The Cutting Edge (2018) by Jeffery Deaver

The concept of engagement is based on a binding promise to wed by the man to his betrothed. Now I have promise too. I am look for YOU, I am looking every where. Buy ring, put on pretty finger but I will find you and you will bleed for your love.

The Promisor

William Sloane wanted the perfect engagement ring for Anna, but those dreams ended when they visited Patel Designs to see the man cutting the diamond for them. While having a meeting, a man wearing a ski-mask came in and killed all three of them. Patel’s assistant escaped, and while the Promisor is determined to find him, to silence him for what he might have seen, it seems that he has other business too. Newly-engaged couples are being targeted – it seems the Promisor has clear ideas about what diamonds are for, and cutting them for rings for rich people is not high on his list.

Lincoln Rhyme and Amelia Sachs are on the case, but for a Russian madman, the Promisor is extremely good at covering his tracks. And with a court case distracting Rhyme, as well as the city being hit with minor earthquakes and fires, it seems that the Promisor has picked the perfect time for his spree of terror.

Not entirely sure how I missed this one when it came out, but when NetGalley dangled the new Lincoln Rhyme book under my nose – it’s not out until November – I checked and found that I’d missed one. For some reason, I think I’d thought that the previous title, The Burial Hour, was the last in the series. No idea how I got that into my head, but when I realised that I had a title in my favourite series of thrillers to read…

Deaver always writes twisty thrillers, with the Lincoln Rhyme books being his best work, in my opinion. The Coffin Dancer is one of my favourite crime books ever – the central idea is beautiful – and other titles in the series run it close as well.

It’s hard to say much about this one without spoiling it, but I’ll give it a go. There was a hint at the end of the previous title, The Burial Hour, that things would change for Rhyme and Sachs, but in fact this is back to the very familiar setting – New York – and business as usual. In other words, a twisty-turny plot that is straight out of the Supervillains’ Big Book Of Bonkers Plots (if you think about it too hard) that is told with such confidence, it won’t bother the reader at all. As ever, Deaver has done his research, this time about diamond cutting, so the reader comes out knowing more than they did going in. Yes, the villain is a bit obvious, but their plan certainly isn’t, despite Deaver peppering the book with enough information for the forensic reader to possibly piece it together. It’s a shame that the final reveal has to be signposted so that it makes sense to new readers – when something is mentioned at one point, it might as well be written in the sky in flashing fireworks for long-term readers – but even then, the final beat on that aspect of the plot is deeply satisfying and hints at something to come that would be both chilling and cracking to read about.

Oh, and worth saying, I’ve moaned a little in the past about the RKO Radio Serial chapter cliffhangers – where something bad seems to happen, only for the next chapter to rewind and show that our hero didn’t do exactly what the villain thought they did, hence escaping their trap. I thought the author was overusing it a bit. Well, I don’t recall it happening once this time, so hurrah!

I think it’s pretty clear, I loved this book, just what I needed to read at the moment. It’s a bit unbelievable, but so what? It’s a load of fun, an exciting thriller with enough twists that nobody is going to spot all of them. Roll on The Midnight Lock…

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