DARK FLIGHT by John Rossiter


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Supernatural action/romance from Britain--more than a little reminiscent of those WW II-and-after films (like Stairway to Heaven) that leaned very heavily and optimistically on life-after-death. Flying Officer Philip Graham's Lancaster bomber is shot down over Nuremberg, and Philip finds himself wandering the countryside for over a month before he recognizes that he's disembodied. Back home his wife Laura is grieving for him, and she's shocked when her father and stepmother bring home a flyer they've met who is the spitting image of Philip: Oliver Missen, a womanizer-drinker-coward who insinuates himself into the family's bosom, his heart set on seducing high-toned Laura. But widow Laura keeps seeing images of Philip in the room with her; and indeed it is Philip, who is yearning heavily and projecting himself into Laura's rooms from his grey limbo in Germany. Meanwhile Oliver has gotten a married WAAF officer pregnant and is also having ghastly problems with cowardice on his flights. And when he sets up a final rendezvous with Laura, her stepmother intervenes, gets him drunk, seduces him, and blackmails him into leaving Laura alone. Finally, then, on his last mission Oliver is shot down near Philip's ghost, and Philip enters Oliver's body and flies back to England. . . but again finds himself shot down, thrown into a seemingly endless karmic cycle that keeps him from returning to Laura. Oliver's scenes are first-rate, especially the battle sequences, and the glimpses of squadron life are tight and gripping. But the supernatural element is murky and unconvincing--making this a mostly readable hybrid that never quite satisfies.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1981
Publisher: Atheneum