THE BALLOON AFFAIR by Marion Margery Layne

THE BALLOON AFFAIR

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Half comedy-caper, half chase-suspense, this uneven but likable little thriller gets underway when the lieutenant-governor of New Mexico signs a bill putting a tax on solar energy. Albuquerque's solar enthusiasts are livid, of course; so some of them--led by scruffy solar balloonist Rodriguez Riley and posh solar designer Ted Findley--impulsively decide to fight back. How? By hijacking the dignitaries' balloons at the upcoming Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta: they'll knock out the real balloon pilots with drugs (thanks to the hypodermic-wielding Mexican ladies of the local church's Altar Society, who have their own reasons for hijacking the Archbishop); they'll substitute themselves as pilots; and then they'll fly the governor and other biggies to a mountain hideout. No violence intended, just publicity and pressure--and all goes as planned. But it turns out that the governor is being stalked by super-villains (involved with drugs), so the story soon shifts into some pretty routine shootout/escape/chase action in rough terrain. A few halfhearted romances among the conspirators, a bit of dreary soul-searching too--but the ballooning is fun, the solar angle is relatively fresh, and the caper sequence has more than a little comic/visual cinematic potential.

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 1981
Publisher: Dodd, Mead