When Russian oligarchs try to meddle in American politics, a pilot who can fly invisibly tries to thwart them in this fifth installment of a series.
It’s been almost a year since the small-plane crash that pilot Will Stewart barely survived. It should have killed him—but instead, the accident has left Will with the gift of invisible floating, a phenomenon he calls “the other thing.” Over time, he’s learned more about his gift and how to control his flight with mechanical devices, although he’s still working on propelling himself through thought alone. He’s used the other thing to help his wife, police detective Andrea “Andy” Stewart, solve cases. He’s rescued innocents, intimidated criminal bigshots into better behavior, and—through a still-mysterious process—cured some dying children. Will finally has medical clearance to return to work as a charter pilot for the Essex County Air Service in Wisconsin, but a quiet life isn’t in the cards. Special Agent Lee Donaldson turns up wanting Andy’s help with Josiah James, a racist talk radio host and conspiracy theorist. Since Will last saw Donaldson providing private security for a billionaire criminal, he’s not sure whether the agent can be trusted. But James’ hatemongering played a role in a local tragedy, giving the Stewarts motivation to look into him. Their investigation takes a turn when James is assassinated at a rally by an old man, leading Will and Andy into a complicated maze of conspiracy, the dark net, Cold War spycraft, and Russian interference in United States politics, all while attempting to protect the secret of the other thing.
Seaborne (Divisible Man: The Seventh Star, 2019, etc.), a former flight instructor and charter pilot, continues his winning streak in this series, offering another page-turner. By having Will’s knowledge of and control over his powers continue to expand while the questions over how he should best deploy his abilities grow, Seaborne keeps the concept fresh and readers guessing. Information about what actually happened during the crash (which Will can’t remember) has been doled out by the quarter-teaspoonful, which is enticing—and sometimes frustrating. But the thriller nicely thinks through matters like Will’s being the perfect spy: “I don’t speak Russian. Or Arabic. Or any other language. I can’t read the Russian signs that say, ‘This Way To Secret World Takeover Laboratory.’ People don’t sit around chatting about their evil plans.” Meanwhile, Will’s enemies are becoming aware of him and perhaps developing techniques to detect him, which makes the question of how he can protect himself while doing the most good a thorny one. The conspiracy is highly dramatic yet not implausible given today’s political events, and the action sequences are excitingly cinematic. It does seem past time for Will to make some kind of plan instead of reacting to events, giving readers much to anticipate in the next volume.
Another compelling and hugely fun adventure that delivers a thrill ride.