Sanibel Island’s most swashbuckling marine biologist goes in search of five Navy bombers that vanished nearly 70 years ago and finds both more and less.
Marion D. Ford (Chasing Midnight, 2012, etc.) is a sucker for derring-do and friendship. So it’s easy for Dan Futch, the best pilot Doc Ford knows, to enlist his help, and that of his hipster wingman Tomlinson, in tracing Flight 19, which took off from Fort Lauderdale in December 1945 and vanished without a trace—unless you count a telegram lost radioman George Paonessa apparently sent his brother three weeks later. The real-life mystery went far to fuel myths about the Bermuda Triangle that Doc would just as soon dispel. But he’s the one who’s nearly dispelled when Dan’s plane abruptly goes down with him and Tomlinson aboard. It’s an obvious case of sabotage, Dan tells the other survivors, but who’d want to sabotage such a mission? Well, says Tomlinson, there’s Kondo Ogbay, the Haitian drug lord he’s run afoul of, and Cressa Arturo, the married woman currently sharing his bed. The list of suspects soon expands to include Cressa’s wealthy younger husband, Rob, and her crazy brother-in-law, Dean Arturo, Luke Smith of Adventure World Productions and Brazilian import/export CEO Alberto Sabino, aka contract killer Vargas Diemer. These amiably assorted worthies take turns—sometimes solo, sometimes in teams—alternately cozying up to Doc and his pals and drawing down on them. The search for Flight 19 doesn’t exactly get forgotten in the tangle of subplots, but it loses so much urgency that it’s a pleasing surprise when it finally gets wound up.
A lesser adventure aimed at action fans who agree with Raymond Chandler that a great story is a succession of great scenes.