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Fly by Night
Ward Larsen

November 1, 2011 / 978-1608090297

Reviewed by Dennis Collins

It’s no coincidence that Franklin, Bates, and Noble Airline, affectionately known as “Fly By Night Airline” was formed shortly after the disappearance of a top secret United States military drone over the Sudanese desert in Africa’s horn. Fly By Night is the sole occupant of a remote airfield. Stories circulating in international intelligence circles suggest that the missing drone may have crash landed in the desert, been recovered, and is now housed in a secure hanger owned by the fledgling airline.

When one of FBN’s old DC-3 cargo planes is reported to have crashed in or near the Red Sea, the International Civil Aviation Organization is called upon to investigate. The CIA seizes the opportunity to sneak in a hand-picked trouble shooter as the official investigator. “Jammer” Davis, former fighter pilot and recently retired NTSB accident investigator, will be the man. Davis is known as an unorthodox loner who uses questionable methods but regularly gets extraordinary results. He has a reputation for coloring outside the lines and almost always improvising.

On his arrival in Sudan, Davis is greeted by a trio of thieves who try to lure him into a trap but he’s able to turn the tables on them. The situation sets the tone for his visit and the tension never subsides.

Jammer’s primary mission is to determine if the missing drone is actually in the hands of people with questionable motives, but he must make his cover convincing by at least going through the motions of investigating the crash of the cargo plane. He suspects that the disappearance of the drone and the plane crash could be related and that clues to connect the two could be found in the wreckage of the airplane which all radar data tells him rests at the bottom of the Red Sea.

But what about the drone? Were there some sinister plans for that? If it were just a matter of some third world government holding it for ransom, surely there would have been some contact and demands by now. If the craft was not too seriously damaged, it could be airworthy. Drones themselves are not complicated craft, it’s the sophisticated guidance systems that make them dangerous.

The man in charge of the airline is a disturbing Imam who goes by the name of Rafiq Khoury, a man who Jammer sees as a person capable of sinister motives.

Author Ward Larsen has one of those lyrical voices that keeps the story moving and entertaining. His own background as a fighter jet pilot comes through in his description of the aerial scenes as well as the general information about flight and all the hardware that finds its way through the skies. I loved this book.

Reviews of other titles by this author

The Perfect Assassin
Fly by Night
Stealing Trinity
The Perfect Assassin / Assassin’s Game

Reviewer & Columnist Dennis Collins is the author of Turn Left at September, The Unreal McCoy, and The First Domino
Reviewed 2011
© 2011