In Lane’s debut thriller, an investigator is convinced that a plane crash that resulted in the deaths of two lawyers was no accident.
Some authorities believe that attorneys Todd Ashley and his friend, Jim, were drunk when their private plane went down, but pilot Becky Langevin uncovers data suggesting that their electronic instruments shut down during the flight. She teams up with lawyer Wilson “Will” Oakwood and Todd’s daughter, Maggie, and their investigation leads to a shadowy company, Brutus FL. It turns out that Brutus is connected to another crash years earlier which killed Becky’s father, who was piloting the plane, and Will’s father, a U.S. senator. The bulk of Lane’s novel is, as the title indicates, a conspiracy thriller: Becky doesn’t fully trust Will, as he works for Todd’s firm, which seems invested in keeping the investigation quiet; unknown persons easily destroy evidence of wrecked aircraft in locked hangars; and, all the while, someone’s trying to kill Becky, Will and Maggie. It’s a solid action novel that moves at a frantic pace; for example, there are two tension-filled plane rides before the page count hits double digits. But it also reveals itself as a taut legal thriller when attorney Will goes after Brutus in court; even something as minor as a ruling on a motion is surprisingly engaging. Becky is depicted as a steely protagonist with a fear of commitment and intimacy, although her love interest, Peter, remains underdeveloped. The author, an attorney and aviator himself, is unquestionably knowledgeable, as the aerial sequences are sensationally detailed (with jargon made understandable to nonpilots), and the courtroom scenes are filled with intelligent legalese. Other scenes, however, are given only a modicum of description, with dialogue often monopolizing the narrative; one chapter opening, for example, relays the setting and follows it with two solid pages of characters talking. Such moments don’t hurt the story, but they pale in comparison to other, more action-oriented scenes.
A fast-paced aviation thriller that sometimes reaches great heights.