Abhisar Sharma, a renowned journalist of more than 15 years of experience has worked for various organizations like Aaj Tak and Zee News. The Edge of the Machete is his 2nd book in the trilogy featuring The Eye of the Predator and The Dark Side of Me. To be honest I haven’t read his 1st and 3rd books and just began from this one having heard a lot about it. Is it worth the hype? Let’s check it out.

The blurb goes like this –

Goal: To eliminate Aamir Sherzai, the new whiz-kid in the Pakistan-wing of the Taliban.

Means: A CIA operative Ed Gomez, on a mission to get even with Aamir Sherzai, responsible for the execution of his best buddy and fellow agent, Jason.

Location: The Beast, somewhere in the Khyber, Pakistan.

To eliminate Jasons killer, Gomez has to infiltrate a conglomeration of the most ferocious terror outfits in The Beast as Sarfaraz Khan. But as the boundaries between Gomez and Sarfaraz blur, the CIA agent must not only plunge headlong into the battle in the Khyber, but also wage a war within. Simultaneously, Indian journalist Rahul Sharma, kidnapped and held hostage within The Beast, must find a way back to the woman he loves. And British white Muslim, Shaun Marsh aka Shahid Khan, sucked into the gathering at the Khyber, must learn to exorcise the ghosts of the past.

Most of all, all three must try to escape the edge of Aamir Sherzais machete. Will they get away unscathed? Or meet a fate similar to Jasons? Find out in this captivating thriller!

The book has an enticing cover with the stereotypical image of a jihadi terrorist adorning it. Printed and published by Westland, the quality of the pages and the font of the inner text is picture perfect.

There have been quite a few military thrillers coming out recently particularly after the success of Mukul Deva’s Lashkar series. From Sami Ahmed Khan to Mainak Dhar to Shatrujeet Nath, a lot many authors are getting bitten by the terrorism bug or shall we say the Tom Clancy style of writing. The way Abhisar explains the functioning of the various terror groups, the double cross games played by the Pakistan army and ISI and the constant fights between the CIA and Pakistan, you got to give it to his knowledge of the region during his stints in journalism.

The narrative moves at a brisk pace throughout with many interesting twists and turns whether it pertains to Ed going on his mission or Shahid’s struggles in the UK and then how he transforms himself into someone else. There is also the Indian angle and how the terrorists want to attack anything Indian since they are involved in the reconstruction of Afghanistan. How life like, isn’t it? There are no real loose ends in the story and therefore the reader’s attention is bound throughout. Moreover, there is not just thrill and action but love and emotions as well. Perfect for a Bollywood movie, anyone? 😉

And again as is the case with the military thrillers in India, there is so much reality to the happenings that you wonder if its actually fiction. How much of it is true? What if all of it actually turns out to be true? Questions like all these and more keep circling around?

I couldn’t find any real shortcomings to this one.

Abhisar has created some interesting characters. Eduardo as the CIA agent who turns into a completely different man in a matter of months, almost like a split personality, holds the entire narrative together. Shahid is just your average Muslim guy in Britain who feels alienated. Then there’s Jason whose a CIA agent but commits such a big mistake that he has to pay for it. Aamir Sherzai is the dreaded terror mastermind who can kill in cold blood without wincing even a little. Steve is one of the top guys at CIA working at the backend to ensure that the mission is successful.

If military thrillers are your cup of tea and America’s involvement in the Af-Pak region and how the proceedings unfold is what you are interested in, go for this one!

And yes, it didn’t really matter even though I hadn’t read the first book of the series.

Rating – 4/5