An FBI agent's sister disappears after an attempted suicide. When Savich and Sherlock join the search, they discover a startling connection to a puzzling murder-and put their lives on the line to uncover the truth.
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
The night was black and calm, silent except for the
mellow whine of the newly tuned Porsche engine, yet
she heard the soft, sobbing voice pleading with her again,
whispering low and deep. It never left her alone now.
No one else was near, it was just Jilly driving alone on
the coast highway. The ocean stirred beside her, but with
no moon out, it looked like an empty, black expanse. The
Porsche, sensitive to the slightest touch of her fingers,
gently swerved left, toward the cliff, toward the endless
expanse of black water beyond. Jilly jerked the car back
to the center line.
Laura’s voice began sobbing in her brain, then grew
louder, filling her, until Jilly wanted to burst.
“Shut up!” Jilly’s scream filled the car for a brief
moment. Her voice sounded harsh and ugly. It was nothing
like Laura’s had been, like a small child’s sobbing,
lost and inconsolable. Only death would bring peace.
Jilly felt that voice, Laura’s voice, build inside her again.
She gripped the steering wheel and stared straight ahead,
2 _ Catherine Coulter
praying to herself, chanting for it to stop, for Laura to go
“Please,” she whispered. “Please stop. Leave me alone.
But Laura didn’t stop. She was no longer a child,
speaking in a sweet, terrified voice. She was herself
again, angry now, and this time foul words frothed from
her mouth, spewing rage and saliva that Jilly tasted in the
back of her throat. She banged her fists on the steering
wheel, hard, harder still, rhythmically, to make the
malevolent voice go away. She opened the window,
pressed it all the way down and leaned out, letting the
wind tear her hair back, and her eyes sting and water. She
shouted into the night, “Make it stop!”
It stopped. Suddenly.
Jilly drew a deep breath and pulled her head back into
the car. The wind whooshed through the car and she
sucked in mouthfuls of the cold air. It tasted wonderful. It
was over. Thank God, finally it had stopped. She raised
her head, looking around, wondering where she was.
She’d been driving for hours, it seemed, yet the dashboard
clock read only midnight. She’d been gone from
home for a half hour.
Her life had become whispers and screams until she
couldn’t bear it. Now there was silence, deep and complete
Jilly began counting. One, two, threeno curses, no
whispers, no small child’s pleading, nothing, just her own
breathing, the soft hum of her car. She threw back her
head and closed her eyes a moment, relishing the silence.
She began counting again. Four, five, sixstill blessed
Seven, eightsoft, very soft, like a faraway rustling of
leaves, coming closer, closer. Not rustling, no, whisperThe
Edge _ 3
ing. Laura was whispering again, begging not to die, begging
and pleading and swearing she’d never meant to
sleep with him, but it had just happened, he’d made it
happen. But Jilly hadn’t believed her.
“Please, stop, stop, stop,” Jilly chanted over that feathery
voice. Laura began screaming that Jilly was a pathetic
bitch, a fool who couldn’t see what she was. Jilly
stomped down on the gas pedal. The Porsche lurched forward,
hitting seventy, eighty, eighty-five. The coast road
swerved. She kept the car directly in the center of the
road. She began singing. Laura screamed louder, and
Jilly sang louder. Ninety. Ninety-five.
“Go away. Damn you, go away!” Jilly’s knuckles were
white on the steering wheel, her head low, her forehead
nearly touching the rim. The engine’s vibrations made
Laura’s screaming voice convulse with power.
Jilly saw the sharp turn, but Laura yelled that they
would be together soon now, very soon. She couldn’t
wait to get Jilly, and then they’d see who would win.
Jilly screamed, whether at Laura or at the sight of the
cliff dropping some forty feet to the heaped and tumbled
black rocks below. The Porsche plunged through the railing,
thick wood and steel, picking up speed, and shot out
to the vast empty blackness beyond.
One more scream rent the silence before the Porsche
sliced nose first through the still, black water. There was
scarcely a sound, just the fast downward plunge, the
sharp, clean impact, then the quick shifting and closing
over, the calm water returning to what it had been just a
Then there was only the black night. And calm and
Table of Contents
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On Monday, August 9th, bn.com welcomed Catherine Coulter to discuss THE EDGE.
Moderator: Good evening, Catherine Coulter, and welcome to the Auditorium! We're all excited to discuss your latest, THE EDGE. How are you this evening?
Catherine Coulter: I am just fine! I'm in the Drake Hotel in Chicago, and my suite overlooks Lake Michigan...and I have two really cute guys waiting in the wings.... They will answer questions.
