Tariq Ashkanani’s Follow Me to the Edge is a detective story about Joe Finch and his journey to solving a family’s murders and the mystery surrounding his partner’s roadside shooting a few months earlier. Finch is the quintessential flawed character, not coping with his marriage break up and struggling even more with his ex-partner’s shooting during a routine traffic stop.
I enjoyed the book’s pace, the parallel stories which we know for sure will come together at some stage, and the layered relationships.
In small-town Cooper, Nebraska, a man is found dead at a lake and shortly afterwards, his whole family is found beaten to death in the family home. The suspicion of course is murder-suicide, but the evidence doesn’t support this. The crime scene is the house in which Finch grew up; where his mother committed suicide after killing her son, Finch’s brother, who was suffering with incurable cancer. Shortly afterwards, Finch and his father left their family home and shortly after that, his father left him with friends before leaving Cooper for good.
Crooked politicians, organised crime, an unprofessional and over-ambitious reporter, corrupt police colleagues, and small town neighbours, many of whom are also Finch’s ex-school mates, combine to make for a muddy and difficult investigation. And to make it worse, the case is quickly assigned to a newly-appointed, ex-Texas detective to partner with Finch.
There is a parallel story of a religious cult on a farm on the outskirts of Cooper which eventually merges into Finch’s investigation and its conclusion.
This detective novel is suspenseful, filled with activity and well-paced. Evocative and descriptive writing helps to develop the characters’ complexities and back stories and enriches the setting, which worked well with the whole book’s sense of fatigue among the characters but especially with Finch.
The ending felt satisfyingly real. I wholly recommend Follow Me to the Edge for its solid writing, a genuine-feeling plot and its satisfying final pages.