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The Dark Edge

Taken by Force

Hidden from View





Reviews for the first Eddon + Vail book, The Dark Edge


THE AGE (Melbourne)
Review by Lucy Sussex, Saturday 13th September, 1997,
under the title Mutant Fictions Emerge For The Millenium
("Shade's Children" by Garth Nix and "The Dark Edge" by Richard Harland)

"The Dark Edge" is the first major press publication for Richard Harland, who gave up a tenured academic position to write full-time. This apparently suicidal step would seem, on the evidence of "The Dark Edge", to be very sensible, for the book is an imp ressive blend of science fiction, crime and horror. The cover aims it at the X-Files' audience, with the novel featuring a male and female investigation team, a policeman and a psychic.

"The Dark Edge" departs from the 'X-Files' scripts by having its detectives venture into outer space, to the planet P-19 (hence the book's original, poetic, Philip K. Dick-style title, "The Darkening of Planet P-19"). The colonists have a murderer on the loose, with superhuman strength and a contempt for the body that leaves victims bizarrely mutilated. What the investigators discover is that not one person is involved -- P-19's entire population is metamorphosing into serial killers.

This nightmare is, as in "Shade's Children", most successfully evoked, for both books are genuinely scary. Harland's framework, however, is drawn from the crime genre, which results in tight plotting and relentless narrative momentum. The cause of P-19's madness or disease must be discovered before those unaffected are outnumbered and annihilated -- or worse, become the enemy. The result is a superior thriller and a novel very hard to put down.

In these two novels we see genres cross-pollinating, most fruitfully. If either could be said to have the (dark) edge, it would be Harland's novel, for its narrative energy. Moreover, it is not attempting to merge genres and appeal to different age-groups at the same time, something Nix accomplished better in "Sabriel" than in "Shade's Children". Yet both books are far more successful than a summary of their genre parts would suggest.


Review by S.D. (Stella Dimadis), September 8th, 1997,
under the title "Page-Turner of the Week"

When four murders are committed on the dark, metallic and independent Planet P-19 in the year 2660, Central Inspector Eddon Brac and his assistant, sexy psychic Vail ev Vessintor, are despatched to solve them. But their detective legwork soon becomes a fr enzied search as both the killings and the killers multiply nightly, and Vessintor uses her psychic powers to decipher a code that reveals the murders are induced by a transmitter instilling hatred for humanity across the planet.

Yorkshire-born, Sydney-based Harland's 1993 'comic-horror' The Vicar of Morbing Vyle has become a cult success, and The Dark Edge -- the first of a planned series of science-fiction novels that will feature Brac and Vessintor -- looks set t o go the same way. Funny, horrific and full of suspense, it's a wild spacey ride, with each page presenting a twist and a clever resolution.


The iZINE, an electronic popular culture journal
Review by Jayne Margetts
Under the title "Space Age Breakbeat"

Here's an extract:

Part Stephen King, part detective humming to a killer's beat. Part Grimms Fairytale, part sci-fi alchemist. Richard Harland could well become the godfather of the space age thriller with a twist. He is a spectral beacon in the global stratospheres of millennium fever who would feel as comfortable aboard the Starship Voyager as he would inside Children Of The Corn's own company.

For the full review, click here - and have a browse through the rest of the 'zine while you're there.




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1997 - 2015

Richard Harland.