Coincidentally, Jeffery Deaver’s new thriller, Edge, is set in two places I call home. The novel’s opening section — a riveting piece of prose — unfolds in North Carolina, and the bulk of the book takes place in Northern Virginia, where a government agent known only as Corte works to protect a D.C. cop who seems to have been targeted by a torture expert, for reasons unknown. (There’s even a very brief, if very chilling, reference to George Mason University, where I now teach.) Here’s the opening to my review in the Washington Post:
Corte, the protagonist of Jeffery Deaver’s new thriller, is a “shepherd” for a shadowy Alexandria-based organization known for offering “bodyguards of last resort.” His job involves watching over “principals” – trial witnesses, whistleblowers and others – who’ve been targeted either by “hitters” (assassins) or by “lifters” seeking information and willing to resort to “physical extraction” to get it. The jargon suggests that this agency is another of today’s deadening, dehumanizing bureaucracies – and the truth is, those “principals” are considered by their shepherds as just so many packages, “a dozen eggs . . . crystal vases, lightbulbs. Consumer goods.” But the work takes on even bleaker tones when the bad guys enter the picture. For them, torture is simply part of an afternoon’s chores: filing another corpse in the “out” box.