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November 28, 2006 > Over the Edge

Over the Edge

A Book Review

by Marc Paul Kaplan

“Over the Edge”
Komenar Publishing; 317 pages; $24.95

Picture the wild and wooly anything-goes Jackson Hole, Wyoming of 1969, with its cast of crazy skiers challenging the steep Tetons and you have only the setting for this debut thriller by Bay Area author Marc Paul Kaplan. Kaplan weaves an intriguing novel about the redemptions of Matthew Green, a physically and mentally battle-scarred Vietnam War veteran. Partway through you discover that this book is not about how Matthew finds himself, because this book becomes a murder mystery. At first you are just not sure who is going to be murdered, when, and by whom. You just know it is going to happen.

You have a couple of suspect victims and those with grudges against them. One of those with a grudge is Franky Fiorini, a corrupt junior member of a New Jersey crime family, who has been sent to Jackson Hole by his older brothers to located and eliminate a man that they suspect snitched on their father. With the information the snitch gave to the government about Franky’s father’s illegal activities, father was convicted and sent to prison. The brothers have taken over the crime family while the father is in prison. Unfortunately for Franky, his target has been placed in the Federal Witness Protection Program and Franky is not sure exactly who his intended victim is. Kaplan keeps you in the dark about the identity of the real snitch until the end of the book, and he is not who you think it is.

After Franky kills his mark, it turns out that the victim is not the snitch and Matthew and his friends are sure that Franky is the killer of their innocent friend. Matthew wants revenge. With the help of his friends, Matthew leads the way to go after Franky. I am not going to reveal the ending, but you will be surprised.

I enjoyed all of the references back to 1969 that the author put into the book. They gave the book a realistic setting. I could almost feel Matthew’s wounds (mental and physical), the wind cutting against his face as he skies down the steep chutes, and the camaraderie of Matthew with his new friends. The book opens with Matthew speeding across Nevada is his new Corvette heading for what he hopes will be the solace of Jackson Hole.

The book is well written and certainly keeps you in suspense. Only one glaring novice error pops up. As Matthew and his friends are in hot pursuit of Franky, the author pauses for a number of pages to have the pursuers stop at a resort bar to discuss background info. I wanted to see them get to Franky before he has a chance to escape Jackson Hole, so this pause in the action distracted from the otherwise tightly written chase scenes. So, in spite of this minor problem, I highly recommend this debut novel for readers who enjoy murder mysteries with lots of twists and turns along the plot.

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