Review

At The City’s Edge

by Marcus Sakey

Marcus Sakey won critical and popular acclaim with THE BLADE
ITSELF, his debut novel. His sophomore effort, AT THE CITY’S
EDGE, is a gutsy change of pace from its predecessor.


While highlighting Sakey’s canny ability for thriller
writing, AT THE CITY’S EDGE is at its core a mystery, one
that is complex, multilayered and, above all, intriguing. The
primary character, as with THE BLADE ITSELF, is the author’s
beloved Chicago, but his latest book introduces an entirely new and
riveting cast of personalities to bounce off of his fast-moving
plot.


Chief among them is Jason Palmer, an Iraq war veteran whose
discharge “for reasons other than honorable” chafes him
internally as he returns to his old neighborhood. Jason realizes
immediately that he has only exchanged one war for another when his
brother Michael is brutally murdered. A tavern owner and community
activist, Michael had been extremely vocal about gang activity in
his local area and made a number of dangerous enemies. When he
is killed during the torching of his business in front of his young
son, Billy, it appears that he is yet another victim of an ongoing
and apparently never-ending street war. Billy’s description
of his father’s assailants, however, doesn’t quite
equate with that conclusion.


Jason doesn’t have much time to puzzle it out, because even
as they are grieving, he all too quickly learns that the men who
killed his brother are now after Billy as well. Jason and Billy
find themselves on the run, but Jason wants revenge for his
brother’s death, even as he discovers that the reasons for
Michael’s execution are more complicated than he originally
thought.


Meanwhile, Elena Cruz, a police officer with Chicago's prestigious
Gang Intelligence Unit, is quietly being warned off the case, which
she had hoped would redeem her professionally from an earlier error
in judgment. Already at a loss as to where to turn for help or
which way to go, she forms an uneasy alliance with Jason that is
both complicated and made easier by the growing attraction between
the two. Almost immediately, however, they find themselves caught
between a street gang and the police, along with a shadowy
third party whose motives are as shady as they are powerful.


Sakey combines classic whodunit elements with thriller
sensibilities to make AT THE CITY’S EDGE a follow-up effort
that is the equal of his impressive debut. And for good measure,
the author tosses in a tour of Chicago’s underbelly that
isn’t covered in any guidebook. This is one novel that you
won’t soon forget.


   











Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on December 22, 2010

At The City’s Edge
by Marcus Sakey

  • Publication Date: January 22, 2008
  • Genres: Fiction, Thriller
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books
  • ISBN-10: 0312360320
  • ISBN-13: 9780312360320