By sheer random fluke, the last three Shaun Hutson books I've read have all been non-horror, mainly crime based thrillers. I was introduced to Hutson through his horror books, which I find to be spine chilling and truly horrifying. This book, Knife Edge, follows on in the non-horror vein. A disgruntled soldier, Robert Neville is intent on derailing the peace process in Northern Ireland by bombing key players from both sides of the divide. Counter-Terrorist officer Sean Doyle is on to him, but when he tries to move in and apprehend Neville, he uses his wife as a human shield to escape.
Doyle chases him around London whilst also trying to maintain a dialogue with Neville - Neville demands to see his daughter and threatens to detonate a bomb every hour if his demands are not met. This cat and mouse game with high stakes leads to some explosive encounters.
I would say that this is part Patriot Games, part Die Hard with a bit of The Bill and Spooks thrown in too. For some, that mixture of similar references might sound messy, but I think that it works quite well and the end result is a fast paced thriller which had me gripped - will Doyle find Neville before he sets off "the big one" in central London?
I thought Hutson portrayed Doyle very well, the way he described him and how he had him play his part in encounters with various other characters made him intriguing to read about - there was a sinister undertone to Doyle which permanently had me wondering just exactly who's side he was on, and there were some quite strong hints that he might have an ulterior motive of his own for catching Neville - if indeed he actually wanted to catch him at all. I found that these questions about Doyle made the book more gripping as I had to keep on reading to find out not only if Doyle would catch Neville but also if his ulterior motives would lead him to actually helping Neville. Well done Mr Hutson, you kept me guessing.
If you want a fairly short thriller to read (I reckon a Monday to Friday's worth of commutes on a train should be enough to read this book) which is set in London and written by a fairly under-rated author, then I'd recommend you give this a go as you might be pleasantly surprised. I think a strong four stars is a fair award, thanks for reading.
Available on Amazon for: 1p used - not available brand new at the time of this review.
Footnote - this book does feature the "N" word, this will offend some, and some might say that fiction is an art form in which anything goes. I know where I stand on the use of this word, it's up to you if you decide to read the book or not.