On Edge is a novel soon to be released by Oceanview Publishing (September 2016). I received my copy courtesy of Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
On Edge is a novel based around true events that happened in Kabul in 2010. Possibly the world’s worst banking scandal ever took place there, where approximately $1 billion dollars went unaccounted for. Quite a number of Afghans were indicted for this crime but the full extent of what happened is still unknown and only a small percentage of the money has been recovered.
‘When a former Army buddy is murdered by an Afghan military colleague, U.S. Army Special Investigator Alex Klear is called back into action in Afghanistan to investigate what is thought to be a classic green-on-blue killing. Alex finds Kabul in a state of chaos, partly under government control, partly controlled by the Taliban.
From the beginning, he suspects that the Army has identified the wrong man as the killer, and that an innocent Afghan soldier has become the victim of a complex frame-up. His suspicions are solidified when he discovers that his friend had been investigating a massive fraud at Kabul Bank. As Alex is drawn into the epicenter of the biggest bank fraud in history, he finds his efforts systematically thwarted by both the American and the Afghanistan governments.
In the lawless streets of Kabul and into the far outreaches of Afghanistan, Alex relentlessly hunts his friend’s killer and uncovers the truth. In real-life, an incident kept mostly out of the media a monumental embarrassment to both countries.’
Alex Klear is a man on a mission. Having previously had experience of Afghanistan, he becomes the top choice to discover the truth behind who really murdered his friend & colleague Pete Hansen. The immediate reaction to the murder by the US military is that they were dealing with a standard ‘Green-on-Blue’, which basically means that the Pete Hansen was ‘shot’ by an Afghan military colleague in cold blood. From the onset Alex doesn’t believe this to be the case and he appears to be on his own with this opinion. For reasons he cannot fathom the people in the higher echelons of the US government want this case closed and fast. An Afghan soldier is framed for the murder but Alex can see immediately that the pieces don’t add up.
With the help of an Afghan interpreter Haji, he sets off to discover the truth behind the murder but he encounters great difficulties and very dangerous challenges along the way.
In order to accept this mission Alex postpones his wedding to his fiance Irmie. it’s not very long when he has regrets. ‘I felt a sick feeling and couldn’t help thinking I never should have said yes to this mission. Whenever I recalled my telephone call with Irmie, I remembered how upset she had been. I should have anticipated her reaction, but I hadn’t’ Alex may not have been good at interpreting his fiance’s reaction, but luckily in everything else his reactions are exemplary. They have to be or he would not survive the chaos of Kabul.
While in Kabul, Alex crosses paths with many people – military, government, Taliban – but there is one person,Captain Corley, who he just can’t figure out. She is senior to him in this operation & guides him along many different paths in the discovery of who the murderer is. Alex can’t get a ‘make’ on her and never truly knows where her loyalties lie and for whom she works. She is tough, almost masculine, in how she acts but at the same time an Audrey Hepburn lookalike. Between them they stumble onto a network of deceit & corruption within both Afghanistan and the US government. Alex finds himself in the middle of the banking scandal, an area where he has little expertise but he’s a fast learner and soon he discovers that he has opened a Pandora’s box. The tentacles of this banking scandal are very far reaching and Alex must use all his strength & fortitude to see it through to the end.
At times in the novel, Alex stops and lets us in to the beauty of the country ‘Wherever you are In Afghanistan, the mountains are never far away, and on this day they seemed especially close – and as always beautiful.’ We forget this as we are constantly bombarded with reports of bombing and death on the cities of Afghanstan, a country torn apart by violence & hatred.
Alex relentlessly pursues the murderer through the wilderness that is Afghanistan. He has many positive experiences but also he experiences some very traumatic events. On his return to the States, the mission continues, until Alex can do no more. There are many fatalities along the way, many that Alex would have known. The memories of these people will still haunt him. ‘Although it was self defence, I wondered if I ever would get beyond it.’
Alex Klear is portrayed as a tough, ‘don’t mess with me’ character. He seems to have the ability to take every brutal punch and still bounce back without so much as a broken bone. I think he is what we look for in our fictional heroes. He’s brave, he’s tough, he’s charismatic, he’s good looking, he’s formidable and he’s…well…a nice guy!!! He pursues his mission, he completes his mission and of course he lives to tell the tale. I expect we can look forward to future missions from Alex Klear and I would really look forward to that.
Albert Ashforth wrote this novel and his previous novel, The Rendition, using his own personal experiences while serving overseas with the US army and also from working as a military contractor in some of the most dangerous hotspots in the world, including Afghanistan. His experiences bring a lot to these books and bring a truth that is very present in the descriptions of Kabul and Afghanistan during a very dangerous period of it’s history.
I would recommend this book to everyone who loves a fast paced thriller, a page turner, the kind of book that will draw you into the lives of the characters. I would like to thank Netgalley & Oceanview Publishing for giving me the opportunity to review this book.
It’s 4* rating from me!!
I hope you enjoy. Please let me know what you think.
Til next time.