Edge of Survival

Edge of Survival by Toni Anderson is a compelling story of love, murder and survival in a remote and hostile wilderness.

Dr. Cameran Young comes to Frenchmans Bight for her post-doctoral research on fish migration. It should be routine, but…Frenchmans Bight is in the Canadian Wilderness with a capital W. The research is a before-and-after investigation on the building of a mine, and all the miners in the area are just sure her research is all about shutting down the mine. And last but definitely not least in the problem department, Cam is a diabetic, and the Canadian Bush is way far away from civilization if she has a crisis. But that’s the whole point as far as Cam is concerned: she needs to prove that she has her disease under control, that she can handle anything that any other researcher can do.

Waiting in the bar for the helicopter pilot to take them to base camp, Cam and her friend Vikki nearly start a barroom brawl. Not just because they are the only women in the place, or possibly even in town, but because the miners are sure they are part of the “tree-hugger” contingent. Just when things start to get ugly, in walks Daniel Fox, their pilot. His British accent, not to mention the rest of him, fuels Cam’s James Bond fantasies. Fox doesn’t notice Cam, except as an assignment, but then, he’s basically detached from people as a species.

Until Cam makes a bathroom run before they board the helicopter, and finds a dead body inside one of the completely disgusting stalls. Not that the body isn’t gruesome, but the bathroom hasn’t been cleaned since the last ice age.  Cam’s subsequent panicked flight into Daniel Fox’s arms begins to break down his detachment from the human race. He sees Cam as a person who matters to him, the first person in a long time who does, whether he wants to or not.

What about the dead body?  He recognizes her. She was one of the local “bikes”. Everybody rode Sylvie Watson. But why did someone slit her throat?

The RCMP are called in to investigate the murder while Cam starts her fish research and Daniel’s secrets begin to unravel him. The Mounties are famous for always getting their man. Someone will have to pay for murdering Sylvie Watson. The case is very tangled, and the RCMP Staff Sergeant from St. John’s Major Crime Unit is faced with the choice of solving the convoluted puzzle in Frenchmans Bight or saving his marriage back home. More futures than his depend on that choice.

Escape Rating B: This was a good, solid romantic suspense story. I didn’t figure out who the actual murderer was. I knew the red herring was a red herring, I just didn’t see the actual murderer. So very good job on that front!

I found it fascinating, that all the characters in Edge of Survival are damaged in one way or another. Not everyone carries their scars on the outside. Cam has diabetes, Daniel has PTSD. Vikki has self-esteem issues. Even the RCMP officer is a mess. The murderer is probably one of the “paths”, as in psychopath or sociopath. Or he’s just plain crazy, and he hides it really, really well.

My willing suspension of disbelief slipped a little at the end of the story. One of my pet peeves is the noble hero going off without a word, and when he comes back, all is forgiven with one kiss, or something similar. I want to see some serious groveling. And arguing first. That stunt is always a major piece of macho idiocy, and there should be some major consequences. Instant forgiveness is not a consequence. It’s very romantic, but not bloody likely in outside of fiction!

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