Title: Blue Edge of Midnight
Publication Date: 2002
Book Condition: Very Good
Dust Jacket Condition: Fine
Signed: Signed by Author(s)
Edition: 1st Edition
Signed by the Author on the Title Page. Small remainder mark. First in the Max Freeman series. Winner of the Edgar Award for Best First Mystery of 2002. Bookseller Inventory # 000965
Synopsis: Max Freeman's old life ended on a night that will haunt him for ever. The night he killed a twelve-year-old child in self-defence in a Philadelphia shootout. The night he stopped being a cop. Now he lives an existence of solitary confinement on the edge of the Florida Everglades, where he answers to no one but the demons that eat away at his conscience. And then he finds the corpse of a child beside an ancient river, and Freeman's past explodes into the present. He is thrust into the centre of the search for a serial killer, distrusted as an outsider by the longtime residents of the Glades and considered a suspect by the police. Freeman must walk a tightrope of distrust on both sides of the law. When another child goes missing, all eyes turn to Freeman, and the ex-cop, driven by his old habits and the memories of that long-ago Philadelphia midnight, knows that he has no choice but to hunt down the murderer himself.
Review: Penzler Pick, March 2002: This is the first entry in what I hope will be a series by journalist Jonathon King, who has written for the Philadelphia Daily News and the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. The story features Max Freeman, who was a cop in Philadelphia until he shot and killed a 12-year-old boy who was helping to rob a convenience store. Max was shot in the neck himself and now he keeps away from most people, living in a cabin in the backwaters of South Florida.
While canoeing on the river near his home, Max spies a bundle floating near the shore which turns out to be a dead child wrapped in a sheet. Max's first reaction is that the nightmare he thought he left behind has caught up with him. Pulling the bundle into his canoe, Max paddles downstream to the ranger station where he is met by the head ranger together with three detectives--almost as if they were waiting for him.
Billy Manchester, a lawyer and friend to Max, tells him that the body of the girl he found is the third in a series of abductions that is terrifying South Florida communities. Because of his training as a cop, Max wants to help out with the investigation, but his offer of help is rebuffed by local law enforcement. He discovers that the killer is leaving global positioning system addresses with the bodies, which is why there was a team of detectives at the ranger station--they were on their way up-river to where they knew a body would be when Max brought it in.
Max himself is now a suspect and, when he returns to his cabin to discover that a GPS unit has been planted, he knows he is going to get involved anyway. If he doesn't find the murderer, the police are going to charge him. His search takes him deep into the Everglades, off the beaten track into communities closed to outsiders and hostile to questions.
King gives a vivid portrayal of a Florida still not exploited by developers and also treats us to a wonderful cast of characters--Max and Billy especially, but also to some folks who have hardly been touched by the modern world. --Otto Penzler
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