I was delighted when Fiona over at Brownlee Donald Associates asked me to take part in the blog tour for Toby Faber’s ‘Close to the Edge’. Thanks to the author and the publisher for the review copy.
Before I share my thoughts, here’s what the official blurb says:
Morning rush hour on the London underground and Laurie Bateman is on her way to work when she witnesses a terrible accident. The elderly gentleman next to her on the platform falls onto the tracks and is fatally injured. With the police uninterested, Laurie is drawn to investigate and soon finds herself breaking into the tube network in the dead of night searching for a clue dropped by the dead man, only to be pursued by two unknown assailants whom she narrowly escapes. But Laurie’s troubles are far from over and soon she loses her job, has her phone stolen and discovers her flat has been burgled and her flatmate assaulted. It takes her father to persuade her that everything might be connected. Laurie starts to dig deeper, unaware that as she gets closer to the truth, she is endangering not only herself, but also everyone she loves .
Well that definitely started with an exhilarating rush to the head. Opening up six days before the main story we are introduced to Laurie Bateman as she is fleeing for her life in the darkness of the London Underground.
Rewind six days and we are taken on her dark and dangerous journey to disaster. Little hints about her past and her family life were perfectly woven into short sharp chapters which helped to create a heart racing feeling of pace and tension throughout the novel. A willingness to suspend disbelief is required throughout as Laurie and those around her are subject to a series of incidents which seem to hint that someone, somewhere is very keen to track her down and stop her search for the truth.
“Close to the Edge” provides an authentic sense of place, perfectly capturing the claustrophobic atmosphere of the London Underground, providing a view of the city that we don’t normally see. The fatal accident witnessed by Laurie bears testament to the lack of empathy and understanding from busy commuters no longer shocked by such thing but rather more interested in trying to get to their destination. The frantic pace of London was perfectly captured through Laurie’s eyes as she desperately tries to uncover just what happened to the man in the underground. As an aside I did smile a little at some of the cycling habits adopted by Laurie in the city centre and could feel the rage build within me!
I found Laurie to be an intriguing character. All the little hints we are drip fed about her background made me want to delve into the book and find out more about her. At times she infuriated me, with her lack of awareness in regards to her personal safety but despite that she compelled me to keep on reading as I was completely engrossed in her life. When she meets Paul Collingwood he had my spidey senses tingling; along with a whole host of seemingly small and unconnected incidents something was screaming at me to yell out at her “look behind you”. You will need to read the book to find out if my intuition was right or not but I can assure you that you will be as caught up in this story as I was!
I found it disturbing and a little bit terrifying : it made me want to pay much more attention to who and what was around me when I’m out and about!
An engrossing read that had my heart pumping and my nails well and truly bitten!
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Close to the Edge is available to purchase from:
About the author:
I was a scientist at university and worked in investment banking and as a management consultant before deciding I would never forgive myself if I didn’t accept an invitation to join the publishing company founded by my grandfather, Faber and Faber. I was there for five years, spending four of them as managing director, before leaving in 2001 to become a full-time writer.
Nowadays I remain on the Board of F&F and am Chairman of its sister company Faber Music but spend as much time as I can writing and lecturing (generally to Arts Societies in the UK and overseas). You might say that the general trajectory of my career has been away from money and towards quality of life. I also generally point out that the only one of my books to be published by Faber is the (forthcoming) history of the firm, Faber & Faber: The Untold Story.
I have a website at http://www.tobyfaber.co.uk and tweet as @Toby_Faber.