RAZOR’S EDGE by Shannon K Butcher
RAZOR’S EDGE, released November 2011, is the second book in The Edge series by Shannon K. Butcher. A romantic suspense series, The Edge novels focus on a group of elite, military trained personnel who have all been ‘conditioned’ and ‘trained’ as killing machines, and are somehow linked to a 20 year old experimental operation known as The Threshold Project. The Threshold Project was a failure that left many children, who are now adults, on the brink of psychological collapse and physical destruction. The Edge is a private security company backed by Payton Bainbridge and owner Bella Bayne.
Roxanne ‘Razor’ Haught is a operative working for The Edge.–A group of trained security experts, in the field of military and corporate espionage. But when an assignment goes wrong, Razor’s supervisor Bella Bayne is pissed. Razor is assigned a partner, a babysitter in one—Tanner O’Connell. An ex-military man, Tanner has returned state side, on compassionate leave, due to a family accident, that killed his father and brother, Tanner needs this job, to help pay for his mother’s expenses and his sister in laws family and children. So under the guise of training, Razor is expected to train Tanner in the ways of The Edge.
With her ego hurting, Razor makes several attempts to elude Tanner, and takes him on a wild ride through downtown Dallas, but a burglary that destroys her childhood home, and an explosion that rocks her new place turn a lesson in self-pity, into a search and rescue. Razor realizes that she has become a target. When a mysterious, encrypted email arrives, from her best friend Jake Staite……saying to ‘burn everything, they are coming’, Razor knows that something is wrong. With Jake currently on an undercover assignment, Razor is unsure, whether the message can be true. Having not heard from Jake in months, and not knowing with which branch of security Jake is now working, Razor suspects that Jake is in trouble.
With Tanner’s help, they search Jakes’ possessions, only to find he has sent her a journal, documenting a series of medical mind control experiments (using powerful drugs) that are resulting in the death of his friends and those targeted by the mission. As a result of this information, Razor and Tanner, must take the journal to their superiors at The Edge, hoping that their ‘friends’ in powerful places, would be willing to help rescue Jake. When the leads take Razor and her fellow Edge personnel to New Mexico, a series of attempted abductions and death threats, against Razor, put the team on alert. But when her supervisor Payton, discovers that the man who was tracking Razor back in Dallas, has been brainwashed and control, in similar stylings to The Threshold Project, Payton must make a decision. As a member of the original Threshold Project-along with General Norwood, it has become apparent to Payton, that Dr. Stynger, a woman who was presumed dead, is still alive and continuing to push the limits of the human mind.
We are introduced to Clay, a fellow Edge team mate, who is showing symptoms of abnormal behavior, and Reid, Tanner’s brother. The anger between the brother’s regarding their father and brother’s death, places the team members in the unwanted position on the sidelines. But when Reid admonishes Tanner for his relationship with Razor, we see a side to the brothers, that reveals more jealousy than hate. Tanner and Razor’s relationship has gone beyond partners to lovers, against company policy, and with the knowledge, that both are equally aggressive with their assignments, the others are once again, forced to watch as their team mates, play a game of cat and mouse with each other.
Jake has found a friend in Jordyn Stynger. She was the person instrumental in sending the email to Razor, but paid a high price for her disobedience. Her mother, Dr. Norma Stynger, head of the current mind control project, continues to make an example of her daughter. But after a horrific demonstration of torture against Jake, Jordyn reveals the location of Razor to her mother, but once again, must face the consequences of her actions. It is not until Jake has been thoroughly brain-washed, and in a drug controlled stupor, does Jordyn affect his escape from the facility in New Mexico. But unbeknownst to everyone, Jake is leading Stynger and General Bower, straight to Razor and the Edge Team. Wanting Jake’s journal returned and destroyed, Stynger and her team of vigilante ex- military, set a trap to ensnare Razor, for the return of the journal.
When the team finally discovers the where-abouts of Razor, Tanner is almost destroyed learning she has been beaten. Their relationship is no longer a forced partnership, but one building on love. But when a mind-controlled Jake, is told to kill them both, Tanner will stop at nothing to save the woman he has fallen in love with. With Razor’s reluctant help, Tanner subdues a raging Jake, only to realize there is nothing that will stop the man, in his murderous rage. Knowing that he must take Jake down, Tanner is reluctant to kill Jake, but he must shoot the man, before he kills them all. Razor’s affections for Jake are deep. She loves the man beyond measure, which leaves a confused and jealous Tanner. But as the story developed, we were witnesses to a background of love and friendship between two best friends, who would die before letting the other be harmed.
As a prolific reader of all things Christine Feehan, I could not help but make the comparisons between The Edge series and the Ghostwalkers. Although each has its’ own distinctive storylines, characters and events, The Threshold Project with its’ use of young children, and now adults, is comparable to Dr. Whitney’s experiments on young girls and the Ghostwalker Teams. Not that it is a bad thing…just comparable. If you like Christine Feehans’ Ghostwalker series, you will like Shannon K Butcher’s The Edge series.
Razor’s Edge is a fast paced novel that encompasses both action and military style operations. Razor and Tanner’s relationship builds quickly, as the two are put into the difficult situation of guarding each other 24/7, but their chemistry is strong and not without its’ moments of lust and love. Razor is written as a strong-willed, tough character, who is continuously risking her own life, as well as those of the men around her. The Edge and its’ team members have plenty of opportunity and future storylines, to search for those men and women who were once and now continue to be part of The Threshold Project.
1. Living On The Edge (Mar 2011)
2. Razor’s Edge (Nov 2011)
Reviewed by Sandy