Review: Edge of Black by J.T. Ellison
If you love a suspense thriller, then EDGE OF BLACK will grab you from the first chapter. A great cast of characters keeps this novel hopping from Washington, D.C. to Colorado with one twist after another.
Starting off in the point-of-view of the villain, the first chapter leads the reader step-by-step through an event that seems well-rehearsed and planned. Is he a terrorist? What’s he doing? Will he get away with it? It’s that uncertainty that draws you in, forcing you to rapidly turn the pages. With multiple points-of-view, an asset of author J.T. Ellison’s style, it’s impossible not to want to rush right along with the characters as the story progresses.
Dr. Samantha Owens, a former medical examiner, decides that a fresh start will help her get over the grief she endures daily, after a flood took her husband and two children. It seems like yesterday, yet, it’s time to move on, if that’s even possible. Xander Whitfield, a former army ranger who Sam met on her last case, is part of her moving on, but Sam isn’t sure what it is that they have between them. All she knows is that she can sometimes forget the horrors of her past when in Xander’s arms.
Looking forward to her new position in the forensic pathology department of Georgetown University, Sam takes on a few lectures prior to her start date. It’s during her lecture that one of Sam’s students goes into respiratory distress. With the help of a few of her students, they rush the girl to the medical center across the street, only to find the Emergency Room jam-packed with more victims. Sam recognizes the possibility of a biological terrorist attack and offers her assistance. The Washington, D.C. hospital has protocol to follow, so Sam is forced to sit on the sidelines, her mind working in overdrive considering every possibility when they refuse her help.
Sam’s curiosity can’t be dampened easily, so she calls her friends, D.C. Homicide Detective Darren Fletcher and Dr. Amado Nocek, a medical examiner in D.C. Their suspicions match Sam’s, which begins their joint investigation after three people die in the attack. Sam knows it’s too soon after what happened to her family, but immersing herself back into the fray may help her merge where she can be the most useful, based on her experience. Sam doesn’t expect her boyfriend, Xander Whitfield, to have the knowledge she needs for her investigation, or for that to become a danger to them both.
I can’t go into detail about what I enjoyed most about this novel without spoiling the plot, so I’m going to be evasive. For me, Xander’s friends, acquaintances and family were the highlight of the book, even though the suspense and romance were just as keen. Samantha and Xander are an engaging couple, but it’s the full cast of characters, their stories and the building anticipation that makes this novel so addictive. The twists just keep coming and with them an absorbing plot that comes full circle in the end.
EDGE OF BLACK is sharp-as-a-knife, exhilarating suspense. I lost sleep reading this one, so don’t think you can just read a couple chapters each night—you need to read this novel cover to cover. Although it might have been helpful to have some back-story by reading book one in the DR. SAMANTHA OWENS series, I didn’t feel lost starting with book two. A superb thriller in tandem with engaging friendships, EDGE OF BLACK will satisfy those who like their romance enhanced with some fast-paced action.
What’s on your mountain?