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Death in the skies
Pilot Error - Bill Knox
Member Name: CPTDANIELS
Pilot Error - Bill Knox
Advantages: Easy to follow and quite addictive story
Disadvantages: Lacked depth and quite short
It's Monday morning and Chief Inspector Thane is suffering like most of his colleagues from the flu. He is alerted to a plane crash in his home patch of Glasgow in which both occupants of this light aircraft are killed. However before Thane even reaches the accident site he is advised there is more trouble afoot. As the man assigned at the hanger to look after the wreckage is attacked and knocked out as someone is looking for something left in the plane.
Thane quickly establishes that the two dead people worked together at the Travel agency Eurobreak Vacations. Plus importantly there are a number of witnesses who swear that the dead pilot Manual Francis was drunk, this is confirmed by a blood sample. But maybe this is just a tragic accident, but it doesn't explain why someone risked breaking into the hanger and what if anything did they find?
His curiosity is arousedfurther when he discovers Francis's friend Ben Cassill died a few weeks before after mysteriously falling out of his bedroom window. Thane decides these factors all need investigating as he is a man who doesn't believe in coincidences.
==My thoughts on this book:==
I thought this was a good crime thriller. It was shorter and less in-depth than I might have liked, but it had all the important attributes for a good Police investigation. My copy was only 185 pages long which meant I completed the story from start to finish in one day. Which I think shows this was an interesting story and one that easy to read. As I spent much of the day waiting for various hospital appointments and this was an ideal companion while I waited for them.
I have read several books from this author in the Thane and Moss series. Bill Knox was a Scottish writer and this popular series of stories account for 25 books. With this story being written in 1977, which in some senses does date the book. This is because it deals with a travel agency and they talk a lot about Spanish pesetas and cheap package holidays. That said it did not affect my enjoyment of the story and in a way it was quite quaint to think of all these previous European currencies.
I think that is one of the reasons I keep coming back to these stories, that I know roughly what I am going to get. Not a complex mystery, just a short but well thought out and well written piece of fiction. In which this now deceased author uses his knowledge of Scotland and crime reporting which he did for many years for various papers. I certainly would not say Knox is amongst my favourite writers but there is consistency in what he wrote and over the series of books I have got to know and like his lead characters.
This book was on sale at my local library and at just 50p I thought I couldn't go far wrong. I selected it partly because it formed part of the interesting series starring Thane and Moss. The other thing that tempted me with the title. I thought Pilot Error could be interpreted in a number of ways and I was keen to see what the writing had in mind.
So I checked out the summary of the story on the inside cover. This was a good length at three paragraphs long. Although having re-read it I do think the author gives a little too much of the story away. As I always think the summary should only talk about the key elements from the first chapter or two but this included details up to at least half the story. And while this more than wetted my appetite and felt I knew some of the things that where coming up because of it and it left less to surprise and impress me with the new developments in the story.
The thing I like about this series of stories is the story really starts from page one. No slow build up, you where straight into the action and that helps me immediately get into the story. And while I have never been to Glasgow I do feel with some excellent descriptions of some of its characters and its scenery both good and bad I have far better appreciation of the place. As a result of all this I have found this a strangely addicted series.
I found I enjoyed the way the story developed. As I had no real idea in what direction it would develop, and I liked this uncertainty. The author was full of surprises and I found the story had a good pace about it. With plenty of twists and turns and because the story was short there where no irrelevances, just a developing enquiry. And despite this you still had a little background on the characters and learnt more about their personalities through their private lives as well.
This was another story in which I did not know what the solution would be. The conclusion was fast paced and quite exciting. It was only then the answers where revealed and even then we needed a few pages at the end to have all the reasoning explained. This was successfully done and I had a real feeling of closure and all the loose ends in the story had been tied up.
The story contained a far amount of mystery and suspense, however these where not exploited to their potential because there where not enough characters within the story and I think the reason for this was the length of it, as to inject more characters you would have required a longer story. And while I would have personally welcomed this, it would have been different from the other books in the series and a change in style for the writer.
Chief Inspector Colin Thane and Detective Inspector Phil Moss are the two stars of this series. Although I did feel Moss played a lesser role in this story I was able to learn more about the Chief Inspector. What I really enjoy is the interplay between these two men not only when they are working on a case and the way they bounce ideas and theories off each other. They are both good characters and I like and respect the way they go about their work. Particularly the way some things because the understand each other properly don't need to be explained and they both know their respective roles in any investigation.
I think this crime thriller is ideal for anyone looking for a thriller that is not too deep. As the story is not as involved as it could be and could easily have been expanded intruding more twists to the story and a few additional characters. This would probably be a good book to take on holiday as it is easy to follow and doesn't tax the reader too much.
For me this was a good thriller and one I enjoyed despite the fact it was relatively short and lacked the kind of depth I would have appreciated. The story was well thought out throughout and was both well paced and had a few good and unexpected twists within it. For me this is an ideal read if you do not want a complex read and one that is a quick read ideal for a holiday or waiting at a hospital!!
Thanks for reading my review.
This review is published on both Ciao and Dooyoo under my user name.
© CPTDANIELS April 2012.
Summary: Enjoyable thriller