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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Buckle your seatbelt and head Over The Edge
Brandilyn Collins is my favorite suspense author. I read her books not only for the awesome stories but to enjoy her amazing writing. Her books are truly "Seatbelt suspense," and she takes her readers for a wild ride through plot-line twists and turns. If you like suspense, you'll love Brandilyn's books.

Over The Edge, was personal. A tick bite in 1999 started...
Published on April 25, 2011 by Lisa Buffaloe

versus
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Over the Edge
Janessa McNeil's husband, Dr. Brock McNeil, is a researcher and professor at Stanford University's Department of Medicine. He specializes in tick borne diseases, especially Lyme disease. He's known for his adamant denial that chronic Lyme exists, even when patients get sicker in front of his face.

In an act of revenge and a twisted sense that he's helping...
Published on January 18, 2012 by Danyelle0423


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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Buckle your seatbelt and head Over The Edge, April 25, 2011
This review is from: Over the Edge: A Novel (Paperback)
Brandilyn Collins is my favorite suspense author. I read her books not only for the awesome stories but to enjoy her amazing writing. Her books are truly "Seatbelt suspense," and she takes her readers for a wild ride through plot-line twists and turns. If you like suspense, you'll love Brandilyn's books.

Over The Edge, was personal. A tick bite in 1999 started a spiraling decline in my health. As my body fell apart, twenty-three doctors resulted in twenty-three opinions. I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, lupus, and other equally worrisome diseases.

Not until 2006 did we find the true culprit -- Lyme Disease. By that time, the disease was well rooted in my system. Even as every blood test confirmed my immune system remained horribly affected, and I was termed chronically ill, most doctors were either clueless or refused to believe Chronic Lyme Disease existed.

I had just entered the Lyme Wars.

Over The Edge is a must-read for suspense lovers as well as anyone who has encountered Lyme Disease.

Suspense lovers and Lyme sufferers, buckle your seat belts and head Over The Edge.

Over the Edge: A Novel
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Saving people from going over the edge, April 13, 2011
This review is from: Over the Edge: A Novel (Paperback)
Janessa McNeil, Jannie to her friends, had a perfect life: married to a highly respected research physician, mother to a loving nine year old daughter, and living in such a protected community there was little need to set home alarms unless one left on vacation. But something has changed. Jannie, though seldom sick has had the flu for three weeks and wonders aloud if she might have Lyme's Disease. She only thinks to ask because her husband, Brock, is one of the most respected Lyme's researchers in the country. Then comes a day that she falls in the kitchen and later receives a fateful phone call from a mad man; he has secretly infected her with an extremely virulent form of Lyme's and she has 48 hours to change her husband's position on the reality of chronic Lyme's disease.

In Over the Edge, Brandliyn Collins brings us yet another installment of her Seatbelt Suspense with an intensely personal spin. For those who don't know, Collins had her own encounter with Lymes and knows first-hand the battle those who suffer from it must face not only from the disease itself but from a medical community that for all too long refused to acknowledge the disease even existed in any chronic form. Her understanding of the disease and empathy with those stilling fighting in the trenches of the Lyme Wars bleed through on every page.

Over the Edge does something that few novels successfully accomplish. It keeps the suspense clock ticking in a situation that can often seem endless. Any battle with a disease like Lymes has its dramatic moments but is also filled with tedium few could tolerate. There are hours in physician's waiting rooms that often lead to yet more hours in some other waiting room. Batteries of hospital tests are initially filled with nervous anxiety. After that, the poking and prodding and even the pain meld into mind-numbing sameness. Each day becomes like the day before until time all but losses any meaning. So how to maintain the intensity Collins is known for? That is accomplished through a deadline to meet, a villain to confront, and a husband who doubts the severity of Jannie's illness.

Suspense is Collins' game and she doesn't abandon it in the process of relating the very real facts about this crippling and frustrating disease. There is still a bad guy to worry about and seek to understand. Collins uses a technique from her other novels by contrasting the 3rd person detachment of the tortured antagonist with the 1st person immediacy of the plight of Jannie McNeil. Though the villain claims his actions are to change people's minds he is so anchored to the past he is a prisoner to it. Jannie, on the other hand, is locked in battle for the now. Just. One. More. Breath. Just. One. More. Step. And, there is nothing more immediate for Jannie than simply trying to remember what the next word is she needs to say. The result is an unknown enemy threatening from a distance and an ever more terrifying enemy that is present with every breath Jannie takes.

If you know someone fighting a chronic disease, if you are that person, if you just like a good story, read this novel of suspense from Brandilyn Collins. It entertains in a way you will forget you are being taught and teaches in a way you'll be thankful it was more than entertainment.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended: A real life witch-hunt scarier than any vampire or zombie tale, May 12, 2011
This review is from: Over the Edge: A Novel (Paperback)
In Over the Edge, Brandilyn Collins tackles the natural human tendency to attack those least able to defend themselves. This goes along with the propensity to blame innocent people for their disabilities. In the old days, this tendency expressed itself in witch-hunts. Now we see it with cries to balance public budgets by cutting support to mothers and children.

Collins points out a new form of persecution: The unwillingness of influential portions of the medical profession to acknowledge that Lyme disease can have long-term debilitating effects. The refusal has resulted in insurance companies cutting off payments for long-term treatment. Some doctors who have continued to treat chronic cases of Lyme have lost their licenses.

It's such a crazy scenario to anyone who's seen people suffering from chronic Lyme disease that it seems like something out of Kafka. Yet it's true. Collins' fights the insanity around Lyme disease with an imaginative, totally believable story that thrills as it imparts information. I could have read about the disease for days without understanding its impact on those who have it. When I see her main character, Janessa McNeil, struggling to get off the floor in her own kitchen or trying to remember a few words, I get it.

The plot is complex, fine-tuned and surprising. Collins' writing is simple and elegant. It conveys the emotional impact of the disease powerfully. Heroine Janessa McNeil presents herself as a strong woman in the direst circumstances. I'm not going to say anything more about the plot; I don't want to spoil its surprises.

In writing Over the Edge, Brandilyn Collins neatly handles a couple of potential writing snafus that drive me nuts.

The book is sited in Palo Alto, CA, the Stanford Medical Center, and the vicinity. I lived in Palo Alto for six years and in towns within twenty minutes of it for most of my life. I've been treated in Stanford Hospital several times; I've worked at Stanford University.

When an author locates a book in an area I know well, I want to feel like I'm back on my home turf, driving down the streets with her as she describes the scene. I want to feel a jolt of recognition when the landscape and sociological terrain is depicted accurately.

Some authors make mistakes that any local resident will pick up, citing highway names incorrectly and portraying routes that don't exist. That inaccuracy makes me doubt the writer and the story.

Collins gets it right. I felt like I was cruising down El Camino Real as she describes Palo Alto's major thoroughfare. I felt secure with the book's deftly handled details and relaxed into the story.

I was not aware that Collins was a Christian writer when I began this book. As a Christian and a writer, I have strong feelings about the way Christianity and spirituality are portrayed. I hate it when a writer takes me 300 pages into a novel only to turn the book into a vehicle for talking about Jesus. That feels like a con. Just as bad are "spiritual" authors who have angels, devils, miracles, and divine interventions hopping out on every other page. That's doesn't fit my religious experience at all.

Collins's description of her character's interior state as she reaches for the Bible is absolutely spot on. The way Janessa uses Scriptural passages and holds on to particular words or phrases in her despair fits my experience. I felt the parts of the book laying out spiritual phenomena were excellent, indeed among the best I've read.

Why would physicians behave like this? Brandilyn Collin's book shows us a few compelling reasons: professional jealousy, excessive ambition, and the desire for professional advancement. Financial gain if a vaccine or treatment that solves "the real problem" can be created. Or maybe it's just plain viciousness and evil.

Sandy Nathan
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gut wrenching tale of suffering based on real life, May 25, 2011
By 
Bill Garrison (Oklahoma City, OK USA) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Over the Edge: A Novel (Paperback)
After a long run of "Seat-belt Suspense" type thrillers full of fast pacing, twisty plots, and compelling plots, bestselling author Brandylin Collins tackles a personal subject in the medical thriller, OVER THE EDGE.

The novel opens with a man breaking into Jannie McNeil's home and putting three ticks infected with Lyme Disease in her hair. Flash forward three months later, and Jannie is very sick, facing symptoms that can't be treated, and having nightmares of a bug eyed man hovering over her bed.

Then she gets the phone call from the bad guy. She's been infected with ticks carrying Lyme Disease, and the only treatment is something the medical community doesn't believe in, and that starts with her husband, Dr. Brock McNeil, a leading researcher on Lyme.

The novel then takes a turn to the unbelievable, which is incredible, because it is all based on real life, and this is the hook of the novel, what will keep you turning pages. The medical community doesn't agree on how to treat chronic Lyme disease, and because of this, many people have suffered for years, and some have died. As we read about Jannie's struggle to remember common words and the incredible fatigue she faces in doing the simplest tasks, we know the author, Collins, is writing from experience.

The bad guy gives her an ultimatum, convince your husband his research is wrong on Lyme, or he will infect more people. This brings Jannie's family into play, and ups the stakes even higher. Can she keep her daughter safe? Can she convince her husband she's really sick?

One downside is the constant portrayal of Jannie's symptons. While they are writtenn gut-wrenching realism, some of it gets repititive after while, and I found myself skipping over several passages.

If anything, this novel will captivate you with the true to life story of the Lyme wars. While I enjoyed the novel, I also enjoyed the education it gave me and the glimpse into the author's real life struggle. Fans will enjoy this novel that surely will have a broader appeal.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Who Knew?, May 24, 2011
This review is from: Over the Edge: A Novel (Paperback)
Lyme disease. Who knew it was a hot topic and who knew it could make the theme for an intriguing book? This book was not only suspenseful it was educational. I had no idea that there was a debate raging over chronic Lyme disease until reading this book. I also was very naive about what Lyme disease does to people who have contracted it. Of course, in Over the Edge, Janessa has a severe, time-lapsed form of Lyme, with several coinfections, but despite the fiction spin on the book, it still carries a ring of fact in the story line regarding this disease. The reader can't help but find their heart feeling bad for Janessa, as she not only battles a horrendous disease, but also faces accusations of faking the illness, and deals with a mad man on top of it!

One of the things I appreciate about Brandilyn's writing is it's realistic. While many authors wrap up their books with too-good-to-be-true endings, she wraps hers up with real-life endings that leave her characters still fighting to overcome.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Fiction that Isn't So Fiction, May 13, 2011
By 
This review is from: Over the Edge: A Novel (Paperback)
Fiction books normally exaggerate reality. That's part of what makes them so exciting. Amazingly, this book is a work of fiction that isn't so fiction, because the events are close to the reality of life for many people who suffer from chronic Lyme disease. And yet the book is exciting; a page-turner filled with suspense that will keep readers guessing until the end what will happen to Janessa McNeil, a woman who was purposely infected with Borrelia burgdorferi, the spirochete that transmits chronic Lyme disease. The reason? She happened to be married to Dr. Brock McNeil, a famous Stanford University professor who refutes the existence of chronic Lyme disease and who is indirectly responsible for the suffering of thousands of people with Lyme. Infecting Janessa was one of his enemy's ways of exacting revenge against him. But Dr. Brock's reaction to her illness will surprise readers, as will Janessa's response to the devastating situation in which she has found herself.

As a survivor of chronic Lyme disease and the author of two books on Lyme disease treatments, it was painful for me to read Janessa's story, because I have lived certain aspects of her story myself. The agonizing pain, brain fog and fatigue that she suffered on a daily basis; the disbelief of the medical community and family members when she told them what was wrong with her, and the loss of important relationships due to the lack of support from loved ones. Finally, like Janessa, when I became sick with chronic Lyme disease, I felt as though I had lost who I was, and the real "me" didn't come back for over half a decade. Indeed, I related all too well to much of her suffering. But like Janessa's story, there was redemption in mine, as God has used my battle with Lyme disease to teach me many powerful lessons, which I now share with others.

Insightful and intriguing, Brandilyn Collins does a superb job of creating an exciting, eventful story with many powerful lessons interwoven in its pages. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to know what it's like to jump into the body of a person with chronic Lyme disease, as well as to anyone who is simply looking for a riveting suspense story.

Connie Strasheim
Author

"The Lyme Disease Survival Guide: Physical, Lifestyle and Emotional Strategies for Healing"
"Insights Into Lyme Disease Treatment: 13 Lyme-Literate Health Care Practitioners Share Their Healing Strategies"
"Healing Chronic Illness: By His Spirit, Through His Resources"
"Defeat Cancer: 15 Doctors of Integrative and Naturopathic Medicine Tell You How"

[...]lymeinsights.com
[...]healingchronicillness.org
[...]cancerbooksource.com
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly Recommended!, August 27, 2011
By 
Mocha with Linda (Texas, United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Over the Edge: A Novel (Paperback)
To be completely honest, as much as I love novels with a medical twist, I was a bit hesitant to read this book. I'm always a bit wary of issue-driven fiction, or what I have sometimes called "soapbox" books. My respect for Brandilyn Collins as a top-notch author as well as her delightful personality convinced me to read it, and just like her previous books, I was glued to the pages. This is a riveting, suspenseful story in its own right, but I found it even more compelling knowing that the author's own experience with Lyme disease provided a level of authenticity that mere research could never achieve. This is an eye-opener of a book about a controversial topic which Brandilyn Collins handled exceedingly well, both within the novel itself and in her explanatory note at the end of the book. I highly recommend this book!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tick, Tick, Tock from the Front Cover Forward, May 23, 2011
This review is from: Over the Edge: A Novel (Paperback)
My impressions of this novel began with the brilliant cover design. When I ran my finger over the embossed tick near the lower left corner, a rush of memories knocked me back to my own battle with Lyme disease in 1985, when even less was known about it than today. Like other reviewers, the relentlessness of the disease manifestations, the struggle to make sense of any of it, and the villains of both the insect and human variety read with startling and disturbing realism. Brandilyn Collins' ability to twist a plot melded perfectly with the spirochete and its twisted symptoms. It's a book I would recommend (and do) whether the reader wants a breath-stealing suspense or an understanding of Lyme disease and its consequences. Collins made me feel the story in my bones, joints, muscles, connective tissues, and...heart.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow! What a ride!, May 23, 2011
By 
Mary-Katharine Hunt (Nashville, TN United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Over the Edge: A Novel (Kindle Edition)
This was my first time reading a Brandilyn Collins' book but I can assure you it won't be my last! Ms. Collins beautifully weaves a suspenseful tale incorporating the struggles of a person with Lyme disease and a mysterious stranger seeking to destroy her and her family. If you are a suspense fan, don't miss this one.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Edge of Your Seat Medical Thriller That Will Leave You Breathless!, May 23, 2011
By 
This review is from: Over the Edge: A Novel (Paperback)
Everything hinges on her husband's upcoming medical findings that will show that Lyme disease has no medical basis for long term antibiotic care and that for the most part, it's all in the patients head.

Only now, things are about to change completely and draw Dr. Brock McNeil into taking a second look into everything that Stanford University has been researching. It will also put his medical reputation at risk.

When a man sneaks into the McNeil home while Brock is out of town attending a medical conference on Lyme disease, he secretly places three Lyme infected ticks on to his wife's scalp along with a host of other coinfections. He bides his time in waiting for just the perfect opportunity to place a private call to Janessa McNeil just as she begins to succumb to the worst bout of flu she's ever had. What he tells her will rock her world to the core and will ultimately test her husband's devotion to her and his research.

In the latest thriller by Brandilyn Collins, Over The Edge, takes the reader on an unbelievable journey that shows just how far people can be driven to prove a point. Will Brock be able to save his wife in time? Or will this nightmare unlock more that just finding a cure for Lyme disease in the process? Will the McNeil family survive?

I received this book compliments of Christian Fiction Blog Alliance for my honest review and was riveted to this book from the very first page. I couldn't wait to see how this would be resolved and was literally turning pages as fast as I could! This one is spell-binding and captivating, a true medical mystery thriller! Once again Brandilyn Collins does an exceptional job at holding the readers attention while shaking their heads wondering how it will all play out in the end. This one rates a 5 out of 5 stars for keeping me reading until I finished it.
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Over the Edge: A Novel
Over the Edge: A Novel by Brandilyn Collins
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