Simon Coulter (no relation!) from Spain: THE EDGE is a title I have surely seen before (Dick Francis). How as an author do you decide on a title? Also, how (if you do) would you check up as to whether your title is a completely original one? (I believe that this latter point is not a legal requirement in copyright terms but feel sure many would like to know.)
Catherine Coulter: You cannot copyright a title; they do check titles. The Dick Francis title was way back when, and if there's been another one, it's been so minor that it wouldn't make a blip. And I picked the title because it fit the book perfectly. We don't know if it's been sold to Spain yet.
Jilleen from South Carolina: You've had an amazing track record as a writer -- 30 New York Times bestsellers is nothing to sneeze at! I've been a fan of yours since the beginning. Did you ever expect such success? Do you know what the secret to your success might be?
Catherine Coulter: First of all, Jilleen, it's 33! At the beginning, all you want to be is published. First of all, you've got to have talent, don't know how much. You've got to be lucky, you've got to be a good storyteller, and you've got to be disciplined. And that's the secret to success. But discipline is the big thing. Books do not write themselves, contrary to popular belief. That's not only the formula for writing; that is the formula for success.
Cathy from Thousand Oaks, CA: Catherine, you are one of my favorite authors, and I'm pretty sure that I've read all your books (historical and contemporary), which I enjoyed greatly. I love that you have suspense and, of course, romance in all your books, but I especially love the sense of humor that all of your stories have. I was wondering if you were going to be doing a book tour and, if so, will you be in the southern California area?
Catherine Coulter: Unfortunately, not for this book tour. I live in the San Francisco area, and I'll be all around there. I'll be in southern California next year for sure. If you want to know about anything at all, email me at ReadMoi@aol.com, and you can just go to catherinecoulter.com. Please email me if you want to talk or say anything or ask any questions. Those cute guys do most of my email, and I have a dominatrix who keeps them in line. (Remember, discipline is very important to success! Read all about discipline in THE COURTSHIP, January 3, 2000.) And she has Babylonian red harlot hair.
Dawn Smith from Geneva, NY: Hi! I absolutely love your books. I was wondering what kind of book you liked writing better -- historical or contemporary. And of all the books you have written, which is your favorite? Thank you.
Catherine Coulter: Since I write one historical romance a year and one contemporary suspense thriller a year, I don't have time to get tired of either of them. I love them both. I have more fun writing the historical romances, because they're filled with humor, and they're "looser." The contemporary suspense thrillers come close to killing me every time, because they have to be so tightly plotted that you can't digress if you feel like it. You have to stay utterly focused, so each presents a challenge in its own way. I'll be doing one of each kind for a year until I want to take another risk and try something different. My very very favorite book of the contemporaries is BEYOND EDEN. My very favorite historical romance will be out in September. It's a complete rewrite of my very first Regency romance, called THE AUTUMN COUNTESS, published 20 years ago. It's very funny, it's a gothic, and it's the best book I have written in seven years in terms of the historicals, so prepare to just laugh your head off!
Isabel from Seattle: Hi, Catherine! I just love all your books. They seem to grab hold of me and not let go. I am halfway through THE EDGE and am enjoying it immensely. Two questions: Did you spend time on the Oregon coast for research for this book? And, secondly, what is coming next from you in the historical genre? Thanks.
Catherine Coulter: To the first question, no, I didn't, but I probably will after I finish writing all the books set on the Oregon coast. To the romances -- we have THE COUNTESS in the middle of September and THE COURTSHIP, January 3, 2000. And, I'm on page 100 of the next suspense novel.
Susan from Des Moines, IA: Was the drug you used in the book one that's been discovered, or is it one you made up to fit the plot you wanted to write?
Catherine Coulter: Actually, that drug without the bad side effects would sell more than Viagra. Sorry, this is fiction!
Yola Richelieu from New Hampshire: How did you get your start as a writer? Did you always write fiction? At what point did you begin to take your career as a writer seriously?
Catherine Coulter: I am serious every morning I go down to my computer. I have always taken my career seriously. I wrote my first novel when I was 14; it was 12 pages long and suffered from what we call the "Moving Right Along" syndrome. It fortunately now resides in what we call Oblivion. In terms of getting started writing, I think I started like a lot of writers: I was a speechwriter on Wall Street, and I read voraciously, and I read a lot of fiction. I love research. I read everything I could get my paws on, and one night I threw the book across the room and said, "I can do better." My first book was THE AUTUMN COUNTESS. At that time, publishing was a black hole. There were no genre organizations to help one with the process. There was no Mystery Writers of America and no Romance Writers of America. The first manuscript ended up with a freelance editor in New York, and she said, "Let's go for it." And what she had was the top three appropriate houses with the appropriate editors, and so I write this ridiculous letter to Signet, and Hillary Ross called me three days later, took me out to lunch, and offered me a three-book contract. It happened just that fast. And I was able to quit my day job at the beginning of 1982. And until that time I wrote every morning from 5am to 7:30. And since it happened so quickly, I've always been very serious about my career.
