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Cutting Edge    by Ward Larsen Amazon.com order for
Cutting Edge
by Ward Larsen
Order:  USA  Can
Forge, 2018 (2018)
Hardcover, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Ward Larsen's Cutting Edge is all about an unwilling cyborg soldier. Trey DeBolt is a Coast Guard rescue swimmer in Kodiak, Alaska. After his rescue helicopter goes down, he's the only survivor, but with very serious injuries. He awakens in a different state, in a seaside cabin in Maine, being cared for by a nurse. She shows him a V-shaped scar at the base of his skull. How did he get there and why was he taken?

Trey learns that he's been officially declared dead. While he's out on the beach one night, an assault team of armed men surround the cabin and kill the nurse. They shoot at him as well, but he takes to the water. The nurse had told Trey that surgery changed him. Gradually, constantly on the run, he discovers a range of new abilities. He can search for, and access, all kinds of information about his surroundings through his mind. They've turned him into some sort of mobile super-hacker.

Back in Alaska, Coast Guard investigator Shannon Lund uncovers oddities relating to Trey's case and the death of Coastie William Simmons in a climbing accident. Simmons had questioned what was being done to his gravely injured friend Trey. When Shannon is informed that Trey's prints have shown up in the Maine cabin, she leaves messages on his phone. After he makes contact, she heads south to meet him. It takes time, but he finally convinces her of his new skills, and they investigate together.

As this develops, readers are introduced to those behind the META neural implantation project, which DARPA has decided to wind down. Someone has started cleaning up loose ends, blowing up the organization's operations center and everyone in it. Brilliant, unscrupulous researcher Atif Patel has his own plans - and the means to carry them out in his first successful test subject, a lethal ex-Marine. Delta will do anything in return for Atif's promise to give him back the ability to speak.

The action is unrelenting and the suspense constant, as Trey and Shannon race to uncover the truth behind this cyber-soldier project, with killing machine Delta close on their trail. Cutting Edge is a thrilling and thought-provoking read - don't miss it.

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