From Publishers Weekly
Nance delivers another sturdy volume in a subgenre he has established almost singlehandedly, the aviation thriller. His latest (and 10th) adventure lacks the race-against-the-clock pulse of previous bestsellers Medusa's Child and Pandora's Clock, but offers parallel puzzles that gradually interlock as layers of deception are peeled away. The title refers to a new high-tech computer program, the brainchild of handsome nerd Dr. Ben Cole, designed to save planes having flight trouble. A test run over the Gulf of Alaska goes horribly awry, with nearly fatal consequences, shaking Cole's confidence and sending him back to the drawing board. Not far away, on the same day, veteran pilot Arlie Rosen inexplicably goes down in his private plane with his wife, Rachel, the only passenger. Daughter April and her best friend, Gracie, are relieved when Arlie and Rachel escape with their lives, until federal aviation officials begin probing the crash and threaten to take away Arlie's pilot's license. Jeopardizing her own new job as vice-president of Empress Cruise Lines, perky April doggedly investigates, determined to save her father from a fate he considers little worse than death. Both Ben's and April's probes lead them to Washington, but the merging of the plot threads doesn't occur until deep into the novel. Nance has removed the proverbial ticking bomb, but hasn't developed his characters fully enough to fill the resulting void. A pleasant surprise is the lack of romance between Ben and April (a near-inevitability in the genre). Instead, Gracie steps up to aid April in sleuthing to save dad. Their sister act provides some additional breezy energy in the last half. Nance offers his usual abundance of authentic aviation detail as well as a few final twists.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Skyhook, as Nance's protagonist Ben Cole explains, is a secret computer program designed to aid a plane having flight problems. In this author's latest thriller, destined to appear on best-seller lists like its predecessors, an aircraft that is testing the system runs into trouble over the Gulf of Alaska, and sabotage is suspected. At the same time, the mother and father of a cruise-line executive barely escape a midair collision over the gulf. April Rosen, the cruise-line boss, and Cole are being scrutinized by the Pentagon. People employed there and watching over the nation's security fear that these two might discover the secret that could lead to Skyhook's destruction, jeopardizing aviation routes across the U.S. Nance is a professional pilot with 30 years experience and 13,000 hours of flight time, and his novel, not surprisingly but certainly appropriately, is filled with "plane talk," including "stipstrewn," "altitude readout," "search pattern," "telemetry link," and "T-handle," to cite just a few terms. This, his tenth thriller, could well be made into a television miniseries, as were two of Nance's previous novels. Librarians can't ignore the demand potential for this one. George CohenCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved