Flight by Adam Thorpe

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Flight by Adam Thorpe

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Category: General Fiction
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Robin Leggett
Reviewed by Robin Leggett
Summary: An action packed story of arms and drug running as the past catches up with freight pilot, Bob Winrush - a tough guy with a soft heart. Probably appealing more to male readers, it would make a good beach read this summer.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 400 Date: May 2013
Publisher: Vintage
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-0099539766

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The past is catching up with Bob Winrush. His marriage is over as a result of his inconsiderate arrival home early when weather cancelled one of his jobs as a cargo pilot to find his wife in bed with another man but when an investigative journalist starts to dig into some of the content of Bob's previous cargo trips, his life is quickly placed in grave danger. His problems stemmed from having walked away from a particularly morally dubious trip to transport arms to the Taliban some years ago, although it turns out that his moral line in the sand is somewhat blurred. He has knowingly transported guns and military personnel in his time. He's sort of the aeronautical equivalent of white van man.

Winrush is a familiar character from anyone who has seen Hollywood action movies. He's a tough guy with a soft heart. In fact at one point one character laments that they are not in a movie, which is somewhat ironic as, short of wearing a white vest, he screams Bruce Willis character. In fact it would make a strong action movie - perhaps 'Fly Hard'?

Adam Thorpe's style is a cut above many action books though. Certainly it is likely to appeal more to male readers I suspect, but it maintains the suspense and feel of someone being after Winrush without him knowing precisely who this might be. When he finds himself hiding out from persons unknown in the Scottish islands, the tension in particular is tangible. There are admittedly some elements of cliché. He seems to have an endless supply of women falling at his feet, from a good time girl in Dubai to the wife of a fisherman in Scotland. He appears as unselective about his female company as he has been about the content of his plane.

There is though, one element to this book that I did struggle with and it comes in two parts. Firstly, there is a fair amount of what you might call flying jargon. All this is explained in context but it does get rather repetitive and all the flight crews seem unable to speak in anything other than this jargon-heavy way. This gets a little wearing and the problem is exacerbated by the endless use of flight similes and metaphors. Some of these are very good, some darkly funny and clever, but to my mind, Thorpe rather over plays this tool. Fewer would have given the good ones so much more power. As it is, hardly a page goes by without some aircraft related reference and I felt like screaming 'yes, I know he's a pilot'. In fact, I can pin point the exact moment that my mind turned from 'this is clever' to 'this is annoying now' and it's a rather dubious reference to jump jet aircraft in the context of an intimate encounter that might well challenge for that 'bad sex in fiction' award.

That aside though, it's a fast paced, action-packed story that is admirably different from the run of the mill action stories and the murky world of arms and drug smuggling are nicely handled.

Our grateful thanks to the kind people at Vintage for sending us this book.

If you are a fan of the tough nut with a soft heart genre, then any of the Jackson Brodie books will certainly appeal. When Will There Be Good News? by Kate Atkinson is as good place to start. Falling Glass by Adrian McKinty is also worth checking out.

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Buy Flight by Adam Thorpe at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Flight by Adam Thorpe at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy Flight by Adam Thorpe at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Flight by Adam Thorpe at Amazon.com.


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