The Naked Edge
David Morrell

Morrell Enterprises, Inc
2010, $9.99
Review by David Simms

Many weapons are wielded in David Morrell’s stories. In The Naked Blade, he aims straight for the Kindle – a novel only for the paperless bestseller. A risky move? Perhaps, but what else would you expect the man?

The father of the modern thriller has accomplished many feats in the nearly forty years since he stuck his blade into a readership. That group has now become legion with many followers and almost as many imitators. However, there exists two major differences David Morrell and the others.

First, the writing. In many action/adventure/espionage/whatever you choose to call them novels, the idea is paramount while the prose and characters remain secondary with few exceptions, such as Ken Follett, John Connelly, and F. Paul Wilson. Second, the best in the business tend to know their craft. Writing what you know is amazingly prudent advice when it comes to penning a great book but it isn’t always easily accomplished.

Upon meeting Morrell back in 2004, he had to shake hands with his left – his right collarbone injured during a combat class he took, and passed. Along with that, he learned Secret Service driving, Delta Force style hand to hand and weapons training and a plethora of other skills he would employ in his books that rang of authenticity. Many readers have continued to state how much they have learned from Morrell’s stories – how to fight, defend themselves, and simply gaining an insight into a hidden world which they could only glimpse the tip of through movies and other novels. Here, one knows he or she is getting an accurate picture of how the story would truly play out in reality – something that doesn’t occur nearly enough in this type of fiction.

The tale itself is a sequel to his The Protector, which details the story of Cavanaugh, whose profession is in private protection of clients from kidnapping to witness protection to whiny celebrities and business types. Retired from the business after wife Jamie sustains a gunshot wound (in The Protector), he relaxes in his beautiful ranch at Jackson Hole, Wyoming. A sniper and assault team attempt to murder him just as his lawyer arrives via helicopter to inform him that he is the heir to Global Protective Services, a worldwide system of “protectors.”

Cavanaugh finds himself drawn back into the game after realizing that his Delta Force – and childhood – friend is behind the attempts. Morrell ratchets up the suspense as protectors all around the world are being assassinated – by blades. His ex-friend, who fell out of favor with the business, is a master knife maker and chooses to show his adversary how skilled he has become.

From Wyoming to New York to Iowa to New Orleans, the reader is swept up in an adventure that does not have any spots which feel he or she need to skim. Whether the action is flowing or ebbing, Morrell “teaches” his audience the craft of the blade – its construction, uses, and the history – both in time and how they affected the main characters’ lives. One might find himself wishing to learn some of these skills (something that is NOT uncommon in this author’s novels.)

The cat and mouse game between Cavanaugh and his nemesis, Carl, keeps intensifying throughout the plot, both in big scale and personal levels. The use of blades here goes beyond sheer weaponry – it’s symbolic of the characters and the edge they walk in their relationships – one misstep on the razor sharp edge can not only kill but damage many others’ lives in the process.

For those who like their thrillers strong, like the old-fashioned pulp novels but with the sophistication of modern writing, Morrell never disappoints. If on the fence about buying a Kindle, it’s items such as this which will seduce the reader.

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