The Naked Edge by David Morrell

The suspense thriller is a slow tease. Sometimes it reveals a little bit just to crook a finger at you and send you in another direction. The best give you enough to keep you turning the pages, or in this case, pushing a button.

The Naked Edge is an eBook novel by David Morrell. Unlike the rest of the novels he’s created, this one is only available electronically. Innovative? Maybe. Shocking? Not really considering where the industry is trending. While the eBook sales aren’t beating books sales, they are increasing. No, check that, they’ve passed paper sales since the original posting of this review on Gnarrative.

Take into account the money involved in publishing a wonderful dead tree ink-infected treasure. Why wouldn’t a publishing company venture into it? Profit drives the market. For a person of Morrell’s caliber to go in this direction says a lot. It’s not about giving in or pushing sales of eReaders. It’s about being ahead of the game. However, the profits to the writer aren’t improving with this money saving venture. The eBooks are cheaper to produce but the consumer wants in on that savings as well.

On to Morrell’s latest offering to the reading world.

The book introduces Cavanaugh, the main protagonist, and his wife Jamie. A retired protector, Cavanaugh’s mundane life is interrupted by—for lack of a better way to put it—his past life. The chaos that ensues turns the story into hyper drive. Interesting to this section is the back and forth of the PoV. Not from the persons with Cavanaugh but the ones trying to take him out. This is the reader’s first insight to the antagonist Carl. It takes a good span of the book for him to be drawn out and his relationship to Cavanaugh to be revealed. Of course the premise of the story gives it away somewhat.

While the multiple PoVs are a way to give a broader scope in the story, it becomes a little overindulged in places. For example, we see the depths the main antagonist—Carl—will go through to reach his ultimate goal by the callous way he kills. However, we are shown, through casual vanilla characters, in vivid detail as an airplane explodes in midair. The passage before, and Carl’s previous actions, gives the reader enough to what happened to his victim.

Great cinematic detail, but a bit cumbersome to read. It leaves little to the imagination giving too tight of a control in the writers creation.

Even with that little quirk, we get the exceptional research and outstanding writing expected from Mr. Morrell. The characters, as a whole, are well developed. They leap from the digital page and compel compassion—on both sides. On one hand, you witness the destruction of something Cavanaugh has just inherited—Global Protection Services. He goes from someone who reluctantly takes on something bequeathed to him to a man fighting to keep it afloat. The human element explodes as one by one other protectors fall. We see a transition from Cavanaugh, through the writing, analyzing everything. The people he comes across are described in painstaking detail. It falls in line with his former work. You can’t protect someone if you’re not aware of your environment. We come to understand his revelation to his childhood friend Carl’s behavior. No matter how depraved someone seems, hindsight compels us to analyze what we could have done to prevent that person from straying.

The cat and mouse games are extraordinary. The way Carl is painted stroke by stroke gives the reader the insight to the warped sense of wanting acceptance. A person who craves attention by going to the extreme. The compelling part is, though he’s the proverbial bad guy in the book, you can’t help by feel the slightest twitch of remorse for his situation. Does he get what karma’s dealing out in the end? Absolutely, but it doesn’t deter from the sickening human factor he exhibits.

A word of caution to those stuck in the past: If you’re looking at the cover art of the book, calculating the knife factor and adding the cat versus mouse ratio to equal the next installment of Rambo, back away from your eReader. David Morrell does not subscribe to the cookie cutter thriller.

You can follow David Morrell through his website or interact in lively discussions on his Facebook page.