BOOK OF THE DAY
THE CUTTING EDGE
By Jeffery Deaver
Grand Central Publishing | $28.00
April 10, 2018
THE CUTTING EDGE
Review by Gary Frazier
Lincoln Rhyme and Amelia Sachs are back for another head-scratching puzzle in Jeffery Deaver’s newest novel, The Cutting Edge. This one – the fourteenth in the series to feature the intrepid, quadriplegic detective – begins with a shocking triple murder during an apparent holdup in New York City’s diamond district–where diamonds are cut from raw stones into tiny, expensive baubles. When a witness walks in on the murders in progress and is almost killed before he can get away, the novel becomes a game a cat and mouse as both the murderer and the cops race to find the witness first.
After a hearty bowl of soup (apparently, detective work can’t be done on an empty stomach), Rhyme dispatches Sachs to the scene of the crime where the bodies and initial evidence await her perusal. As Sachs follows the clues, Rhyme, assisted by a team of officers, examines video evidence that can help track the potential witness, who, naturally, doesn’t want to be found by anyone. The victims, a highly respected diamantaire and the young couple that had come to him for their engagement ring, seemed to have been tortured before they were killed leading Sachs to believe this was more than a robbery gone wrong. The culprit, meanwhile, begins taking the lives of other young lovers buying engagement rings and searching for the only witness that could possibly identify him.
Sachs’s investigation takes her to a nearby geothermal construction site where she survives an earthquake, which in turn causes gas line leaks and explosions in the city. Around the same time, Rhyme is approached by the legal defense team representing an alleged cartel leader, El Halcon, who claims he was set up by cops and want Rhyme to help prove their case. As is typical of a Deaver novel, there are connections within connections here. In this case, Rhyme manages to link the three plots together into a complex master plot.
Deaver’s prose is straightforward and the action comes fast and furious. Tight chapters keep readers from getting bored. And there is more to the story than just solving the crime. Of course, Rhyme, Sachs, and all of the regular characters are wonderful, but even the characters specific to this novel are so well developed and have such interesting lives that are completely unforgettable. The reader will also benefit from a master class full of information about the diamond industry as well as an inside look at the lives of diamond cutters; how family, tradition, and religion drive them. The Cutting Edge is a great installment in the Lincoln Rhyme’s series. It is an exciting thriller with plenty of good guys, bad guys, and nail-biting moments that will keep you reading late into the night. It is also a novel that touches on many of the social, political, environmental, and ethical issues that surround the diamond industry. You may find that the pretty, sparkling, bauble that you wear cost far more than you think.
Note: Jeffery Deaver will offer a master class on Plotting the Novel at the 2018 Killer Nashville Writer’s Conference.