The Cutting Edge – Darcia Helle

Storyline: Darcia Helle’s The Cutting Edge kept me right on the edge the entire time with her razor sharp wit and even sharper critiques of the main character’s agonizingly annoying hair salon clients.

We meet Skye at the peak (or would it be low point?) of her career as a small town hairstylist who has just about had it up to her eyeballs with the daily complaints, snarky comments and just general absurdity of her clientele. Skye begins to have morbid and detailed fantasies about giving her customers something to actually complain about.

And that’s when the murders begin. Someone is killing women and calling themselves The Mass Avenger. The killer claims to be righting the injustices of those who feel they’re entitled in this world.

The Cutting Edge is a quick, hard to put down and delicious read that’s absolutely hilarious and keeps the reader guessing until very nearly the end.

Grammar/Spelling: I noticed some very minor grammar/formatting discrepancies. Perhaps one more read-through from a beta reader would clear that up.

Character Development  Poor Lilly Skye Destiny Summers. All she wants to do is her job: cut, color and style hair and all she seems to get are women (and even men) who do nothing but complain about this, that and bacon fat. Now all Skye wants to do is commit hairstyle homicide with her surgically sharpened shears. Skye is very relatable because everyone has been there: the fake plastic smile; the underappreciated work; the selfish people that we must put up with in our daily lives…  How great would it be if we could really give some of those people a good what-for?! Ms. Helle makes it possible to live vicariously, somewhat, through Skye’s daily grin and bear it grind.

Diane is Scott’s (Skye’s husband) vindictive ex-girlfriend and mother of their now 18 year old daughter.  Her goal in life is to make Skye and Scott miserable by demanding them to fork over money for her selfish daughter’s life.  She is the epitome of a heinous hag and, needless to say, Skye has several fantasies of causing grievous harm to her as well. I’m not sure if Ms. Helle could have made her anymore perfectly terrible. Nearly anyone with a terrible ex can understand and truly feel this situation.

Writing Style: The Cutting Edge is told through the eyes of both Skye and an anonymous serial killer. This aspect helps push the story along without being bogged down too many details that can often happen in a first person narrative.

The story does have some graphic scenes (one of the main characters is a serial killer, you know!), but it has enough laughter throughout to more than make up for the dreadfulness of the killings.

Continuity:  I noticed no issues with the continuity.

Overall Rating: 4+

I would highly recommend this novel to anyone who has just about had it with their service industry based job. Or just about anyone who has ever been underappreciated in their line of work. I would warn that this novel does have some adult themes, language and contains depictions of violence. The violence isn’t overwhelming nor is the imagery extremely detailed, it is there and it is realistic. I did have a few “Ohhh! *inward hiss*” moments as Ms. Helle described certain aspects of the serial killer’s choice of torture.

As I said before: for every horrendous act of the killer, there are multiple moments of genuine laughs. Ms. Helle did an excellent job and I look forward to reading more books in the future from her!

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