THE EDGE OF THINGS by Richard Lyons


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From Oregonian Lyons (Camp Baseball; the stories A Wilderness of Faith and Love), a subjective police procedural that largely ignores what most procedurals do so well and focuses instead (superbly) on fugitive workings of the mind. By the very nature of its method—offering five tons of interior monologue—this becomes an imperfect novel. Reminiscent of the labyrinthine mental ramblings of Faulkner’s Benjy in The Sound and the Fury, Lyons enters the mind of a chipper but none-too-bright psychopath who’s murdered 64 women in the Pacific Northwest and whose mind roams through an utterly different, not always intelligible, far from gloomy reality that’s way, way out there on “the edge of things.” From the moment we meet him, Robert/Roy (he functions like two people talking one to the other) seems instantly accessible to us, even though he has problems accessing himself, having little or no memory of what he was doing even an hour ago. In fact, Robert/Roy lives completely in the present, having blanked out an intolerably traumatic past event so emphatically that the most lively part of his mind seems to be the road coming at him. Also on hand are Harris Duke, who unwittingly leads Robert/Roy into the story’s first murder; assistant district attorney Amy Snow, haunted to the core and emotionally disabled by Robert/Roy even after he’s been caught; and officer Micah Brown, who was forced not long ago to shoot a crazed woman then on the verge of murdering her children. Perhaps because this is slightly based on a real case, that of the Northwest’s Green River Killer, Lyons lets things pass that even lesser writers would explore, choosing instead to drift along, looking at much finer points’such as how the mind of a mass murderer blows away all normal feelings in his pursuers.

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 1999
ISBN: 0-9657639-2-7
Page count: 231pp
Publisher: Permanent Press
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15th, 1998