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At the City's Edge Hardcover – Bargain Price, January 22, 2008

4.3 out of 5 stars 105 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Sakey's second crime novel doesn't quite measure up to his impressive debut, The Blade Itself (2007), but it exhibits many of the same strengths: high-tension action, intricate plotting and a Chicago setting that thrums and pulses with the feel of the city. Jason Palmer, a veteran of the current Iraq war haunted by his experiences, has yet to settle down, unlike his older brother, Michael, who runs a bar in their old South Side Chicago neighborhood and is raising an eight-year-old son, Billy. But when Michael is murdered and Billy threatened, Jason finds himself reacting in the only way he knows—as a soldier. Soldiering, however, is only part of the answer, and Jason has to come to terms with his past, weigh new responsibilities and counter the carnage that gang warfare, political corruption and corporate greed are wreaking on the neighborhood. Sakey, who draws disturbing and thought-provoking parallels between Baghdad and Chicago, provides enough narrow escapes, traps and obstacles to satisfy a Die Hard fan, but enough meat to please readers who demand more than pyrotechnics. Author tour. (Jan.)
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"At the City's Edge crackles and sears like a rip-roaring fire."
--Tess Gerritsen, author of The Bone Garden
"Goes from zero to sixty in a blazing rush. Sakey knows how to thrill a reader."
--David Morrell, author of Creepers

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books (January 22, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1616826703
  • ISBN-13: 978-1616826703
  • ASIN: B001O9CF04
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 1.1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (105 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,521,694 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Jason Palmer is a former soldier. A veteran of Iraq, he returned to Chicago with a less than honorable discharge and no future. He finds out, too late, that his brother is attempting to face down a criminal enterprise. Jason, his nephew, and Elena Cruz, a tough Chicago cop get to the bottom of things, encountering an alliance of corrupt city officals and gangsters.

This is an outstanding chase novel. The characters are extremely engaging. The reltionship between Jason and Elena is delightful (never mind that it develops in an impossibly brief time). The suspense is never ending. Each cliff hanger chapter end is followed by rapid, unexpected developments. The novel explores (painlessly) concepts of duty, a soldier's code of honor, the war in Iraq, and the heartache of parenting. The gang characters are chilling as well as engaging.
This is an outstanding effort. I strongly recommend the book and Sankey's earlier stand alone,"The Blalde Itself."
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Format: Hardcover
A fine piece of writing with a complex and conflicted protagonist in war-veteran Jason Palmer, powerfully rendered Chicago settings, a colorful and engaging mix of secondary characters, a conspiracy worthy of any paranoid's worst fears, and a plot-line that redefines unpredictable.

A novel that's both entertaining and ambitious. Highly recommended.
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Format: Hardcover
Another stay-up-late, page-turner from a deft crime writer that deserves to be on your nightstand.

While his first, "The Blade Itself" will remain my favorite (if you haven't discovered this pulse-pounder already, stop reading this and go add it to your cart pronto), City's Edge gives it a run for its money. Sakey stomped on the gas here in a more ambitious story that gets even more dirt under its fingernails, more complexity in its characters and more stakes that leave a higher body count its wake and your heart leaping from your throat. Throw in some deftly woven social commentary and a villain that sneers with the best of them and you've got one fun book that's head and shoulders above most of his peers.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I don't typically read non-scifi, non-fantasy fiction, but I've read some of Marcus Sakey's more recent work (Brilliance, Two Deaths of Daniel Hayes, The Amateurs) and was completely enthralled by his writing style. As a result, I've been slowly working my way backward through his material.

The long and short of it is that this book bears all of Sakey's classic hallmarks for what makes him one of my all time favorite authors: quick, frank language; frequent use of vernacular and pop-culture references; graphic, neo-noir descriptions; and mixed in with all of that, periods of character self-reflection and philosophical musing. That said, this book, being one of his earlier works, is less refined and doesn't quite have that elemental hook that some of his newer books have. For example, Brilliance is an alternate reality sci-fi; Two Death of Daniel Hayes has a Jason Bourne-type opening; and The Amateurs asks what would happen if some friends randomly decided to rob a bar owner.

While fairly good, this book not quite as focused or original, and mostly runs a somewhat cliched gamut in fiction. It's a murder mystery requiring the victim's brother to get involved, and when he does, he quickly discovers something far more sinister is at work. All of the details are compelling, don't get me wrong ... but the plot is more or less the same as about a thousand low-budget conspiracy thriller movies and made-for-TV murder mysteries.

In the end, the plot alone would not have compelled me to read this book. But Marcus Sakey is a rare talent when it comes to writing action thrillers, and falls somewhere between the techno-thriller brilliance of Michael Crichton and the down to earth vernacular of Stephen King. Whether you've read his other books yet, or are interested in this one alone, I'd say give this book a try.
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Format: Hardcover
I enjoyed Marcus Sakey's debut, THE BLADE ITSELF, so much that I rushed out and read his second book without thinking twice. But I must admit I was pretty disappointed with his sophomore effort.

AT THE CITY'S EDGE is well written (Sakey definitely knows how to write forceful, punchy prose) but the story has very little originality. In fact, most of the scenes and situations in this novel are recycled from other books and TV shows I have either read or seen. Jason Palmer, the tortured Iraq war veteran with a dark secret he refuses to discuss, is the type of character I've seen before in countless books.

The same thing could be said about Elena Cruz, the tough Latina cop who makes the mistake of sleeping with one of her male superiors. Hey, what are the chances that Jason and Elena fall for each other? Close to certain, I would say. It also doesn't help that most of the other supporting characters are stereotypes, straight from central casting, including the little boy that Jason must bond with by the end of the story.

The actual plot itself, about gang warfare and police/political corruption, is pretty much by-the-numbers stuff and unfolds predictably. Sakey tries to make some legitimate points about gang life in the inner city, but he isn't particularly subtle about how he makes his points, which makes parts of AT THE CITY'S EDGE seem rather heavy-handed.

In short, I was disappointed with this effort. I think Sakey is a very talented writer, but I hope his next novel contains a more inspired storyline than what I found here.
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