Review: Knife Edge – Fergus McNeill

Knife Edge by Fergus McNeill

Title: Knife Edge
Author: Fergus McNeill
Publication date: 1 September 2013
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Format: Hardback
ISBN: 978-1-444-73966-4
Length: 406 pages
Genre: Mystery
Age group: Adult
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Buy it: Amazon | The Book Depository

In a nutshell

He didn’t intend to let her get so close. But now that Kim’s become important to him, Robert Naysmith decides to tell his girlfriend his deadly secret. He wants her to recognise the power he holds.

He hopes he won’t have to kill her.

Detective Inspector Harland hasn’t forgotten the serial killer who got away from him. But with nothing to go on, he fears he will never bring him to justice. Until he is seconded to investigate the brutal murder of a woman in her Bristol home. A random attack, a murderer who has carefully covered his tracks . . . alarm bells start ringing.

Then Harland meets Kim. One last game of life and death is about to begin.

My thoughts

Fergus McNeill has been on my ‘top 10 favourite crime writers’ list ever since I read his debut, Eye Contact, last year. Needless to say the sequel, Knife Edge, was one of my most anticipated books of the year and I’m glad to say that McNeill didn’t disappoint. While Knife Edge seemed a bit slower paced than its predecessor, all in all I really enjoyed it.

The book pretty much starts where the previous one ended so it won’t make much (if any) sense if you haven’t read Eye Contact yet. Serial killer Robert Naysmith is on a holiday on a remote island and, seeking recognition, he is just about to tell his girlfriend his deadly secret. How do you go about confessing such a thing? How will Kim react? Will she try to get away or will she stay with him? These are the questions Knife Edge focuses on while it follows Kim’s journey after Naysmith’s revelation.

The reason why this book might have seemed slower than the first one is that it’s not about Naysmith and his sick game anymore. It’s more about how his girlfriend deals with such a twisted secret and the emotional struggle she is going through as the enormity of what her boyfriend had done slowly starts to sink in. Although I did miss reading about Naysmith’s game and how he chased his victims and found the book a bit too slow for my liking at first, I was really intrigued by Kim’s internal struggle and found myself completely immersed in the story, even without all that adrenaline-drenched action. What I wasn’t particularly keen on, though, is the ending and how quickly it was all wrapped up. I liked the way the story ended but I felt like it was a bit rushed and shouldn’t have been crammed into the last twenty pages.

All in all, however, it was a great read and I would definitely recommend it. I don’t know what the author has in store for us but I hope this won’t be the last DI Harland book. Despite the sudden ending and the slower pace of this particular book, I really enjoy McNeill’s writing and Harland’s character (who, by the way, is still one of my favourite detectives) and would hate to say goodbye to yet another literary favourite.

Rating4 star rating*Many thanks to Hodder & Stoughton for sending me a copy for review*


  1. says

    I’m glad this one didn’t disappoint. I’m curious how the author would’ve managed maintaining the air of suspense and mystery characteristic of Thriller novels when the sequel is primarily about the girlfriend – well, not so much as hers but her reaction to his secret.

    Haven’t read this one nor have I heard of it. Will be checking it out, for sure. :)
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    • says

      No, me neither. The book itself was good, though, and I love the characters, so if you like this genre then I’d definitely recommend it.

      I know, I keep thinking about the same thing! I can’t even begin to imagine how I’d have reacted… (It’s kind of a vicious circle, isn’t it? If you freak out and leave him then he will probably come after you and kill you because you know his secret and you could give him up at the police, but if you try to stay calm and stay with him then… you’re basically living with a murderer…)

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