Anatomy of an air-crash. When an American-built, British-registered jet goes down on a Sicilian volcano under mysterious circumstances, the three-nation team of investigators finds that everybody's got something to hide: the Italian officials and Mafiosi who grafted big bucks building an unsafe airport; the American manufacturers (on the verge of bankruptcy) who built an unsafe, shoddy aircraft; the British airline that sent the plane off knowing it was in poor shape and being flown by a dangerously incompatible crew. A Sicilian reporter begins poking through the unsavory mess, finding corruption at every turn, and ultimately causing more deaths as the vested interests play dirty to save their skins. Howlett's gifts are more journalistic than novelistic: as a thriller, this lacks substance or sting. But on the technical, ""factual"" level, the recreation of crash and aftermath will be fascinating, revealing, and frightening to all travelers who have ever strapped themselves in with sweaty palms.