Book Review of Fire Flight

Fire Flight
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Helpful Score: 1


Nance's latest aviation thriller (Pandora's Clock; Turbulence) departs a bit from his successful formula of race-against-the-clock plotting and in-flight suspense. Instead, it plunges into the world of smoke jumping, with many intricate and intimate sequences featuring airborne firefighters at work. It's a good trade-off. There is still plenty of suspense and high-stakes action, but the story is more character-driven and lighter on professional jargon, anchored by a romantic triangle and a whodunit. At the center of both is veteran pilot Clark Maxwell, called back into battle from the private sector by his slightly sleazy former boss Jerry Stein when multiple forest fires stretch the resources of the Forest Service and threaten local populations. Clark's re-up with the service lands him in the orbit of feisty fellow smoke jumper Karen Jones, his longtime "fantasy pinup girl." Their mutual chemistry is undeniable, but nonstop firefighting-and, more important, Karen's hot-tempered husband, Trent-stand in the way of romance. Troubles in the air begin when a last-minute switch puts hotshot pilot Jeff Maze aboard the Douglas DC-6 originally earmarked for Clark. The wings break off the plane in flight, killing Jeff and his co-pilot instantly. Jeff's distraught girlfriend, Misty, holds some of the keys to the puzzle, which Clark determines to piece together. He suspects merely negligence, but when the same airborne fate nearly befalls pilot buddy Sam Littlefox, Clark concludes that it's sabotage. But by whom, and for what purpose?