High Rollers by Jack Bowman
|High Rollers by Jack Bowman|
|Reviewer: Steve Shayler|
|Summary: An action packed conspiracy tale with crashes, chases and revelations. This is a typical but exciting action thriller.|
|Buy? Maybe||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 393||Date: August 2013|
|Publisher: Bantam Press|
Tom Patrick is a far from popular air crash investigator, who is nonetheless the best there is. He has more than ruffled a few feathers and is suspended from working on cases. Despite this the largest case of his career is forced upon him when not one but two Boeing 737 jets encounter catastrophic failures resulting in many fatalities. Tom recognises a possible link between the two and potentially many more airplanes, a link that could uncover a far reaching and very dangerous conspiracy.
The original two planes are only the beginning and Tom travels across the world in his unauthorised investigation, chasing hunches in the hope of being able to back these up with supporting paperwork down the line. He is an avid poker player and many of his actions come across as being a gamble and a gamble that doesn’t always pay off.
High Rollers is an exciting story with an intriguing premise that creates a real tension from the possibility of a fault with one of the world’s most used planes. The story doesn’t hold back at times from the horrific aftermath of aviation disasters and as a result the importance of Tom Patrick’s investigation is felt early on. The investigation causes the lead character to be even less popular than he already is, questioning other investigators' work, making his boss’s job even more difficult and harassing people left, right and centre.
Patrick is incredibly socially inept and suffers from an inability to keep his mouth shut and his thoughts to himself; this can be great fun to read and results in a good deal of humour in the story. He is sarcastic, foul mouthed and always has a put down and he doesn’t care how his words might affect people; unsurprisingly he gets hit a lot. Patrick is beaten up, crashed into, shot at (not just by those wishing to silence him and his investigation) and even, miraculously, seduced. He is a typical thriller character who can survive anything, being incredibly unpleasant along the way and you can’t help but love him for his deep down sense of justice and good heart. Although at times quite clichéd he is still a character that is great fun to read and that I would be interested in the further exploits of.
The story is pretty typical of the genre and is fast paced and full of action. We experience a wide variety of locations as the protagonist is in search of evidence and the truth and wherever we are taken in the story there is always a feeling that the people after Patrick are just around the corner. By the end of the story it is difficult to know who can be trusted and although some of the events are a little predictable there are still enough twists to keep the reader guessing.
This is quite a successful romp of a book with characters and events making an enjoyable and sometimes tense read. I particularly enjoyed the character's side line in poker and the parallel troubles that it brought him throughout the story and the scenes in casinos seem to benefit from the author's experiences as a poker player himself.
A lot of the proceedings within the tale rely on the fact that Tom Patrick is supposedly the best air crash investigator there is and is only held back by his interaction with the public. The whole investigation hinges on the fact that he is an incredibly gifted investigator but by the end of the book I still have no idea what is supposed to make him better than others, he is begrudgingly considered exceptional at the job by all around but not once is this really explained. He is an interesting character and feels well fleshed out in some areas but this important aspect doesn’t feel properly tackled.
All in all this is a good fun bit of escapism, the story never lets up and provides enough human interest, action and humour to fly by. Although not spectacular the story and its lead character are great fun and the pace never dragged. Ironically I think this book would be best read when travelling and despite the big CAUTION DO NOT READ THIS BOOK ON A PLANE displayed on the cover, I think a long plane journey would most suit this book.
For a range of exciting and entertaining stories try Thriller 2: Stories You Just Can't Put Down by Clive Cussler (editor).
You can read more book reviews or buy High Rollers by Jack Bowman at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy High Rollers by Jack Bowman at Amazon.com.
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