OVER THE EDGE by Hal Friedman

OVER THE EDGE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Formulaic sequel to Friedman's equally formulaic debut, A Hunting We Will Go (p. 134), brings back gung-ho LAPD maverick Detective Dan Jarrett, this time to rescue a small-town New Jersey schoolteacher, the daughter of Jarrett's dead partner, from obnoxious teenagers, abusive administrators, and a perverted killer. A field trip to the Delaware River Water Gap ends with Elaine Wilkins, a widowed Knollwood Middle School teacher, found dead at the bottom of a cliff. The park rangers write Wilkins off as an accident. But when some of the uncouth, hormonally challenged adolescents who were on the trip seem actually pleased with Wilkins's fate, and when a rumor gets around that she may have been mentally unbalanced, fellow teacher Meg Foley wonders: Did Wilkins jump? Was she pushed? Meg calls on Jarrett for help when another teacher who's asked the same question is almost killed from a mysterious explosion in the chemistry lab. Jarrett, already in hot water for beating a Hispanic psychokiller to death in front of TV cameras, is eager for a change of scene, especially when Meg hears, in a creepy anonymous phone call, that she'll be the next to die. In a secret dip into Wilkins's files, Meg also discovers that some nasty parental complaints had been lodged against Wilkins. Jarrett arrives in time to save Meg from a menacing assistant school superintendent--and, naturally, it doesn't take long before passion blooms. Meanwhile, Meg and Jarrett are convinced that Wilkins was murdered. Did the surly, petulant eighth-grade psycho-in-training Timothy Sullivan, the chief of police's grandson, kill her because she was the subject of his twisted sex fantasies? What strange blue pills was Wilkins popping before she died? In an attempt (or so it would seem) to pump up the suspense in his sagging plot, Friedman tosses in a drive-by shooting, a torture-murder of a local cop, a kidnaping, and more. Routine, by-the-numbers page-yawner.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1998
Page count: 305pp
Publisher: HarperCollins