HAWKS by Ray Rosenbaum


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This WW II thriller soars when its characters are at the controls of a plane, but between flights the prose falters and the novel is grounded by foul weather. In Falcons (1993), Ross Coyler flew missions over Germany in a B-24; here he pilots Mustangs over China. Driven by a love of flying and an intense camaraderie with his fellow pilots, Coyler overcomes obstacles, mostly political and personal, to continue his excellent performance. He sidesteps a jealous commanding officer and an ambitious general, achieving success as a squadron leader and proving himself several times. Perhaps things break a little too well for Captain Ross Coyler. When he goes off half-cocked and concocts a last-hurrah mission for his squadron before bugging out, almost everything goes his way. Nothing the author does here is so far off the mark as to jar or alienate the reader. The characters are either clearly sympathetic or antagonistic: Major King, the CO, is a jealous martinet who tries to smear Coyler's reputation; General Sprague is a political animal who uses influence in Washington to support his machinations; Major Weibel is a washed-up drunk with one last act of valor in him. Their actions are so predictable as to be trivial, distracting from the flow of the plot. Rosenbaum also follows Janet Templeton, a former girlfriend and widow of Coyler's enemy from Falcons, as she works in a bomber factory, becomes involved with a war profiteer, and finally extricates herself with her reputation intact so she can await Coyler's eventual return. Too easygoing to be thrilling, Hawks is hard to dislike without being likeable.

Pub Date: June 1st, 1994
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Lyford/Presidio