Melaine from Bothell, WA: Hi, Ms. Coulter. As an aspiring novelist myself, I'm curious as to your writing "method." Do you do an extensive outline first, or do you know in your head what's going to happen next? Thanks!
Catherine Coulter: I'm a disgusting morning person. I'm in front of my computer with a big smile on my fact at 7:30am, and I work until 11:00 every morning five days a week. If I commit some vile sin, then maybe God will make me do an outline. If my publishing house wants to know what the novel is about, I don't send it in until I've written 100 pages, and I write an outline based on those first 100 pages. I generally start with a "What if?" idea. The "What if?" for THE EDGE simply began as, "What if a guy who is in a hospital on the East Coast dreams he goes over a cliff with his sister on the West Coast?" (Did you see those headlights in the water on the cover of the novel?) And of course since it's a loose FBI series, Savich and Sherlock are real heavy into this book, as well as the others.
Wanda from South Dakota: Are any more of your books going to be made into movies?
Catherine Coulter: That is my one greatest wish before I croak over the computer.
Karleen from New Hampshire: Are you a fan of Rosalind Laker and do you think the historical background of a book is vital to its success...based on your education background in 19th- century history? Please discuss your education as it affects your writing.
Catherine Coulter: Goodness!... This is an essay question! The name is familiar, but I just simply can't remember right now. I've been on tour for a week, and I've lost a number of brain cells. In terms of the authenticity of a novel set in past times, the most important thing is a real good story and that you like the characters. If you blend in historical detail and make it seem natural, and all the stuff blends in and seems everyday, then it adds a richness to the book, and of course it's going to seem more original and interesting. That's a very interesting question, because you must realize for example, I know the Napoleonic era cold. If I told you in a book everything I knew, you would be snoring by page 10. What's always most important is the people and the story, and probably no more than 5 percent of what I know do I ever feed in. It takes a great deal of skill to blend it perfectly so you're not detracting from the story and you do have some verisimilitude.
Vickie from Maryland: Do you have a favorite character? I love your suspense books, especially THE TARGET. Have you thought of doing a miniseries like some of the recent authors (Stephen King and Jackie Collins, for example)? I know that I read whatever you have out that is contemporary. Do you have a newsletter to inform your fans about new releases?
Catherine Coulter: I've got about half a dozen favorite characters. I think in the contemporaries, Sherlock and Savich are quite a team, and at the FBI, they call them S&S. In terms of the historicals, probably the Sherbrooke family. Unfortunately, making a miniseries is not up to me.... I'm just the person here kneeling on the floor, begging.... Who do you want me to sleep with? No problemo! For any information on new releases, newsletters, email me at ReadMoi@aol.com.
Sasha from Washington: Do you make up the names, or do you base it off of historical people (e.g., in your Regencies)? If it is based off of historical people, what resource do you use to find out the appropriate families of the time?
Catherine Coulter: I get a lot of my names for the historicals, particularly the English names, from DeBrett's, and I tend to use extinct titles. That way there's no hasslement. If I use a real person, I know what I'm doing. And I have a tremendous research library. And I just moved, and I moved my library myself and got two tennis elbows!
Lionna from Portland, ME: You have written in so many different genres! Is there a genre you haven't tried yet that we can expect to see you writing in someday?
Catherine Coulter: I'm now pulling out my crystal ball.... The only genre I haven't really tackled big time is science fiction, and the truth of the matter is, if I get a good idea, I'll try anything, because life is too short not to.
Gina Banks from Richmond, VA: THE EDGE explores some very dark sides of human beings. Where do you draw from to write such a haunting tale?
Catherine Coulter: Ooh! Sickly enough, it's from my own dark side! I don't know where this stuff comes from -- this is fiction!
Sasha from Washington: What reference books do you use most extensively?
Catherine Coulter: If I'm going to research a brand-new period, a brand-new city, I immediately go to Will Durant's Story of Civilization; he is very reader-friendly, and he also has a tremendous bibliography, which sends me other places. Howsomever, the very best research books on anything are in the children's section. They do not preach at you; they show you pictures -- and label things.
D. C. from Michigan: I read that your husband is a physician -- does having access to one help you with your novels? Some of the THE EDGE takes place in a hospital -- is he helpful with the medical details?
