Sunday, 19 August 2018
CHRIS THOMAS - THE EDGE OF SANITY (2018)
In a derelict squat, the Smart Man watches as the new narcotic developed by his shadowy organisation wreaks havoc on it, unsuspecting victims. The drug is now ready for sale on their exclusive darknet marketplace.
Elsewhere, DCI Robert Smith, the retired head of the Cyber Crimes Unit, seeks out crime boss Curtis Slater at his remote farm. He offers to provide Slater with information in exchange for money. But what information is he offering?
Meanwhile, former detective Pete Harris had started a new life, away from the Cyber Crimes Unit, with his daughter and begins to rekindle his relationship with old colleague Grace Brooks.
With his life seemingly complete, Pete’s world comes crashing down as he is drawn into Slater’s game with fatal consequences. He must join forces with his old enemies in a race against time. But can Pete save his daughter and Grace from the clutches of Slater, the Smart Man, and the sinister ringmaster, the Professor?
The Edge of Sanity is a dark and twisty psychological thriller. It can be read as the sequel to the critically acclaimed Enter The Dark or as a thrilling stand-alone. It will appeal to fans of authors like JP Delaney, Mark Edwards and James Swallow.
The second novel from Chris Thomas throws up more nefarious going-ons on the dark side of the internet. A shady group are developing and offering for sale, to a limited criminal elite only, a new designer drug that will change the marketplace forever. Criminal king-pin, Curtis Slater wants in and a major piece of the action, as well as revenge on the do-gooder vigilantes - the Brotherhood of the Righteous.
The Edge of Sanity sees all three organisations set on a collision course, with a young kidnapped child a bargaining chip in the high stakes game. A fair few of the combatants and participants appeared in the earlier book from Thomas, Enter the Dark.
Initially I was slightly puzzled by the involvement of one of the groups, the Brotherhood of the Righteous in the goings on, but it eventually became a little bit clearer as we went along. Similarly, the drug manufacturers, the Smart Man and the Professor, who were calling the shots somewhat bizarrely set puzzles and riddles that needed to be solved before entertaining would be clients into the customer base. I was a little unconvinced about this aspect as well, but went with the flow.
The story worked for me on a more personal level, with the involvement of former cyber crimes cop, Pete Harris working desperately with his former nemesis the Brotherhood of the Righteous, to free his daughter Olivia and less importantly from my POV, his former colleague and nearly girlfriend, Grace (sister to BotR head honcho, Alistair).
Pete and somewhat ironically Curtis were the most interesting characters in the book for me. Curtis is cruel, manipulative and will stop at nothing to achieve his goals. Often prone to irrational violence and with a sharp, derisory tongue to boot, I enjoyed the scenes involving him the most. Pete is a single father, struggling with his business and would do anything to secure his daughter's safety.
The rest of the bunch, in particular Alistair were less than sympathetic. A couple of the minor characters, Daisy and Danny were interesting and worthy of mention. Daisy, was a victim in the earlier book and is under Alistair's tutelage. Danny is a former cyber crimes cop, now rather unfortunately working as Slater's IT guru.
Overall, I enjoyed this one after a hesitant start. There a fair few twists and turns before we get where we are going. At least one of them, I failed to see coming which was hats-off to the author.
Plenty of action, plenty of violence, a fair pace and all loose ends wrapped up at the conclusion.
4 from 5
Thoughts on the author's earlier book, Enter the Dark here.
Chris Thomas is on Twitter - @cthomasauthor1
Read in August, 2018
Published - 2018
Page count - 302
Source - review copy from Net Galley courtesy of publisher Bloodhound Books
Format - ePub