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  • Writer's pictureCaitlyn Lynch

Book Review: Knife Edge by Simon Mayo

It’s another day at work for Famie Madden, coming in to work as Slot (basically the on-call breaker of headlines) for IPS, her major news agency. Seven stabbings in quick succession around London is a big story… but it gets suddenly, shockingly personal as one of the victims is identified as another IPS journalist. When the dust settles, the entire IPS Investigations team is dead… and nobody can find out what they were working on.

Famie was turned down when she applied to join the Investigations team, but she was still close to them - especially to one of them, Seth, with whom she’d previously had a personal relationship. When a strange typewritten message turns up on her car’s windscreen after the funeral of the Investigation team’s leader, Famie is drawn inexorably into following in the team’s footsteps, figuring out what they were looking into… hopefully without sharing their fate.

Told from the perspectives of Famie and Hari, a young student with a terrorist cell who appears to be having a crisis of conscience, the tension builds quickly but does seem to get lost a bit in the middle, and I didn’t quite get why Hari didn’t grab some apparent opportunities to get word out… if he could walk to the shop and look at the newspapers, if he could type and post a cryptic message, he could do more to alert the authorities.

Simon Mayo is a well-known radio personality in the UK, and he’s at his strongest as a writer when writing about journalism and the inner workings of the news agency and the journalistic process, but he could do with explaining a little more about it - the position of Slot is something that has to be deduced from context rather than being properly defined, for example. Famie’s an excellent character though, a strong and capable woman who knows her own worth. I’m not sure if Mayo plans this to be part of a series, but Famie could definitely be a series lead.

There are a few too many incidences of showing rather than telling and the story definitely has a bit of a saggy middle, but the end is tautly suspenseful and most loose threads are tied off (though I still want to know what Famie decided to do afterwards… hence the possibility to start a series). Overall a very good read which just needed a bit more editing to really tighten it up. Four stars.

Knife Edge is available now (but not in ebook on US Amazon at the present date)

Disclaimer: I received a review copy of this title via NetGalley.

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