Davis (Control Tower, The Divorce, etc.) returns to the world of aviation with an improbable but ultimately exciting thriller about a revolutionary new plane that's severely damaged during takeoff. As time runs out for the 300-plus passengers aboard the liner an old-fashioned, rugged individualist pilot tries to save the day while fending off technocrats on the ground. When the Intra-Continental Airlines radical Trent 270 passenger jet takes off from Tulsa in a major snowstorm, a midair collision with a small private plane leaves the big one unable to do anything but climb, moving inexorably toward the stratosphere and disaster. A potentially engrossing story, admittedly, but one that takes a long timeuntil the final pagesto get that way. Stylistically, Davis uses the standard thriller approach of rapid cross-cutting from scene to scene, but this device simply fragments the action. Worse, the tone is often polemical rather than narrative. And the characters (who, if not exactly cardboard, are close enough to pass in most instances) converse in dialogue that, when not totally stilted, is expository. Still, most readers are likely to keep plowing forward to see whether the ever-confident, ever-resourceful Lucky Doyle can save himself, the woman he loves, the airline that employs him (and that intends to fire him for being too behind the times) and his passengers. Some neat technical stuff for those who care, this one, like the Trent 270, eventually crashes.
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