cover image City on the Edge

City on the Edge

David Swinson. Mulholland, $28 (336p) ISBN 978-0-316-52854-2

In 1973, 12-year-old Graham Sanderson, the narrator of this outstanding thriller from Swinson (the Frank Marr PI series), moves with his family to Beirut, Lebanon, where his father, a Foreign Service officer, is posted to the U.S. embassy. For Graham, it’s an opportunity to make two expat friends who will help him explore the delights and occasional risks of a new place and different culture. Observant and inquisitive, Graham soon becomes aware of the underlying sense of danger and imminent violence that hangs over the city, the result of forces he can’t understand. When Graham discovers that his father carries a gun and holds clandestine late-night rendezvous with strangers, the boy suspects he may be working for the CIA. Events take a darker turn after Graham secretly witnesses the murder of an Arab by a foreigner, possibly an American involved in illegal gunrunning, at which point he and his friends are forced to make a decision that will end their youthful innocence. Swinson offers the reader a deeply felt coming-of-age novel set against a background of powerful authenticity. This is not to be missed. Agent: Deborah Schneider, Gelfman Schneider/ICM. (May)