Well-written and engaging, with memorable characters and an intriguing hero.


In this debut thriller, a pilot survives a crash and discovers that he’s developed strange abilities, which come in handy when someone kidnaps his friend’s daughter.

Will Stewart, a 30-something pilot for Essex County Air Services, wakes in an Essex, Wisconsin, hospital with a broken pelvis, lucky to be alive after his twin-engine airplane accident. He remembers nothing—but what’s more unsettling is the fact that he’s floating 6 feet above his bed, his body invisible. When the moment passes, Will initially chalks it up to a morphine-induced hallucination. Later, he’s not so sure, but he’s hesitant about testing himself further. For one thing, he doesn’t want to give his 23-year-old police-sergeant wife, Andrea “Andy” Taylor, anything else to worry about. However, Will can’t resist using his new powers, especially after he’s home from the hospital. With practice, he discovers that he can control his invisible floating, and that anything he’s wearing becomes invisible, as well. For a man who loves flying planes, it’s a huge rush: “I felt joy in its purest form. First solo flight joy. First time popping up through the clouds joy. First love joy.” Will perfects his floating technique a bit slowly, but it’s enjoyable to watch his growing mastery. Then disaster hits when gangsters kidnap Lane Franklin, the 14-year-old daughter of the air service’s office manager, in Essex, where she and her mother live. A member of the gang later tells Andy that Lane was “selected by someone big, someone on top.” The cop joins the hunt to find her, and Will feels “the dawning of a brilliant, and possibly insane idea” involving his new abilities. If he can pull it off, he’ll save an innocent girl from a terrible fate. Seaborne, a flight instructor and charter pilot, vividly evokes the world of charter airlines and those who populate them, particularly with his well-drawn character sketches. For example, he ably evokes the owner of Essex County Air Services, Earl Jackson, who sold his lucrative business and now “prefers to spend his days sitting in a tiny office crammed with maintenance manuals and pondering fuel purchases.” The book offers lots of information on aviation and law enforcement, but it’s nicely counterbalanced with warm human relationships, such as the one between Will and Andy. The novel’s latter half shows how Will’s practice sessions pay off, offering several satisfying outcomes. However, this second part lacks the plausibility that Seaborne so carefully constructs in the first, and more closely resembles an extended action sequence in a superhero tale, although, in this case, Will is still learning to control his powers. The thugs are standard issue, and with few candidates to choose from, the main villain’s identity isn’t hard to guess. That said, Milwaukee is well-described, from its boarded-up inner-city houses to its luxe mansions on Lake Drive. Altogether, this book is a strong start to a series, which will continue in Divisible Man: The Sixth Pawn.

Well-written and engaging, with memorable characters and an intriguing hero.

Pub Date: June 6, 2018


Page Count: 319

Publisher: Trans World Data

Review Posted Online: May 26, 2018

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A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.

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Are we not men? We are—well, ask Bigfoot, as Brooks does in this delightful yarn, following on his bestseller World War Z (2006).

A zombie apocalypse is one thing. A volcanic eruption is quite another, for, as the journalist who does a framing voice-over narration for Brooks’ latest puts it, when Mount Rainier popped its cork, “it was the psychological aspect, the hyperbole-fueled hysteria that had ended up killing the most people.” Maybe, but the sasquatches whom the volcano displaced contributed to the statistics, too, if only out of self-defense. Brooks places the epicenter of the Bigfoot war in a high-tech hideaway populated by the kind of people you might find in a Jurassic Park franchise: the schmo who doesn’t know how to do much of anything but tries anyway, the well-intentioned bleeding heart, the know-it-all intellectual who turns out to know the wrong things, the immigrant with a tough backstory and an instinct for survival. Indeed, the novel does double duty as a survival manual, packed full of good advice—for instance, try not to get wounded, for “injury turns you from a giver to a taker. Taking up our resources, our time to care for you.” Brooks presents a case for making room for Bigfoot in the world while peppering his narrative with timely social criticism about bad behavior on the human side of the conflict: The explosion of Rainier might have been better forecast had the president not slashed the budget of the U.S. Geological Survey, leading to “immediate suspension of the National Volcano Early Warning System,” and there’s always someone around looking to monetize the natural disaster and the sasquatch-y onslaught that follows. Brooks is a pro at building suspense even if it plays out in some rather spectacularly yucky episodes, one involving a short spear that takes its name from “the sucking sound of pulling it out of the dead man’s heart and lungs.” Grossness aside, it puts you right there on the scene.

A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.

Pub Date: June 16, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-2678-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Del Rey/Ballantine

Review Posted Online: Feb. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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Assembly-line legal thriller: flat characters, lame scene-setting, and short but somehow interminable action: a lifeless...


Two defrocked Secret Service Agents investigate the assassination of one presidential candidate and the kidnapping of another.

Baldacci (The Christmas Train, 2002, etc.) sets out with two plot strands. The first begins when something distracts Secret Service Agent Sean King and during that “split second,” presidential candidate Clyde Ritter is shot dead. King takes out the killer, but that’s not enough to save his reputation with the Secret Service. He retires and goes on to do often tedious but nonetheless always lucrative work (much like a legal thriller such as this) at a law practice. Plot two begins eight years later when another Secret Service Agent, Michelle Maxwell, lets presidential candidate John Bruno out of her sight for a few minutes at a wake for one of his close associates. He goes missing. Now Maxwell, too, gets in dutch with the SS. Though separated by time, the cases are similar and leave several questions unanswered. What distracted King at the rally? Bruno had claimed his friend’s widow called him to the funeral home. The widow (one of the few characters here to have any life) says she never called Bruno. Who set him up? Who did a chambermaid at Ritter’s hotel blackmail? And who is the man in the Buick shadowing King’s and Maxwell’s every move? King is a handsome, rich divorce, Maxwell an attractive marathon runner. Will they join forces and find each other kind of, well, appealing? But of course. The two former agents traverse the countryside, spinning endless hypotheses before the onset, at last, of a jerrybuilt conclusion that begs credibility and offers few surprises.

Assembly-line legal thriller: flat characters, lame scene-setting, and short but somehow interminable action: a lifeless concoction.

Pub Date: Sept. 30, 2003

ISBN: 0-446-53089-1

Page Count: 406

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2003

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