« Monkey Love / John Paul Allen | Main | The Rising: Selected Scenes from the End of the World / Brian Keene »

Edgewise / Graham Masterton

EdgewiseCoverThumbnail.jpgLeisure / May 2007
Reviewed by: Derek Clendening

The only thing worse than an unstoppable killer gunning for you is one you can’t see or hear. Such is the challenge facing the protagonist of Graham Masterton’s new Leisure title Edgewise, which dares to ask what lengths a parent would go to in order to save their children.

The novel’s basic premise is akin to Gord Rollo’s Jigsaw: big goods at a big price. When Lily Blake’s children are kidnapped, she is forced to make a tough decision. The police and FBI are useless so she decides to take a less conventional approach; she engages the services of a Sioux spirit called the Wendigo. As in all good games of horror-style Let’s Make A Deal, there’s a catch: the Wendigo can kill as swiftly as it can rescue. As the body count piles up, Lily is faced with more decisions and the dilemma of not being able to make her payment to the malevolent Wendigo that wants its pound of flesh.

The overall plot isn’t complex, but its narrative and crisp writing help Edgewise start fast and move swiftly. It exemplifies the harder punch that reality delivers, sweetened with a dose of the supernatural. Masterton uses the child abduction plot, reminiscent here of Whitley Strieber’s Billy, to force the reader to consider what they might do in the same situation. Yet Edgewise isn’t just about getting the kids back. Lily’s inability to pay for the Wendigo’s services places her in another realistic situation - desperately needing something she can’t pay for. This is another common human dilemma, and its incorporation here into the story proves that Masterton understands the horrors of the everyday realities of his readers.

Many horror plots rely on consequence to inspire fear. Masterton executes his plot well enough, but fails to put an ultimately satisfying spin on this relatively common concept. A Sioux spirit is different, but it’s still a run-of-the-mill spirit when stripped down. Masterton admirably tries to make up for this shortcoming by amping up the reader’s personal investment in the story. The problem here boils down to predictability. It’s not surprising that Lily gets her kids back, that she can’t pay her debt to the Wendigo, or that the spirit is particularly unforgiving. These contrivances are what avid horror readers have come to expect, yet some may find this a serious drawback. While better than employing the trendier vampire to rescue the kids, Edgewise still doesn’t leave the reader guessing.

Overall average when compared to Masterton’s more notable titles, Edgewise makes for a decent consumption of words that will leave readers with a few conventional chills.

Purchase Graham Masterton’s Edgewise.

Posted on Friday, November 16, 2007 at 11:07AM by Registered CommenterDark Scribe Magazine in | Comments Off

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend