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Risk: A Novel Paperback – Deckle Edge, September 29, 2009

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This Book Is Bound with "Deckle Edge" Paper
You may have noticed that some of our books are identified as "deckle edge" in the title. Deckle edge books are bound with pages that are made to resemble handmade paper by applying a frayed texture to the edges. Deckle edge is an ornamental feature designed to set certain titles apart from books with machine-cut pages. See a larger image.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Picador; First Edition edition (September 29, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312428936
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312428938
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.8 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,229,067 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In Harrison's entertaining urban noir, which has been revised since the New York Times Magazine ran it as a serial, Manhattan insurance attorney George Young agrees to help Mrs. Corbett, the widow of his firm's founder, with a minor mystery. How did Corbett's son, Roger, spend his final hours before a garbage truck struck him dead? The images a security camera captured of Roger's last moments mesmerize the amateur detective. Young's investigation leads him to Eliska Sedlacek, a Czech hand model, who was Roger's mistress for the last few months of his life. Eliska is eager to get access to Roger's possessions, which his ex-wife has placed in long-term storage. Some mundane items belonging to Roger, including an old phone book bought on eBay and some Christmas ornaments, turn out to be of interest to some unsavory figures. Harrison (The Finder) telegraphs the final reveal early on, but the colorful narrative voice will leave many readers wishing for more. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


"Colin Harrison’s urbane thriller, which tops out at 176 diverting pages, [is] long enough to satisfy, short enough not to overstay its welcome…. Harrison is a most captivating (as well as economical) writer.  Set amid the turmoil of Manhattan, whose unique ambiance he captures skillfully, Harrison weaves an unpredictable tale of urban crime in which homicide and humor blend and whose worth is measured by quality not quantity."—Robert Wade, The San Diego Union Tribune


"Colin Harrison writes sophisticated novels set in New York.  They earn excellent reviews but aren't as well known as they should be….  Harrison views New York with a cool but compassionate eye.  What distinguishes RISK is not its plot—investigation, danger, resolution—but the people, the digressions, the details along the way…. As crime fiction goes, [RISK is] a small gem."—Patrick Anderson, The Washington Post  


"[A] slim, satisfying crime novel…. [Harrison] seems to be making fun both of his own New York fetish and of detective parodies like Garrison Keillor’s “Guy Noir,” all the while sustaining the momentum of his story….. [a] book that will resonate with many successful urban men. The message is clear: marry wisely, then count your blessings and never leave New York."—Amy Finnerty, The New York Times Book Review


"[An] entertaining urban noir…. the colorful narrative voice will leave many readers wishing for more."—Publishers Weekly


"Harrison's latest (following The Finder) looks at postfinancial meltdown, post-Bernie Madoff Manhattan and not surprisingly delivers a reflective, elegiac tale. Serialization in the New York Times Magazine insures there are enough cliff-hangers to hold the attention of fans as well as new readers."—Library Journal


"Harrison’s fleet seventh novel…. If this fast-paced, surprisingly reflective yarn doesn’t measure up to Harrison’s more ambitious thrillers (The Finder, 2007, etc.), it’s well worth its price and length."—Kirkus


 "In this latest thriller, Harrison (The Havana Room, 2004) puts the pedal to the metal and doesn’t let up…. Harrison delivers a crime novel as gritty and electric as New York City itself."--Booklist


"If you missed Harrison's delightful thriller when it ran as a serial in the New York Times Magazine last year, forget about it. This new paperback edition is sharper, longer and much more fun to read."—Dick Adler, Barnes and Noble Review


 "As an intriguing mystery about families, the power of money, and the insidious risks of living in a volatile post-modern world, Colin Harrison’s seventh novel Risk is a sophisticated literary mystery that is sleek, stylish, and surprising,"—Bookloons.com


"This is the territory of high finance, and the author casts a bright light on the upper echelons of the business environment…. a thoughtful and rewarding character study."—CurledUp.com

Praise for Colin Harrison:

The Finder

A Los Angeles Times Book Prize Finalist

"A chilling, high-speed roller coaster of a ride that doubles as a sardonic sightseeing tour of the seamier side of New York City."--The New York Times


"Harrison writes like Rambo on meth and throws in enough black humor to prove he’s more brains than brawn. . . . The Finder is a keeper."--USA Today



The Havana Room

"A great read, an elegantly crafted thriller you won’t want to put down."--The Washington Post

"As sharp and insidery as a Tom Wolfe opus, with the giddyup pacing of an airport-rack paperback."--Men’s Journal



"Extraordinary . . . We’re so in [the characters’] heads, so privy to their yearnings, their fears, that we practically become them. . . . A masterpiece."--The Washington Post


"One hell of a thriller. . . Colin Harrison’s smart, jagged suspense novels are nonpareil."--The Oregonian

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Customer Reviews

This is an intriguing story with unexpected twists.
Isabelle Jolly
Overall, this book was only so-so because the concept wasn't exciting enough and the stakes never built up during the story.
Sean Murphy
The character, especially George, are written very well.
Anne Masterson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By W. Easley VINE VOICE on July 29, 2009
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
In Risk, Colin Harrison tells the story of George Young, an insurance company attorney who normally investigates insurance claims for possible fraud. George is asked by the widow of the firms founder to investigate her son's death and determine what was on his mind during the final hours before his death.

Risk is a narrative about a guy who acts out of duty, rather than self interest, and gets into situations that are very dangerous. Where does duty become foolishness? George's main problem is how to get out of challenging predicaments while still doing his duty.

Risk is a very different novel in today's publishing world. It is a detective story without a crime. Risk is an action, suspense novel without shootings, explosions, nudity or passionate sex scenes. Instead of analyzing the causes of the victim's death, Risk inquires into the behavior of the deceased, hoping to learn about his thoughts and feelings immediately before his death. The details discovered during the investigative journey are fascinating to this reader.

The narration in Risk is meticulous and vivid. The characters are mostly cosmetic, except for the main character, George Young. George tells the story and invites us into his thoughts. As George narrates the action he discusses his emotions, shares his reluctance, fears, and doubts.

George is an unusual detective. He talks to his wife about his struggles at work and the problems he has with his investigation. He even listens to her suggestions. George's actions teach us that patience and persistence can lead to a solution, and that solving a problem may uncover facts not anticipated.

In Risk, the story demonstrates that things are seldom what them seem, and that if we are not careful and discreet, our good intentions may lead us into devilish predicaments. I recommend this novel, it is a fun read.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A. Luciano VINE VOICE on August 20, 2009
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This book has some really good elements. George is a likable guy and a good narrator, sketching in the details of his contented middle-aged life. He and his wife are still happily married, getting used to having their daughter grown-up and away at college. George continues to work at the insurance company where he's been for decades, as a fraud investigator. Life is uneventful.

When the elderly widow of George's long-time boss and mentor asks him for a favor, George doesn't feel like he can refuse. So he starts an investigation into the death of the woman's son. It was clearly an accident, caught on a security camera, but the woman wishes to know what was on his mind in the time before he died. Her mission to George is to figure out her son's final thoughts.

Reading the mind of a dead man proves to be a difficult task, one which takes George all over the city and throws him into conversations with a private investigator, a friendly bartender, a bribeable landlord, and a foreign hand model.

The investigation turns dangerous, and George must rely on his quick thinking to protect himself and his family. And before the air clears, he uncovers surprising information of his own.

I liked much of this story; it was tightly woven together with enough detail to keep me from feeling shocked or cheated at the end. However, it seemed there were two separate climaxes to the story--the resolution of George's danger and the self-discovery he underwent. It felt to me like this story should have chosen to be one or the other; it needed to dedicate itself to either being a man's journey of self-discovery or being a detective story. Or perhaps the two could have been better intertwined. Having two very different pivotal points toward the end of the book diluted some of the suspense that either one of these climaxes, when standing alone, would have had.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By prisrob TOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 19, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Colin Harrison for my money is one helluva' writer. And, money is the root of all evil and this novel indulges in money- who has it, how they got it and how it flows. This 200 page book was one of the better reads. It is a mystery wound around an every day man trying to be a decent man. As the New York Times says, "This is one of those novels that outdoes Garrison Keillor's 'Guy Noir'."

George Young, a simple name for a man all of us would like to know. He is a lawyer in a firm that practices insurance law. He has lived an exemplary life in NYC- worked hard as a young student, got decent grades at a private school, was a good son to his parents, mom and step-dad, went to law school and now has a successful job in his firm. It has afforded him the nice apartment on the West Side, a wife who is smarter than he is, works hard and loves him, and a daughter who went to the best schools.

And, here is his, involved in one hell of a mess. The wife of the founding father of the law firm, Wilson Corbett, has called him to her home. She wants a favor, she needs someone to investigate the reason for her son, Roger Corbett's death. The death was an accident, that she is sure of. But, before Roger was killed in the accident, he spent four hours in a bar. What was he doing there, she wants to know. George is indebted to Wilson Corbett, he gave him his this wonderful opportunity at the firm. So, he takes on this job, much to his wife's chagrin. And, he steps into the mess I have talked about. He meets the ex-girlfriend, a Czech hand model, the ex-wife, several unsavory people associated with Roger only by '6 degrees of separation', and several old friends of Wilson Corbett. This, George Young, is an intelligent detective and has street smarts.
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