by Suzanne Brockmann

September 2001
ISBN: 0-804-11970-8
Reviewer Graphic Button Ivy Books
Mass Market Paperback

This is not a review analyzing a book and the writer's style. This is a declaration of love for characters that have become friends and for a writer I have come to depend on for wonderful, exhilarating and satisfying reads.

Over The Edge brings you Kazbekistan, a hijacked plane, terrorists awaiting their satisfied demands, the Navy (Sam, Stan) moving in, the FBI (Max, Alyssa) negotiating, an Israeli representative (Helga) attending, a helicopter pilot (Teri) stationed by default, an US senator's daughter missing that particular plane and one brave girl (Gina) impersonating her.

I picked up Over The Edge because I wanted to know more about Sam and Alyssa's relationship, but guess what, by the time they made their first appearance I was already hooked on Teri Howe and Stan Wolonchock (Don't you just love the names Suzanne Brockmann comes up with?). It's a "Beauty and the Beast" plot line, which is tender and loving in sharp contrast to the violence they are surrounded by.

Still the anticipation of Sam and Alyssa's first meeting was high, overshadowing and sometimes nearly drowning out all other plot threads happening simultaneously. No matter who the hero and heroine in the current Suzanne Brockmann book are, Sam and Alyssa will always be stronger in demanding the readers' and in this case, the reviewer's attention.

Will Sam ever get it right? A war of passion it is with Sam and Alyssa with them chasing each other like teenagers around the playground. It had me suffering through every scene, every moment with them; I ended up breathless with a hurting chest and bleeding heart.

With letting their relationship develop over the period of not just one book but now three already, Ms. Brockmann intensifies the reader's attachment with them and gives an insight in how an exciting relationship can develop: lust, trust, love (or not?).

Ever had to put down a book, because the characters were too real and got to you? Well, I had to do it several times with Over The Edge. With this book and the previous ones I got to know Alyssa and Sam too well. To watch them stumble into situations painful and distressing, with caring too much about them, had me put down the book and count the pages left to read, never wanting the book to end.

All of her previously introduced (in Suzanne Brockmann's published Single Title novels) main characters put in an appearance to make Over The Edge one happy re-union. Not! Well, it is for the readers who got so attached and involved with the characters and their lives that they can only feel relieved when they are granted another glimpse of them and their operations.

Ms. Brockmann has managed to garner an undeniable loyal fan base through her well thought out characters. She teases her readers with the promise of more and, being a consistently first-rate writer makes good on it, always satisfying her readers. If we, the readers, just didn't have to wait so long for the follow up novel - I know, six months is not that long but trust me with Ms. Brockmann's books it can feel like eternity.

So the only thing one needs to know about Ms. Brockmann's writing style is that it is exactly right. It never gets in the way of a good story and its well-drawn characters, always fact paced and with very tight and convincing plot lines. It is perfection, at least in the eyes of one devoted and probably bias fan. Still, as Suzanne Brockmann gives each of her characters a unique voice I never had to struggle through plot thread and POV changes.

One of my favorite moments in Over The Edge were the many references to pop culture, an aspect that should have me in giggles in ten years, when re-reading it for the up tenth time. And yes I did cry, mostly over Helga's story, her recounting of her teenage years in Nazi occupied Denmark, of a nation that stood up against oppression and hate and saved the life of thousands of peoples.

This is such an important issue at the moment. Remember that when standing up for each other and together, fighting evil forces, one doesn't have to fear and play into the enemy's (terrorists, molesters and violators) hands by being frightened, lonely and demoralized.

Another thing I appreciate Suzanne Brockmann's books for is the way she portraits in them a United States that is united in its multicultural diversity, in its believe of equality and freedom, in its strong sense of right and wrong, but also in its tolerance and understanding of different cultures, religions, believes and heritages.

Over The Edge is a book that sends a loud message of love, peace and hope. A message I'd like people to read and follow.

Reviewed in November 2001 by Kris Alice.

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