THE LEFT SEAT by Robert J Serling


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Unforced good humor and airline pilot camaraderie offset the novelistic and dramatic weaknesses of this story. (Serling has written non-fiction until now-about planes.) The subject and the main character are pretty bland ingredients; the subject is flight safety on commercial airlines from WW II to the present. Ex-bomber pilot McDonald McKay goes to work for Midwest Airlines because he really doesn't know how to do anything better than flying. He also wants to be a father figure. McKay soon becomes widely known as a safety nut and a wisely ruthless investigator of crashes. His sympathies are usually with the pilots, who are most often faulted, but he is the first to demand that they acknowledge their errors. He wonders what he would do if he were responsible for a crash; would he turn himself in? After the author has set up several characters as patsies of the plot and killed them off, McKay is faced with his greatest dilemma. He believes himself responsible for a crash, or partly so, and by his own code must make a public admission.... A few of Serling's characters have some raffish color, but most of them are no deeper than an Arrow collar ad.

Publisher: Doubleday