“The Cutting Edge” by Jeffery Deaver has many twists and turns. It brings into focus how diamonds are not people’s best friends, and can actually be dangerous to one’s health. It appears there is a serial killer terrorizing couples for the rings on their fingers.
“I like writing in the little esoteric pieces into the story,” Deaver said. “For example, the Italian culture in ‘The Burial Hour’ or electricity for the grid in ‘The Burning Wire.’ I saw the movie ‘Blood Diamond’ and thought about writing something with the diamond industry. I wanted to make a character obsessed with diamonds in a twisted and psychological way. I knew this industry would be a perfect foil for an overarching story.”
The plot opens with the horrific murders of a couple, William Sloane and Anna Markam, and a master diamond cutter, Jatin Patel, who works in Manhattan’s diamond district. As they enter to pick up their engagement ring, a gunman wearing a ski mask goes in right behind them. After the intruder shoots William and Anna dead, he tortures and kills Jatin with a box-cutter.
Shortly thereafter, an employee, Vimal Lahori, arrives but manages to escape the killer. The tension ratchets up as the killer, now dubbed The Promiser, hunts Vimal and more engaged couples. Lincoln Rhyme and Amelia Sachs are hired on a consulting basis to analyze the evidence and assist the police in catching the murderer. Simultaneously, an additional story unfolds in Brooklyn where a drilling construction site is home to numerous and extremely rare earthquakes that set off gas leaks and explosions. In addition, Lincoln is hired as a consultant by the defense team of a known Mexican cartel leader.
He is very careful not to get too graphic while addressing violence.
“I do not like sexual sadism or sexual violence, and will not kill a child or animal,” Deaver said. “A death should create huge and rippling consequences for many people. Before a writer kills someone, they must think it through because it is a horrific incident. To have more of an impact there should be fewer scenes. I guess I follow the Alfred Hitchcock approach of suspense, not gore.”
In this book, Deaver does not give much page time to the main characters, Rhyme and Sachs. The focus is more on Vimal and his girlfriend. He is a young and passionate sculptor and apprentice diamond cutter. Through him, readers learn numerous details about diamonds and the industry. It almost appears that diamonds become a character in the story.
“I do think in the novel the other characters were looked at more than Rhyme and Sachs,” Deaver said. “In the book, there is this attitude between Muslims and Hindus. I like including these personal conflicts and hoped to pull off a Romeo and Juliet. This is why I spent a lot of time with Vimal and his girlfriend. I also wanted to write him as someone who wanted to escape his father and the killer. But he was drawn to the diamond, similar to that of Michelangelo. Both feel the objects are souls needed to be brought out.”
The multiple plots become connected at the story’s end. Deaver once again uses his magical ways to show nothing is as clear-cut as it seems.