Knife Edge (2020) by Simon Mayo

6:45 am, and a London rush hour becomes far from the typical slog when, across London, seven individuals are murdered, all stabbed, within the space of half an hour. As Famie Madden starts to collate the news reports concerning the murders, a horrifying truth hits home – they all worked for the investigative team in the news service, IPS, where she works.

As Famie and her colleagues struggle to cope with the loss of their colleagues, messages begin to appear, targeted at Famie, encouraging her to look deeper. It seems that the deaths were just the start – whatever the team were working on, it was big enough to trigger a massacre. The clock is ticking…

Well, that was interesting. I’ll be honest, I requested this one from NetGalley because of the author, Simon Mayo. British readers will know who he is, or at least should do, being a staple of Radios 1, 2 and 5 over various parts of my life. I was aware that he had written some popular YA books, I wasn’t aware that he’d already written an adult thriller, but this is a standalone, so I figured, why not? His radio shows have been a part of my life for past REDACTED years, I was looking forward to this.

You may well have seen mention of this, on UK television at least, as Mayo’s fame has meant that he’s had the chance to plug it on such literary outposts as The One Show, where the hosts could barely control their excitement when he described the basic plot. Note, there is a possibility that they were excited to hear about what a “book” is, rather than this particular one… The set-up’s interesting, but not so much it requires a change of underwear after reading it.

It’s not really my genre, as while it’s a thriller, it’s a lot closer to a tale of espionage, rather than a “is my boyfriend trying to kill me? Yes.” thriller or a “why is the serial killer leaving pictures of Timmy Mallett stapled to the foreheads of the victims?” thriller. It’s the story of Famie and her colleagues attempts to a) find the truth, b) stay alive and c) try and stop the big thing that’s coming, while d) trying to convince the not-particularly helpful and clearly understaffed police to either help or get out of their way. It’s also the story of another character, who becomes more and more involved in what is going on, but from the other side.

Admittedly, there is a twist of sorts at the end of the tale, but it baffled me a bit, mostly in deciding what the point of it was. It happens after everything has settled and didn’t really add anything for me, feeling more like a nod to the expectations of the genre, rather than something that was necessary to the narrative, unless perhaps to set up a sequel.

Also, I could have done with more an explanation of what a news agency actually does. I’ve heard of Reuters, the equivalent, presumably, of IPS, but I’ve no idea what they do. I still don’t, unfortunately…

Overall, a strong, straightforward thriller, held up by good characters, in particular the second narrator, that runs worryingly close to modern-day reality. Nice to see Coventry play a major role in things but overall, it wasn’t really my thing, but I’m glad I read it and fans of the genre will enjoy it.

Knife Edge is out today, August 20th, from Transworld Books. Many thanks to them and NetGalley for the review e-copy.

3 comments

  1. “His radio shows have been a part of my life for past REDACTED years, I was looking forward to this.”

    Why REDACTED? What is secretive about it ?

    Like

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