cover image The Edge

The Edge

Mark Olshaker, Richard M. Restak, Olshaker Mark. Crown Publishing Group (NY), $21 (335pp) ISBN 978-0-517-58044-8

In his first novel since Blood Race (1989), Olshaker has dreamed up a fiendishly disturbing medical thriller. Detective Cassandra ``Sandy'' Mansfield of the Washington, D.C., police is investigating a series of ritualistic murders of young women that bear a striking similarity to an earlier California case. She discovers that the artist convicted of those crimes committed suicide almost a year before the new murders began--but that his iconoclastic, insufferably arrogant brother, Nicholas, is very much alive, working in D.C. as a neurosurgeon. As the look-alike murders continue, it becomes apparent that they are somehow linked to Nicholas, yet even as the unknown killer begins to stalk Sandy, the cop, struggling with a failed marriage, finds herself increasingly enamored of the doctor. Nicholas's brilliant young protege, several of his ex-patients, his pediatrician ex-wife and even the possible ghost of his dead brother come under suspicion as the murders continue and grow more bizarre. Olshaker's tale is marred slightly by his prose, whose highly disciplined, even formal manner doesn't always jibe with Sandy's sometimes slangy first-person narration, leaching it of its full emotional power. But even so, deep chills prevail in this darkly imagined thriller marked by brisk action and a mind-bending denouement. 50,000 first printing; film rights optioned by Renny Harlin; Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club alternates. (Aug.)