno-freak type who was carrying a copy of Wired.

The third was the last between Jarrett and Lady. He came at a swifter gait and with a swagger in his walk. He also had something wrong with one of his eyes.

Jarrett glanced at him, then looked past him to Lady. He walked a few more steps before a siren went off in his brain, and he clocked the face with the bad eye again. "Hey you," he yelled at him all at once, blowing all decorum. Lady heard it and froze in his tracks.

The man Jarrett had called looked at him suspiciously and slowed. Jarrett worked hard to fit the face against an old mental template. The bulbous nose, bent in the middle from an earlier unset break, the full-lipped mouth set in a perpetual leering grin, the same partially closed left eye—from a desperate last second punch Jarrett had thrown at him!

Meet the Author

Masterful author of A Hunting We Will Go, Hal Friedman delivers a dizzying, on-and-over-the-edge thriller about the heights of anger, the depths of violence, and the perilous trail of justice.

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Over the Edge 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very suspenseful with a surprise ending. Believable characters and unique plot. Well written, easy to follow . Enjoyed the story and look forward to reading more by this author.