Catherine Coulter: Since my husband is a doc, any time I have anyone wounded, I have anyone in the hospital, or talk about any medications, any drugs -- they're accurate. Historically, if I have to deal with wounds, it's accurate. Thank you, Anton.
Moderator: What is the worst job you've ever had, and why was it so bad?
Catherine Coulter: The worst job I ever had was a three-month stint as a personal assistant to a Southern Baptist minister who was a televangelist, and the big problem was, I was Episcopalian, and he was convinced I was going to hell, and he tried to proselytize me for three months until I just cracked and took myself off to hell.
M. J. Anderson from Vancouver, WA: I have read many of your books, and I really enjoy the current mystery ones. They keep you on the edge of your seat. I hope you continue writing these types, although I also enjoy your historical romances, where I was first introduced to you.
Catherine Coulter: Thank you and keep reading! We love M. J. Anderson!
Melanie from Jacksonville, FL: I have heard you have quite a reputation for telling jokes. Could you tell us a favorite right now?
Catherine Coulter: Melanie, you have intimidated me to such a degree that my brain has just flushed itself clean! I'm a tabula rasa. Oh, I know one, but we can't type it out here. Email me and I'll write it to you!
Moderator: Can you share some of the best books you've read lately?
Catherine Coulter: I thought I had read every Dick Francis, and lo and behold, in the airport I have found THE DANGER -- and I had never seen it before, and it's wonderful! And I just finished a new Jayne Ann Krentz, EYE OF THE BEHOLDER, wonderful. John Sandford's A CERTAIN PREY -- very good. A science fiction called STARDOC it's a first novel by Sheila Viehl, and it will be out in January 2000. Hysterically funny, a wonderful book, and actually, I found it.
Sasha from Washington: Catherine, how long does it usually take you to write one book?
Catherine Coulter: Six months. So, I'm a two-book a year person, if one can multiply...
Rachel from Philadelphia: Hi, Catherine! Love your work. You just mentioned a couple of questions ago that the Sherbrookes were probably your favorite historical characters. What are the chances of THE SHERBROOKE BRIDE being a book that you re-release. And, if you do, would you change it at all? (I personally would like to see Douglass do more begging, just me!) Also, any books that you have out that you would like to change the ending or something about them? Thanks and keep up the great work!
Catherine Coulter: They are being re-released with new packaging in early 2000. The Sherbrookes appear in MAD JACK, which was out earlier this year, and you hadn't seen them for eight years, so it was neat to see what they were doing. They will also appear in THE COURTSHIP in January 2000. Douglass is Douglass; he doesn't change, he just gets better.
Moderator: It was a blast hosting you online this evening. Have fun with your hunky male friends in Chicago! Do you have any final words for your online audience?
Catherine Coulter: Read moi! ReadMoi@aol.com!
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
These are great thoughtout stories! The characters are interesting and engaging.....
This was such an exciting story! I had no idea what was going to happen or who would survive! Great read! I want to begin the next one!
I liked the part where Sherlock was fussing over Mac when he was out of bed.
I enjoy this FBI Series as it has familiar characters that carry into new characters with each book. As a mystery book reader, these are easy and enjoyable reads.
Loved this series, but hated this book
A real page turner
Some FBI agents don't even need to be on an assignment to know if something is wrong. 'Mac' is one of those guys. Even if it is a trip to see his sister after a car accident. This was an interesting look at some of his relationships.Had heard a lot about Catherine Coulters FBI series, this was the first I had read/listened to. Parts of it was predictable, other parts took me by surprise. I found the interaction of the charecters fun and realistic. There is a bit of romance along with the thriller aspect, but it is a small part of the story. I am interested enough in this series to find another.
The audio version of this almost had me laughing. Robert Lawrence reads with what I would call a cheerful, choppy sort of effort. However, I immediately wondered if it was really the writing and if I would feel the same way if I were reading the book. The story line was just enough to keep me listening to find out what happened.
I enjoyed "the chase" of this book. I don't believe it is a book for anyone that is looking for "true" crime, because there are areas of the book that are far fetched. I like a bit of paranormal with my mystery and crime though. I won't say it was the best book I have read, but I can't say it was the worst. I am giving it three stars to show it just about middle of the road. It did a great job of filling a lazy day.
I am a fan of Catherine Coulter's FBI Thriller series and her characters Savich and Sherlock; FBI agents as well as husband and wife. I have enjoyed the romance and suspense of this series but I don't consider The Edge as the best example of the great storytelling talent of Ms. Coulter. The plot was somewhat convoluted, but I found myself so emotionally engaged with the hero and heroine, Mac and Laura along with the always entertaining Savich and Sherlock, that I had to see how it all came out in the end.