FLIGHT 967 by Brad Williams


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This is a journeyman labor of no especial interest other than its sensation- subject matter. The subject: the insurance-bombing of a National Airlines plane flying from Tampa to Dallas on Nov. 16, 1959. Author Williams has gone to great ins to lay blame at the feet of Robert Vernon Spears, until recently incarcerated in Alcatraz (he must now be in San Quentin). And they are pains worth going to. Spears pretty obviously blew the plane up to erase his identity (he was about to be tried in California on abortion charges) and to gain over $100,000 in insurance payments through his wife. Spears apparently is no maniac. He'd been in jail several times, with austere sentences, on confidence raps and once for armed robbery. The great fault at hand is that he blew up his best friend, whom he had conned into taking his seat on the plane. Spears, meanwhile, went into hiding and everyone thought he had died on the plane. Later, he was captured and convicted on the abortion charge, but neither the FBI nor the airline has been able to hang the plane rap on him. No evidence, the plane went down in the Gulf and has not been recovered. Spears may just possibly be freed on parole soon (it's not likely), or he may face serving his full conviction. Williams has done a competent job of interviewing and recapping, and drops his moral down like a manhole cover (blowing up planes doesn't pay), but he has failed to write a book that will last for years of reprinting.

Publisher: Morrow