THE LAST HOSTAGE by John J. Nance

THE LAST HOSTAGE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

 Strongly knotted, twisty airline melodrama from Nance (Medusa's Child, 1997, etc.), an air safety analyst and retired Air Force pilot who served in Vietnam and Desert Storm, still serves as a Boeing 737 captain for a major airline, and is a licensed attorney. Nance's legal background feeds as strongly into his new plot as does flying. When Captain Ken Wolfe hears that Judge Rudolph Bostich, front-runner for US Attorney General, is aboard, he vomits in the crew's restroom but manages to get control of himself. Once airborne, Ken spots a defective engine, or so he says, and does an emergency landing at an airport where he gets rid of his co-pilot on a false mission, then takes off quickly and announces that the plane has been hijacked. For several chapters, his crew and the reader think that a hijacker has indeed slipped onto the plane. Soon, however, lead flight attendant Annette Baxter discovers that Ken is alone in the locked cockpit and has himself hijacked the plane, planted a radio-controlled bomb in the bay, and is now threatening to kill all 130 passengers unless certain conditions are met. It turns out that Ken's 11-year-old daughter Melinda was murdered by a pedophile two years earlier and the alleged killer, Bradley Lumin, beat the rap because a lie by Connecticut Judge Bostich got the warrant against Lumin dismissed and let him walk--to murder more young girls, Wolfe thinks. When Ken lands to refuel, first-time FBI hostage negotiator Kat Bronsky gets aboard and begins trying to talk him out of his suicidal mission. But Ken is all too familiar with her tactics and can't be swayed: Bostich must confess, or else. Things, of course, are never that simple. Many slam-bang special effects, and the characters are unremarkable, but Nance's streamlined narrative offers some nicely nasty twists right up to a startling, and grimly appropriate, climax.

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1998
ISBN: 0-385-49055-0
Page count: 384pp
Publisher: Doubleday
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1st, 1998




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