On the Edge
by Jane Jesmond
This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.
Pub Date 26 Oct 2021 | Archive Date 25 Oct 2021
Oldcastle Books, Verve Books
Jen Shaw has climbed all her life: daring ascents of sheer rock faces, crumbling buildings, cranes - the riskier the better. Both her work and personal life revolved around it. Until she went too far and hurt the people she cares about. So she's given it all up now. Honestly, she has. And she's checked herself into a rehab centre to prove it.
Yet, when Jen awakens to find herself drugged and dangling off the local lighthouse during a wild storm less than twenty-four hours after a 'family emergency' takes her home to Cornwall, she needs all her skill to battle her way to safety.
Once safe, the real challenge begins. Jen must face her troubled past in order to figure out whether something triggered a relapse to this risky behaviour, or if there is a more sinister explanation hidden in her hometown. Only when she has navigated her fragmented memories and fraught relationships will she be able to piece together what happened - and trust herself to fix it.
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 11 members
I really enjoyed this read, well written, suspenseful, twusts and turns and a good pace that was paired brilliantly with the tension.
Jen Shaw (Jenifry actually - she's Cornish) is an adrenalin junkie. She would climb almost anything and the harder the challenge the happier she was. Then things went wrong and people got hurt. After promising her brother she wouldn't climb again her life spiralled out of control. When the book starts she's in rehab and put herself in there voluntarily. Then she gets a message from her brother in Cornwall asking for her help. She checks herself out - promising to return - and heads for Cornwall. The start of this intrigued me. This story follows Jen's time back in Cornwall. She finds that her family has problems. Equally it does seem as though someone has a vendetta against her too. There are twists and turns in this tale and quite a bit of action too. The Cornish setting and the climbing theme added something for me. Pace and tension are a good part of this book too. I'm from the Westcountry, I've climbed (though not to Jen's level) and at times I've been a risk taker. It felt that this writing came from someone who has some understanding of both climbing and addiction. Jen's demons are vivid and visceral almost. I found her a convincing character. Most of the other characters seemed ok to me too. One or two of them added more to the tale overall. I do like finding new authors and something a little different. For me this was just that. It was a little different and was very enjoyable. It was one of those books I was always happy to pick up again - it kept me involved and interested. 4.5/5 Just because you feel paranoid doesn't mean that they are not out to get you - but who are "they"...
Synopsis Jen and her brother seemingly had an idyllic childhood in a large dysfunctional house in Cornwall. Their mother all new age mysticism and at one with the earth; Pa a celebrated mountaineer only at home to plan his next expedition away. As adults they drift away to London. Kit forms a business to provide specialist rigging service to film and TV. He excels at planning and Jen has the courage and skills to tackle the difficult climes. The business is a success, and all is going well until two incidents change everything. Jen is an adrenalin junkie and gets her kicks free climbing, particularly in an urban setting. Whilst climbing a tower in poor condition one of her friends falls after his hold crumbles away and she faces the dilemma of cutting the rope and saving three of them or all four going over. She cuts the rope and condemns her friend to life changing injuries. Kit begs her to stop climbing which she reluctantly does. She then spirals into a life of hedonistic parties and cocaine. Their mother takes the ostrich approach to fiscal responsibility by ignoring it, but as the bills mount to an unsustainable level, she calls on Kit for help. He sells the business and moves his wife and child to Cornwall to try and resolve the finances and keep the house. He has plans to convert the house into a holistic care and conference centre, but these plans drain the finances as well to the level that everything will implode, and an enforced sale will take place. Jen realises that she cannot continue as she recently has and checks into rehab. She is making great progress but then gets a desperate call to help kit out. Returning to Cornwall stirs up memories and rekindles friendships, but Jen realises all is not as it once was. On the first evening she comes too in a storm handing from the lighthouse by a cord with no recollection of how she got there. Was someone trying to kill her? She soon realises that she has stumbled into something, but she doesn’t know what, only that someone wants her dead. Jen can’t trust anyone; she even suspects her family or friends as she faces up to some home truths. To get to safety she is going to need all her skills and ingenuity My thoughts Cornwall is a great setting for fiction, a rugged coastline, an unforgiving sea, and stark moorland, all very atmospheric. Add to the mix a lighthouse, a mine and some smuggling and the writer has a lot to