Behind the well-known U.S. security organizations - the FBI and CIA among them - lies a heavily guarded, anonymous government agency dedicated to intelligence surveillance and to a highly specialized brand of citizen protection.
Shock waves of alarm ripple through the clandestine agency when Washington, D.C., police detective Ryan Kessler inexplicably becomes the target of Henry Loving, a seasoned, ruthless “lifter” hired to obtain information using whatever means necessary. While Loving is deft at torture, his expertise lies in getting an “edge” on his victim—leverage—usually by kidnapping or threatening family until the “primary” caves under pressure.
The job of keeping the Kessler family alive falls to a man named Corte, a senior federal protection officer known as a “shepherd.” Uncompromising, relentlessly devoted to protecting those in his care and a passionate board game aficionado, he applies brilliant gaming strategy to his work. For Corte, the reappearance of Loving—the man who, six years earlier, had tortured and killed someone close to him—is also an opportunity to avenge his friend’s death. The assignment soon escalates into a fast-paced duel between Corte and Loving, a dangerous volley of wits and calculated risks.
As he shepherds the Kesslers to a concealed safe house, Corte must anticipate Loving’s every step as the lifter moves in on his prey, and with the help of razor-sharp investigator Claire DuBois and his longtime ally, FBI agent Paul Fredericks, pinpoint which of Kessler’s seemingly insignificant cases has triggered Loving’s return. As the team digs deeper, each of the Kesslers comes under close scrutiny, and in captivity their family bonds are stretched to the breaking point—as the lifter draws near, Corte must ultimately choose between protecting his charges and exposing them to a killer in the name of long-awaited revenge.
©2010 Jeffrey Deaver (P)2010 Simon and Schuster Audio
"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... 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)
if not for the narration. The monotone and the mispronunciation ruined it for me.
I have been reading audio books for years and have to admit that I have some favorite narrators: Scott Brick and Dick Hill. There are also others that are good and although they are not my favorites, I still enjoy the book. On the other hand, a few times I have run into narrators where I am unable to continue reading due to their poor performance. This is one of those times. This book may be good, but the reader really ruined it for me and I am unable to finish it. I may try to get the paper book as I usually like Jeffery Deaver books, but I cannot read the audio copy.
The best about this book is that it IS a Jeffery Deaver book. There are plot twists and cleverness and bad guys out-thinking good guys out-thinking the bad guys. Deaver is a great writer, creating believable, fully-fleshed characters and complicated plots. I fully enjoyed the story.
It does not read as action-filled as a Rhyme/Sachs story, but there is plenty of action.
The "edge" of the title refers to the leverage someone can gain over another to make that person do things s/he would not ordinarily do. The bad guys find out who is important to you and threaten them so you will do what they want. That is the "edge." So here we have both good and bad guys striving to find the edge to the other so as to win out in the end. It is a tad overplayed, but still works.
What sets you back off the edge of your seat is the new area of expertise Deaver has plumbed. As in all his books, Deaver gives us an education into the topic of the story. The main character, Corte, is a board-gamer in his off time. Therefore, you will hear a LOT about old and ancient games, gaming theory and strategy. Some people will find this boring or annoying. I did not. I found it more interesting that I expected, and very informative. This information is given via introspection by Corte, so be prepared for lots of self-talk with no action.
As you have read from other reviewers, the worst of the story is the narration. His voice and tone are great for Corte and the gaming talk, but there it stops. He cannot change to do the other voices. And his unfortunate hyper-pronunciation-caused reading errors are distracting. I am a lover of pronouncing the "h" in words like "which, whale, white, whenever," etc, but can't guess wHy the reader inserts the "h" into "weapon", and "witch," and a few others. The "wheppon" is the worst since it comes up a lot. But I got over it.
I try to be forgiving of both authors and narrators because we have gotten, well, too too picky, and because I could not do as well as most of these folks. I thought it was a great story, well told, with a tremendous surprise twist at the end.
Enjoyed the twists and turns. Guessed the ending wrong several times. Liked all the action scenes.
Not with Mr. Sudduth doing the narration. His mispronunciation of several different words and inconsistency with the same word made for an excruciating listening experience . . . like someone hitting the wrong key on the piano . . . or scraping their nails on a chalk board. The word weapon pronounced as wheapon was so annoying that I almost just stopped listening altogether . . . perhaps I should just go back to eBook copies of Deaver's works. I listen to a lot of audiobooks and this is the first time that this has occurred.
Found someone else to do the narration.
Anyone else . . .
The story line was okay . . . wish I could erase the memory of listening . . . but I'm afraid that it was ruined even if I read a print copy . . . it would be replaying in my head.
Alot of the reviews criticise the narrator, but I thought he was pretty good. I did grimace everytime he said "wheapon" instead of weapon, or "awhare" instead of aware, but other than that, he did a good job.
I thought the story was pretty good too. In fact, I wouldn't mind reading more in this series, if there is a series.
Sure. It has a very complex story, I don't even think my wife can figure out the ending, and she usually does.
Yes. The bad guy is some kind of genius and keeps our protagonist constantly on his best game.
The very end, but you will have to get there to find out why.
The time where he defied authority and went on his own.
Very complex plot, keeps you guessing...
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