A man with the powers of flight and invisibility uses them to help investigate a sex-trafficking ring in this third novel in a series.
Five months ago, Will Stewart, 33, a regional pilot for Essex County Air Services in Wisconsin, survived the crash of his small plane—an accident that remains unexplained. He’s still waiting for a medical evaluation to clear him to fly again and restore his pilot’s license; his neurologist, Dr. Doug Stephenson, is concerned about some imaging results, which show a tangled, wiry structure in Will’s brain. But what Stephenson doesn’t know—and what almost no one else knows—is that the accident left Will with a strange and wonderful gift that he calls “the other thing”: He can become invisible and float in the air. Over the past months, he’s been perfecting a set of hand-operated propulsion devices that give him more control over his ability, which he’s used in two previous adventures to help his 20-something wife, Andrea “Andy” Taylor, a police detective, solve crimes and rescue innocents. Now, one night in early December, Will and Andy are having a rare date night when they get an emergency page from teenage Lane Franklin. She’s in on the secret, as Will used the other thing to save her from abduction a few months before; now his abilities are desperately needed to prevent Lane’s distraught friend from shooting herself. The girl, Sarah, is being blackmailed by someone who has a nude photo of her, taken somehow without her knowledge. Will quickly solves the immediate threat, but the investigation into how the picture was taken points toward a larger, more serious criminal enterprise targeting female high school athletes. Will must push his abilities to their limits in order to bring down the bad guys.
As in the previous two outings, Seaborne (Divisible Man: The Sixth Pawn, 2018), a former flight instructor and charter pilot, delivers a solid, well-written tale that taps into the near-universal dream of personal flight. Seaborne makes the other thing integral to the plot in a way that never feels gimmicky, and three novels in, the protagonist is still discovering new and intriguing aspects of his gift. Will’s narrative voice is engaging and crisp, clearly explaining technical matters while never losing sight of humane, emotional concerns. The environments he describes, from regional airlines to big-city police departments, feel absolutely real. Also, as before, the side characters are well-drawn, including Will’s fellow pilot, 22-year-old “Pidge” Page, who’s feisty, foulmouthed, and game for anything—the more dangerous, the better. The plot moves along briskly and has a satisfying conclusion, although the girl-in-trouble plotline is a bit similar to that in the first installment of the series. It also doesn’t follow up on the ending of the second book’s story, which suggested bigger plans for Will’s gift than reconnoitering and rescues. As the protagonist gains more control over the other thing, it would be nice to see him dream a little bigger.
Another intelligent and exciting superpowered thriller.