A determined female commercial pilot must navigate complex company politics and personal drama as she attempts to advance her career in this debut romantic suspense novel.
Tris Miles is a turboprop pilot on a small commuter airline in the late 1990s when she gets the opportunity to interview with the flight department of a large corporation. Enthralled by aviation since childhood, Tris is eager to earn the rank of captain and gain certification on big corporate jets. She also has a deeply personal reason for proving herself, tied to the guilt she feels over the death of Bron, her lover and fellow pilot. A competent and cool-headed aviator, Tris has become accustomed to being on the receiving end of casual sexism, frequently being mistaken for a flight attendant. But as she starts her new job at Tetrix, Inc., she steps into a new level of professional pressure and intrigue. Working alongside Larry Ross, an alcoholic with an unhappy home life, and Ed Deter, overtly hostile to female aviators, and under the supervision of Brian Zorn, a manipulator with a tendency to hold dangerous grudges, Tris soon begins to miss the camaraderie among the pilots at her old job. As she doggedly tries to get the training she needs to make captain, she feels increasingly alone in a fight to resist being drawn into deception and danger. Kardon’s narrative is both thoughtful and gripping. She vividly portrays the fine line between respect and familiarity that women in nontraditional roles must walk to do their jobs well in the face of sexual harassment on one hand and antagonistic resistance on the other. Tris is an appealing and relatable character who struggles to keep both her self-respect and her ambition intact while negotiating the slippery morality of the corporate world. The conclusion comes a bit too abruptly and is perhaps too grounded in realism to provide a satisfying win, but it remains true to Tris’ character. The details of the “true ballet” of piloting a plane add an evocative dimension to the text that may leave readers longing to take to the air.
An absorbing, if somewhat abbreviated, portrait of a woman’s experience in the largely male world of aviation.