Michael Ridpath > The Magnus Iceland Mysteries > Thrillers > Financial Thrillers >
On The Edge spacerOn The EdgePublisher’s Description…
From his past as an RAF fighter pilot to his job as a bond trader in the City, Alex Calder is a man known for taking big risks – and winning. But when colleague Jennifer Tan decides to pursue a sexual harassment case against her boss, Calder witnesses the ugly side of his world. And the tragic. For Jen commits suicide and Calder quits in disgust.

One year on, Calder is running a flying school in Norfolk. But the past won’t disappear. When a former colleague of Jen's vanishes while visiting Jean-Luc Martel – the infamous “Man Who Broke the Euro” – in his mountain paradise in the Rockies, Calder sees the tragic events of twelve months earlier in even more sinister and terrifying light.

And this time, he’ll risk his reputation, his livelihood and even his life on seeing justice is done…

Writing On the Edge…
I originally intended On The Edge to be the first book in a series. To date, I have only written one other Alex Calder book, See No Evil, but there may be more one day, you never know. So, why a series?

I think the main reason is that I would like to see one of my main characters’ lives develop. I have grown very fond of all six of them so far, but each time I've abandoned them to obscurity after an exciting and life-changing few months. This time I want my hero's life to change and develop over the years.

This means, of course that I have to have a slightly different kind of protagonist. Most of my heroes till now have been innocents caught up in some dastardly scam that stretches them and brings out inner capabilities they never knew they had. Alex Calder starts off like that in On the Edge. But he needs to be a slightly different character, someone who goes out looking for trouble rather than waiting for it to come to him, a restless risk taker.

Although Alex Calder starts the book firmly entrenched in the familiar surroundings of a trading room at Bloomfield Weiss, during the book he leaves the City. As time goes on, this will give him the perspective of an outsider with a background in the financial world and therefore he will be able to look at it critically. More like me, in other words.

On the Edge deals with four themes that are highly topical in the City at the moment: sexual harassment, the disruptive effect of hedge funds, the dangers of complex derivatives and European integration. It is also about the increasing inhumanity of many of the large investment banks. One of the joys of writing a thriller is that you don't have to go in for all that tedious 'on the one hand ... on the other hand' rubbish. You just give your characters strong prejudices and let them fly! It's fair to say they cause quite a lot of damage in this book.

A word of warning. Derivatives are complicated financial products. The more complicated they are, the more profitable they become to the investment banks that issue them. In On the Edge they are very complicated. It is quite permissible for the reader to skim the few paragraphs that describe them, but if you want to try to figure them out for yourself, be my guest. They do hang together, I promise you.

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