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Atmospheric thriller set in Cornwall

17th December 2021

On The Edge by Jane Jesmond, atmospheric thriller set in Cornwall (Jen Shaw Mystery no.1).

Atmospheric thriller set in Cornwall

Sunday Times Best Crime Novel of the Month.

The novel is set in the fictional village of Craighston. You can feel the wind and the rain thundering down in the opening chapters of this novel and the author maintains the atmospheric tension going forward.

Jen is a climber (and yes, she has even climbed a crane!) and therefore at heart is someone who loves excessive risk and freedom. A real adrenaline junkie, then. But it all went wrong at one point and her addiction not only to climbing but to drugs started to take over. She vowed never to climb again.

As the novel opens she is heading back to Cornwall, checking herself out of rehab on what seems to be a whim. She has discovered a communication from her brother, calling for her to come to Cornwall as her help is urgently needed. They haven’t spoken in some time, clearly something came between them. Family dynamics are all part of the narrative.

She decides to break her journey, to gather her thoughts, and stay at a small hotel. but the next thing she knows is that she is tied, hanging from the local lighthouse. She does extricate herself and gets herself back to the hotel and she is reminded in the morning that someone offered her their car so that she could drive back safely to her lodgings. This was quite an inventive and surreal opener, mindful that Jen could be living this in real time, or blurring reality with hallucinations, given her history. The author just about gets the balance right – it does stray into the unbelievable on occasion, but the story gets into its stride in the second half. She then compounds the well paced storyline with a powerful background setting: Cornwall really comes thundering to life with all its ruggedness, pounding weather and spirit.

As this is no.1 in the series, it will be interesting see where she takes her protagonist next.

We also talked to Jane about the setting of her novel, here.

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  1. I entered a publisher competition to win a copy of this book, but obviously wasn’t successful. It is definitely on my ‘wish list’ though. You can’t beat Cornwall as a story location!

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