5 Stars Out Of 5
August 17, 2011
Brandilyn Collins' novels are touted as â€˜seatbelt suspense', and Over The Edge is no exception, with a unique twist.
Jannie McNeil is the wife of a renowned Lyme disease specialist. Or at least, what he calls Lymeâ€”according to the CDC's incredibly narrow definition. Brock McNeil is vocal in speaking out against those who say they suffer from chronic Lyme, something he doesn't believe exists.
Enter a bipolar man whose wife died from chronic Lyme and you have a recipe for a dramatic story that puts the life of Brock McNeil's wife and daughter in danger.
Soon Jannie McNeil falls incredibly ill with Lyme. But does Doctor Brock rush to her aid? No. He thinks she's faking.
I'll let you discover the ins and outs for yourself.
If you want to read a story about a man who realizes everything he believes is wrong, you need to prepare yourself.
If you want a story with a nice, typical (cheesy, boring) ending, you need to prepare yourself also.
Because this book will twist you up and spin you around.
Dramatic, and eye-opening, Over The Edge could easily be a True Story. All the stuff about the CDC, the medical insurance companies, the doctors who advocate either for or against chronic Lymeâ€”it's all true. And Brandilyn Collins knows it, because she lived it. Yes, I'm jumping on the band-wagon, (not because I met Ms. Collins at a Writers' Conference in February 2011, and she's a super nice lady). ïŠ
But because this book is just that compelling.
You really feel for Jannie as you watch her whole life systematically fall apart at the worst possible time. It's like everything bad that could happen, all happens simultaneously. By the end of act 1 I was thoroughly hooked. I've read someone call that feeling a â€˜PB&J night', because there's no way I'm putting this book down to make dinner. I'll remorselessly let them suffer reheating their own leftovers because my stomach is clenched, and my fingers flipping pages to find out what happens next.
The plot looks like a pretzel, and the characters will provoke in you at once both devotion and abject hatred because he's so stupid he doesn't realize what he's throwing away. But the one who steals your heart is the daughter, Lauren.
"Lauren plumped out her lips. "I see strange people every day. I'm in fourth grade.""
In portraying the way it feels to have chronic Lyme, Collins doesn't go overboard so you're left thinking, â€˜okay, I get it, it sucks to have Lyme'. It's a realistic presentation because of Collins' own experience. There's no research that can replace the intimate knowledge that comes from actually having had the disease.
"Against the floor my cane made a hollow, indignant sound. The sound of my heart. My life."
"My brain was nothing but a hole-riddled pan trying to hold water."
Over The Edge uses a mix of first person (for the protagonist), and third person (for the police detective, and the antagonist), sounds weird, but it absolutely works. In fact, I found myself able to delve into Jannie's mind faster when I got to first person. Then when it switched with a scene or chapter break it made the bad guy's scene more eerie, because of the jolt.
Bad language: None.
Violence: a personal attack in the form of grabbing and shaking the person, and a gun-shot that kills. Neither explicit or overly gory.
Sexual content: implied in relationships, but nothing â€˜on camera'.