Take My Breath Away by Martin Edwards is a legal mystery, featuring Nic Gabriel, a lawyer turned writer, who is investigating the death of his friend Dylan Rees. Nic is transfixed by the sight of Ella, a woman who had apparently died five years earlier, walking up to Dylan at a party and stabbing him. Dylan had already intrigued him with stories about ‘strange and sudden deaths’ and had promised to tell him the details after the party:
This was all Dylan’s fault. Dylan who had seduced him with all that talk about dead lawyers. Dylan the yarn-spinner; the myth-maker, the Celtic bard in an Armani suit. Of course he’d known that Nic could never resist a story about strange and sudden deaths.
The rich man who burned in Paradise. The giant who chopped himself in half. (page 15)
I kept turning back to this passage in the first chapter as Nic delved into the mystery, and also this one:
There was a connection, Dylan had insisted on the phone, and not just because the dead men were lawyers in the same firm. Forget about suicide or accident. Think murder for pleasure.
‘As for the boy who died of shock’, Dylan said dreamily, ‘the real culprit wasn’t the guilty creature who killed him. Trust me.’ (page 15)
At the same time Roxanne Wake begins her new job with Creed, a firm of lawyers specialising in human rights law. She’s nervous and it’s not just the new job, because she has something to hide, something she’s not told Creed, something terrible. However, someone knows her secret and it seems she’ll go to any lengths to prevent it becoming known. Eventually the two strands of the book coincide in a dramatic conclusion. There are many twists and turns and it kept me guessing to the end.
Like all good murder mysteries this is a complex book about good and evil, about power and manipulation, about secrets, lies and deception. It’s a stand-alone book, but I hope that some time Martin will write another book about Nic as I’d love to know his back story and what really happened to his parents.