Review: On The Edge by Jane Jesmond (2021)


Jen Shaw has climbed all her life: daring ascents of sheer rock faces, crumbling buildings, cranes – the riskier the better. Both her work and personal life revolved around climbing, and the adrenaline high it gave her. Until she went too far and hurt the people she cares about. So she’s given it all up now. Honestly, she has. And she’s checked herself into a rehab centre to prove it.

Yet, when Jen awakens to find herself drugged and dangling off the local lighthouse during a wild storm less than twenty-four hours after a ‘family emergency’ takes her home to Cornwall, she needs all her skill to battle her way to safety.

Has Jen fallen back into her old risky ways, or is there a more sinister explanation hidden in her hometown? Only when she has navigated her fragmented memories and faced her troubled past will she be able to piece together what happened – and trust herself to fix it.


Huge thanks to the publisher for providing me with a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

I don’t read that many thrillers, but I was irresistibly drawn to that opening image of a woman waking to find herself hanging off the edge of a lighthouse with no idea how she got there – it is like the opposite of waking from a nightmare, and wow, it is written so powerfully. Right from the start, we are as invested as Jen in finding out just what the hell has happened, and the pace does not let up throughout this utterly gripping story.

There’s a touch of The Girl on the Train in the way that Jen’s hazy memories leave huge gaps, and she is unable to trust her own wobbly understanding of events, but once we get into the storyline about the family home, Tregonna, the Paula Hawkins vibes give way to a more sinister Daphne du Maurier feel. The mixture of these two modes creates a heady cocktail of danger, mystery and deep psychological intrigue that I found impossible to tear myself away from.

Jen Shaw is a fantastic protagonist – complex, flawed, self-aware enough to invoke our sympathy, both hardened by the world and vulnerable. I’m so pleased this is the start of a series as I really want to see more of Jen. The other characters are well drawn, and the bubbling sense of not knowing who to trust adds a frisson of unease to almost every interaction.

I won’t go into specifics of the plot, as following its twists and turns is one of the great delights for the reader, but I will say that there is some truly excellent misdirection in this book! I had my theories all worked out, and the author toppled them like dominoes!

On The Edge is the start of a really exciting new thriller series, and I strongly urge all fans of the genre to meet Jen Shaw and join her on her heart-stopping adventures.

On The Edge by Jane Jesmond is published by Verve Books and is available to purchase here.


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