work with and in this case the author has used them all and thrown in a red Aston Martin for a bit of glamour. Although Jane Jesmond is not a native of Cornwall her affection for the county shines through. This is a tale of the individual facing up to their past mistakes and finding a kind of redemption through doing what they are best at rather than hiding away or finding oblivion through drink or drugs. Jen has been selfish and foolish but cannot put right all her mistakes and wrongs, something she must come to terms with it order to be able to move on in her life. She also needs to find some kind of focus and do the things she’s good at which bring her joy, but to do so in a way that doesn’t hurt others. The story is told in first person by Jen and her drug past allows for doubts to creep in particularly at the start of the story when it is not clear if she has relapsed. The style is unfussy, and the plot unfolds in a straightforward way albeit with a whodunnit element to keep the reader guessing. A good approach for a first novel to take. The introduction of the mine I thought was going to be a distraction but later in the book it dovetails with the smuggling aspect. The author makes it clear her moral stance on the subject but without it being preachy and derailing the action. The action scenes were good, and the climbing aspects not overused but still remaining essential; there is no need to be a climbing enthusiast toe enjoy it. I thought the dialogue was a little weak at some of the confrontations, but this is a minor point. There are some interesting characters but most of the characterisation is of Jen, which is understandable as this is the first of a planned series. Its going to be interesting to see how the series develops and hopefully there will be some recurring characters as it progresses. An entertaining read with plenty of incident and a strong female lead.
This was a really fun read! I was hooked from the first page and gulped it down in one day, would reccomend to any one who has an open mind and afternoon!
This is Jane Jesmond's debut, an exciting and thrilling piece of crime fiction set in the dramatic landscape of Cornwall with its abandoned mines and history of smuggling, and recent evidence of the drugs trade and arrival of desperate refugees. Jenifry 'Jen' Shaw is a woman who has lived and breathed free climbing since her early childhood spent running wild with her brother, Kit, at their hippy mother's ancestral home of Tregonna, in the village of Craighston, purchased by their father, a renowned mountaineer and adventurer. This bone deep love of climbing led to her inability to live without the ever growing risks that she embraces with a passion, its the risks that made her feel so vitally alive. It was virtually inevitable that there would be a price to pay for her dangerous lifestyle, resulting in a friend with life changing injuries and another falling to his death. All of which leads to Jen going off the rails with her drug fuelled partying that is to see her checking into rehab, and promising Kit she will never climb again. She returns to Cornwall after Kit finds himself deeply mired in overwhelming financial debts he is in no position to pay off whilst renovating Tregonna and their mother is refusing to help him. After checking into a local hotel, Jen awakens to find herself hanging precariously off from St Matthew's lighthouse on a wild and stormy night, with absolutely no idea or any memories of how she came to be there, had she reverted back to type and fallen prey to drugs and her innate need to climb? However, she soon becomes convinced that someone wants her dead, but is this paranoia or is the danger to her life all too real? I am not going to lie, I did not really like Jen at first, but Jen grew on me, she is definitely a one off, and observing her coming to terms with herself, her traumatic past and learning to become reconciled to it, and reclaim who she is, turned out to be a utterly riveting reading experience. Initially, I also felt the writing was a tad too dramatic for my tastes, but again I acclimatised to it with great ease. The novel just reeks with oodles of atmosphere, and has a wonderful sense of location, Cornwall is the perfect backdrop to the tense and nail biting action that takes place. This is a marvellous read, and no question, it is the original character of Jen that is at the heart of this engaging and stellar crime debut. Highly recommended. Many thanks to the publisher for an ARC.
Great crime and mystery book set in the amazing town of Cornwall. This book definitely kept me on the edge of my seat and didn't want to put it down!
This is a debut novel, I am both shocked and disappointed at this fact. I am shocked because this is a high quality novel which has been a thrilling and exciting read. I am disappointed as I cannot add more to the TBR by Jesmond. This is suspenseful and filled with a mix of characters. Some more interesting than others. This is definitely tense and twisty and will keep you guessing from the very beginning. I have been completely unable to predict where this was going and on occasions felt my heart pounding where I have been so immersed in the plot. I absolutely cannot wait to see what Jesmond has in store for us next, I have no doubt it will be equally as fantastic as this one.