Rocklin, CA, United States | Member Since 2004
This is not a book to read on an airplane -- in terms of 'airline disaster' books, this is right up there with John Nance's "Turbulence" or Nelson DeMille's "Mayday". Excellent, just excellent -- not told from a passenger's point of view, but rather from the standpoint of the coroner, in this case, the intrepid Jenny Cooper, a clear candidate for the world's "human being most likely to lose her job" award. Not that she should lose her job -- just that she manages, as always, to get the world's most powerful people clamoring for her head. Attached to her body or not.
Through a complicated situation, Jenny Cooper finds it necessary to find out why Flight 189 plunged into the Severn Estuary killing everyone on board, plus at least one (part of the plot) on the ground. Although technically barred from investigating the cause of the crash itself -- something the Powers That Be most definitely do NOT want investigated -- Jenny edges into the investigation because the body of a young girl who was on the flight washes up into her territory. It's a battle royal, not only to find out what made the plane crash, but for Jenny to stay alive while she does it. After all, hundreds of people are already dead. What's one more?
If you haven't read the M. R. Hall series, of which this is the 4th book, you've got a treat in store. The tension just doesn't let up -- but what's even more interesting in this book was the amount of technical information included along the way. I'm not an engineer -- still can't quite believe how anything that big can fly -- but there are several testimonials from people who do know such things that M. R. Hall -- a male author who hails from Wales -- did a lot of research, and they say what Hall describes is perfectly possible even if highly unlikely. I thought all the airline trivia details were fascinating -- not just of the crash itself, but of how airline companies work, what pressures the employees are under, and how the whole airline culture functions.
Of course there's a human element, too -- the scenes with Jenny's dying father, with whom she was never close, ring true, as does her interaction with her seriously difficult secretary Allison. I suspect that many of us have had to deal with an "Allison". Mine was named Pauline, and some of the interaction between Jenny and her moody and obnoxious staffer made me laugh at some of my own difficult situations all over again.
I really love this series, and am astonished when I hear people say, "M. R. Hall" Who's that?" Hall is a top notch author who deserves to be at the top of everyone's list -- just don't bring this one on an airplane if you know what's good for you.
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