The Cove

The Deception

The Duke

The Offer

Rosehaven

The Target

The Valentine Legacy

The Wild Baron

 
The Edge by Catherine Coulter
(Putnam, $22.95, PG-13) ISBN 0-39914-506-0
***
The Edge is a continuation of Coulter's law enforcement theme series which includes The Cove, The Maze and The Target. On my rating scale, this ranks better than The Cove, but it's not as riveting as The Maze or as intriguing as The Target. Coulter is one author whose consistency is never a given, and it's evident here.

The story begins as Jilly Bartlett is speeding along the Oregon coastal highway by herself at midnight, singing at the top of her lungs, trying to block out Laura's voice. In an attempt to finally silence Laura, Jilly drives over a cliff.

FBI agent Ford MacDougal is in a D.C. hospital, recovering from a car bombing incident when he has a ‘psychic' link with his sister in Oregon. He ‘sees' Jilly going over a cliff in her beloved Porsche. When Mac calls Jilly the next morning, he learns from her husband that she's in the hospital, in a coma from her accident.

Mac travels to Edgerton, Oregon, to find out why Jilly drove off a cliff. A state trooper witnessed the accident and can vouch that Jilly was alone. Did she try to commit suicide? Or was it just an unfortunate accident? Again, through their ‘psychic' link which transcends Jilly's coma, Mac learns about Laura, a woman Jilly claims betrayed her. When Mac questions Jilly's husband about Laura, the husband is so reluctant to talk that Mac's curiosity is aroused.

Meeting Laura only confuses Mac, who's immediately attracted to her. He takes Laura to Jilly's bedside. When Jilly awakens from the coma, she again warns Mac about Laura. Then Jilly disappears. What is Laura's place in this intricate puzzle? Is she guilty of attempted murder? How did she betray Jilly?

The Edge goes from the East Coast to Oregon to Central America as Mac delves into Jilly's accident and disappearance. He gets help from FBI buddies Dillon Savich and Lacey Sherlock Savich, who had their own story in The Maze and are significant players here. Mac is sickened as they uncover evidence that Jilly and her husband were working on a drug whose side effects include increased sexual performance while making the user psychotic.

With very little fanfare and less word count for the resolution, Coulter also introduces the murder of an old man, the drug cartel, a powerful but evil Edgerton family, their sociopath son and their daughter, a nymphomaniac who propositions Mac in front of people.

As with all of Coulter's books in this series, there were incongruous happenings, things which don't make sense. One of the things which bothered me is that Jilly is in the hospital, yet Mac and her husband go to a party. That seemed so flaky, so fictitious feeling. In The Target, I sensed that Coulter wasn't modeling the child's character from real life. That kid was too good to be true. Here, of all things, it's a cat who loves to ride in a car. Having a cat who loves to be in a car is as rare as cactus in Antactica.

Coulter is never able to maintain a high level of suspense. The danger that does permeate some of her other stories is absent here and leaves the story with a flat, fizzed-out feel. The story line is initially promising but the inane dialog and character inconsistencies liken it to a Shakespearian play . . . done by sixth graders. The bottom line: The Edge slowly loses its edge.

--Linda Mowery


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