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Wednesday, August 3, 2011

'The Edge of Night' by Jill Sorenson

From the BLURB:

To support her small daughter, April Ortiz does what she has to do—which means waiting tables in a skimpy outfit at a popular nightclub in the gang-infested area of Chula Vista. When one of her co-workers is found raped and murdered, April does what she knows she shouldn’t—she defies the neighborhood code by giving the police a hardcore gang member’s name.

Clean-cut cop Noah Young wants a shot at breaking this case more than anything in the world—that is, until he meets the unforgettable April Ortiz. When April gives Noah the tip, a spark ignites. As the fire between them threatens to blaze out of control, the two are dragged down further into the dark mysteries of the graffiti-lined streets, taunted by a crazed killer who could strike again at any time.


Noah Young is a green cop working on the Chula Vista anti-gang unit. He loves his job, and is still optimistic that he can make a difference to the turf warfare that runs rampant between the various Mexican/Hispanic gangs. But one day Noah stumbles across a make-or-break case – he finds the dead body of a young Hispanic woman; she has been brutally raped and strangled - and all signs point to her death being a gang-related warning.

Noah’s investigation leads him to a popular nightclub where the girl worked. It is here that he meets April Ortiz, a beautiful young mother who is slinging drinks to keep her head above water. Her co-workers death has April scared, enough to incur the wrath of local gangs and give Noah a name, and a lead … but April is playing a risky game. Her daughter’s father is an infamous gang member, Raul, who is behind bars now, but could still make trouble for April and her daughter Jenny.

Meanwhile, Noah’s young sister Meghan has fled her strict catholic college and is desperate to get some life experience – begging Noah to let her stay with him for a little while. She gets a job at a local minimart, where she meets and befriends a clean-cut gang member called Eric Hernandez. Eric sells drugs on the side of his minimum wage job; partly to help his ailing grandmother, but also to assist his brother’s ex girlfriend and daughter – April and Jenny.

As the Chula Vista killer gets more and more brazen, the four lives of Noah, April, Eric and Meghan intersect and become tangled in webs of deceit, love and chaos.

‘The Edge of Night’ is the new romantic suspense novel from Jill Sorenson.

I read this one upon recommendation of the brilliant book blogger, Mandi from Smexy. And, I have to admit; if it hadn’t been for Mandi’s golden recommendation I probably would have passed this one by. The cover doesn’t do a whole lot for me; it’s a little bit 80’s romantic trash, and there’s nothing on the cover to hint at the sex-appeal within (unless you’re into the Blue Man Group?). But I am really glad that I listened to a fellow blogger’s recommendation and gave this one a chance – because it was brilliant.

Sorenson’s blue-man cover doesn’t hint at the heavy-hitting violence and gang explorations within. Yes, ‘Edge’ is primarily a romance – but Sorenson’s violent undertones and gang-focus makes for an intense storyline that really packs a punch.

The book is told from the four perspectives of Noah, April, Eric and Meghan. From Noah we get the lawman’s eyes – how he sees the tagging and gangbanging prevalent in the Vista. Noah is still a green cop, and eager to make a difference. He’s actually taking the time to learn Spanish and wants to see these people as individuals, rather than a collective of thieves. But from Noah we read the weariness of his fellow cops – those who have been on the force for a long time and believe that the gangs will never be wiped out, and anyone associated with them is scum.

From Eric, we get first-hand accounts of a local gang – the Chula Vista Locos (CVL). Eric is a quiet and intense young man – his father was violent, as was his brother – and as an antithesis to them, he respects women and is disgusted by violence against them. Eric is the breadwinner and carer for his grandmother, and eager to make life easier for his niece and her mother. Eric is in the CVL more out of familial loyalty than a genuine love of mayhem. Eric’s perspective is chillingly honest – like when he recounts witnessing his first gang-bang (when a young woman is, literally, jumped into the group by offering herself up to all gang members).

April was a gangbanger’s girlfriend for years. Raul hit her and raped her but she loved him – so much that she took drugs with him and stayed with him, even after he abused her. It wasn’t until she fell pregnant with Jenny that she left that lifestyle behind – adamant that she would give her daughter a better life than she had. From April, we get the viewpoint of someone who was once ingrained in the CVL – but is now on the outskirts, walking on eggshells and wanting to avoid detection.

Meghan is new to the Chula Vista area – so she is looking at this world with naked eyes. She knows that Eric is a gang member, but she has no concept of what that means as she finds herself falling in love with him.

When these four lives interact and criss-cross, it makes for explosive couplings and mismatched love pairs. April and Noah have the most to lose from their courtship – but April can’t resist Noah’s steadfast kindness, and Noah is blinded by April’s strength and determination. Though it could endanger April’s life and end Noah’s career, they embark on a relationship.

Patrick gave him a weighted stare. His gray-blue eyes looked like dirty ice, and sweat dotted his ruddy forehead. “How was your date?”
The question was so accusatory, Noah flinched. “None of your business.”
Patrick snorted his derision. “That’s what I thought,” he said, unlocking his truck. “You’re fucking some crew member’s baby mama, but I’m the one who gets sent home for inappropriate conduct.”

Likewise, Eric and Meghan’s unlikely love intensifies after he plays white knight to her at a bonfire. Eric doesn’t think he’s good enough for Meghan; while she is adamant that he’s not like his fellow CVL members, and should get out of the gang before it’s too late.

Both relationships in ‘Edge’ are intense and erotic. Jill Sorenson writes some sizzling scenes that are especially heated for the high-risks each character is taking with their heart.

My only complaint about ‘Edge’ was the ending for one character, which left the book off on a somewhat sombre note that didn't entirely sit well with me... but I have since contacted Sorenson and confirmed that Eric and Meghan's book will be written next year (YAY!!!), but the actual release date is TBD.

‘The Edge of Night’ was a powerful and tellingly violent romantic suspense. I was on the edge of my seat for most of the book; heart-racing and blood burning for the murder mystery whodunit, as well as the high-stakes romances throughout. This may have been my first Sorenson read, but it won’t be my last!

4.5/5

6 comments:

  1. Wonderful review. It sounds like there was a good balance of romance and suspense.

    I have this on the tbr pile because I had read good reviews for it, liked the blurb and I use to live in Chula Vista. I'm always curious when a book takes place somewhere that I'm familiar with.

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  2. @ Leslie - thank you! I'd love to read your review when you're done - just to get your perspective as a former Chula Vista resident. Because the setting is a character in itself, I'd be very interested to see how much of what's in the book is true to life.

    I'll keep my eyes peeled for your review!

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  3. Hi Danielle - I read your blog every day and I want to say thank you for recommending so many new authors who I now love.

    I am currently writing my own novel, so you never know - you could be reviewing my book in years to come!

    I just want to give you a heads up on one brilliant book I read last week - Dead on the Delta by Stacey Jay. If you don't have it already, I highly recommend. I would love to read your opinion on it.

    Emma (from Dublin, Ireland).

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  4. @ Emma - Thank you very much, it's always nice to hear from my readers (and know that they are out there, it's not just me blogging to myself).

    Upon your recommendation I bought 'Dead on the Delta' (love that title!) - watch this space for a review!

    And good luck with your novel! When it's done drop me a line and I'll definitely give your book some lovin :)

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  5. wow, I would never have gotten any of that from the cover... its too Miami Vicey, isnt it?

    Fantastic review hon, might need to give it a shot too hehe =D

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