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NIGHT OWL by Andrew Mayne


by Andrew Mayne

Pub Date: Dec. 1st, 2023
ISBN: 9781662506437
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

A freelance fixer discovers international intrigue while probing a catastrophic aircraft explosion.

A creepy prologue introduces siblings Luka and Adrik, budding contract killers, making a few extra euros by dispatching a woman. Stateside, the death of his young son, Jason, devastates retired FBI agent Brad Trasker, who waxes philosophical in the grip of his grief as he embarks on a new project. Trasker happened to meet media-shy entrepreneur Kylie Connor when she helped him change a flat tire. Is it karma or design when she summons him to a high-powered meeting in an airplane hangar? Kylie is planning to pilot Sparrow, an experimental hydrogen-powered aircraft she claims "will make aviation globally accessible.” Trasker isn't sure why he's been invited, but he's clearly needed after the demo goes horribly wrong. The aircraft explodes and catches fire; Kylie, engulfed in flames as she stands outside the plane, survives unscathed. Trasker sets about investigating the explosion. The prolific Mayne’s series kickoff at first unfolds like a forensics-heavy police procedural, with short chapters adding new bits of evidence and often introducing new characters. Advanced technology figures prominently; Trasker suspects a projectile fired from a strategically chosen location. The possibility of a Russian connection gives new significance to the prologue and its title to the novel, which morphs into a labyrinthine international thriller. The intensity rises when Trasker meets unctuous Michael Charles Wagner and begins to uncover a complex criminal network, piece by piece. Mayne overreaches, trying to do too many things at once, but the pace never flags.

A brisk, competent thriller that neither challenges nor disappoints.