The Edge of Sanity

Sheryl Browne

How far would YOU go to protect your family?

A decent, ordinary man, a man who has already suffered the loss of one child, Daniel Conner is forced by extraordinary circumstances into being a hero. Tortured, forcibly drugged—heroin still pulsating nauseatingly through his veins—his wife and daughter degraded, Daniel knows their kidnapper is beyond reasoning with.

But does being pushed one step beyond endurance justify doing the unthinkable?

High on drugs, indebted to his supplier, and desperate, Charlie Roberts takes Daniel's wife and daughter hostage. Daniel does everything within his power to rescue the situation bloodlessly. Eventually though, Daniel realises that with or without violent mood swings induced by amphetamines and cocaine, Charlie Roberts is a psychopath. He wants more than Daniel's money.

He wants him.

The Edge of Sanity: a harrowing story of hope amid loss and betrayal.

Better known for her romance novels, Sheryl Browne really delivers with her first thriller, a powerful and emotional read. The ‘ordinary character in extraordinary situation’ is a well-worn path but here we have the ordinary family, damaged by tragedy and struggling to cope with a new threat.

 

The major strength of this novel is with its characters, each well defined, credible, interesting and in the case of at least one – scary!   

An awful accident has left a family shattered. Daniel Conner’s youngest daughter, Emma, died in a car accident. His grieving wife, Jo, blames him and is hitting the bottle. Dan, feeling guilty, has been hiding his emotions. Encouraged as a child by his own father to keep a stiff upper lip, Dan is withdrawn and distant, failing to properly communicate with his wife. She’s hoping he’ll fight for their marriage but he’s unable to converse, and hiding other long held demons. Unable to function, the family have put their boatyard business up for sale, and things are about to get worse.

 

Watching her parents’ marriage and business fall apart is Kayla, the eldest (now only) daughter. Now at the awkward age of 15, Kayla is suffering her own grief and guilt at her sister’s death. Feeling neglected she’s rebelling, giving her parents lip and going after a good looking older lad called Charlie Roberts, one of the nastiest characters you’ll come across. 

 

A cruel sadist, Charlie is an abusive drug pusher and predatory opportunist. Kayla crosses his path after she discovers that her father is leaving for France having sold the business. Learning of this, Charlie spots the chance of a pay-out and a dark turn of events ensues.

 

DI Short is gunning for Charlie. He’s ready to move in on the criminal once the time comes, and it’s about to. A missing girl and a missing shotgun have DI Short investigating Charlie. Kayla’s friend Hannah provides a persistent aide and provides some light relief in this tense storyline.

 

Concerned for their missing daughter, Dan and Jo are frantic and he’s soon being goaded, both physically and psychologically, pushed to the edge of sanity.

 

The switching third person narrative within the chapters maintains the nail biting suspense throughout. The family dynamic is believable and you’ll root for them. The detective is likable and the horrible bad guy and his sidekick will chill your bones.  

 

The set up rings true (the death of a child causing a family break up) and ordinary family at its heart make for a credible tale of a family pushed to extreme pressure.

 

Sheryl Browne:

Birmingham-born writer of edgy, sexy, heart-wrenching fiction. Six of her books have been published through Safkhet Publishing and she's recently been signed by Choc Lit Publishing on recommendation of the WH Smith Travel fiction buyer Matt Bates. 

The Edge of Sanity is her latest published book.