Question: Tell us briefly about Edge.
Jeffery Deaver: In Edge, our protagonist — known by the sole name Corte — is a “shepherd,” basically an über bodyguard working for an unnamed U.S. government agency, charged with keeping witnesses and innocent (or not so innocent) people safe from threats, when no one else can. In this book Corte is charged with protecting Ryan Kessler, a Washington D.C. cop, and his family when it’s learned that the villain is trying to get some information from Kessler, presumably because of one of his cases. The bad guy is a scary one: Henry Loving, a “lifter,” someone hired to extract (or “lift”) information from his target by any means necessary, including threatening or otherwise using his or her family. Torture is just one of his many tools of the trade. Edge also looks at the dynamics of what happens among family members when they’re thrown together under such extreme circumstances.
Q: How is Edge typical of and different from your other books?
JD: Well, it’s a typical Deaver book in that it takes place over a short period of time — a long weekend — and it races along without pausing for breath. And it’s got my typical twists and turns — including some really shocking surprise endings (yes, that’s plural), right up until the last couple of pages.
But what isn’t typical is that it’s written in the first person, unique for me. I did this because I wanted the challenge of incorporating twists and turns into a book where the readers have the same information as my protagonist. It certainly was a challenge, but according to the early reviews, at least, I think I pulled it off. Also, I liked the intimacy that comes from the relationship between reader and protagonist when you write in the first person. I think fans like that too.
Q: Where is the novel set?
JD: The novel’s set in a place where I actually happen to live much of the time, in and around Washington, D.C. Much takes place in Great Falls, Fairfax and in the District itself. My protagonist lives in a wonderful part of the area, Old Town Alexandria. Though it’s not a political thriller, I wanted the book to convey the exotic nature of the nation’s capital, as well as the decidedly gritty side of the District and surrounding areas. There are some Civil War motifs in the book too, which I love.
Q: Do you prefer stand-alones or series?
JD: I have no preference really. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages. With stand-alones, for instance, I can always imperil my main characters and risk killing them off (yes, I love messing with my readers’ minds!), which I can’t do with series. But I have to invent a whole world every time, whereas with series novels I know the characters, locations, institutions, etc. The real key is deciding which category is best for the story idea. For instance, the Lincoln Rhyme books are best for technical subjects, the Kathryn Dance for more psychological thrillers. The stand-alones let me experiment, often combining the two and trying out new forms (like the first-person in Edge). I think more people like series, so that’s what I stick to most of the time.
Q: What’s coming up in the future?
JD: It’s public knowledge now that I’m writing the James Bond novel for 2011. It’s largely completed, though there’ll be some more editing to do (you can never do too much rewriting). After that, I’m continuing with my next Kathryn Dance book for 2012, and the next Lincoln Rhyme in 2013. . . . Phew, hearing all that, I better get back to work!