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Skyhook (Nance, John J) Hardcover

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Product Details

  • Series: Nance, John J
  • Hardcover: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Putnam Adult (March 31, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399149805
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399149801
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.3 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,111,924 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

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.

From Booklist

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 Cohen
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

More About the Author

John J. Nance, aviation analyst for ABC News and a familiar face on Good Morning America, is the author of several bestselling novels including Fire Flight, Skyhook, Turbulence, and Orbit. Two of his novels, Pandora's Clock and Medusa's Child, have been made into highly successful television miniseries. A lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Air Force Reserve, Nance is a decorated pilot veteran of Vietnam and Operations Desert Storm/Desert Shield. He lives in Washington State.

Customer Reviews

3.1 out of 5 stars
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See all 16 customer reviews
Held my interest from cover to cover.
Carol L. Riegel
Dialogue is stilted and more often than not used as a forum for the author to complain about his dislike of slang.
Kara J. Jorges
For this one, I couldn't remember what was happening less than a week after I read it.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By hang10web on December 18, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This was very slow to start for me, and as the book progressed from the cockpit, to the Pentagon, to the ocean, to the courtroom, to the White House I kept thinking "So what?"
Its a little implausable that a pilot who "just happens" to be flying in a top secret military test zone gets wrapped up in the plot they way he does, and that it gets elevated to the level it does - just for the sake of reinstating his pilot's license?
Pretty far fetched in terms of the story, but I enjoyed the technical side of the plot - as flawed as it was.
A decent read, but I never really did buy in...
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By John W. Bates on May 19, 2003
Format: Hardcover
John Nance has given us several lawyer/aviation stories, beginning with the excellent Pandora's Clock about disease spreading quickly worldwide through airline travel (SARS anyone?). Many of his books have been suspenseful and gripping. Some have not been as good as others. Skyhook, unfortunately, tends more to the latter than the former. The first half is a very slow read, and I came close several times to putting it down. I persevered, however, and was satisfied at the end.
This book is more lawyer than aviation, and the protagonist is neither. April Jensen is a cruise line executive based in Vancouver. Her best friend and almost-sister is a young, rising lawyer with a prestigious Seattle firm. Her father is an airline captain who owns a restored, made into a recreational vehicle, WWII flying boat. When her parents disappear while flying in Alaskan waters, April practically has to force authorities to make a search. When they find her parents afloat in a life raft nearly dead from exposure, her pressure appears to have been justified. Then a belligerent FAA inspector accuses her father of all sorts of violations, including drinking, and gets his license revoked. This is serious, because flying is not only his occupation, it is his life. The lawyer friend becomes involved to try to save his career.
Meanwhile, there is a secret Air Force research project going on, to create the computer software and links to enable a ground-based pilot to take control of a plane in flight, ostensibly so that a plane with incapacitated pilots can be landed safely. The civilian applications post 911 are obvious, but not stated until later. The project is in trouble, and the chief software developer is having real concerns about sabotage. These two plots just avoid a midair collision, and merge into a common trajectory, with a smooth three-point landing. You may have to buckle your seat belt to get to the ending, but on the whole, this is a good read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By C.A. Wiles on February 10, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Another enticing reader by aviation journeyman, John J. Nance, is scripted against the format of that ever-present military/industrial complex we are in the grip of wherein an improbable plane accident occurs. The establishment firmly resists an investigative intrusion into the unthinkable but the author uses deft characterization to sort myriad personal complexities into not only the probable but the possible.
The occasional use of a quirky feline personage, Schroedinger, who gets impatient with loss of priorities by the human clan, will foster recall of similar relationships by readers who are owned by a cat lends a now-and-then break from the mind-numbing attention this book of suspenseful travail demands. Another Keeper!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Konrad Kern VINE VOICE on April 27, 2003
Format: Hardcover
A top-secret computer program is on the verge of going live--but could wreak havoc on the nation's aviation routines--in this timely new thriller.
I think Skyhook is one of Nance's best works yet. His knowledge in the airline field, as well as computers and the law, make this a well rounded thriller that should please all of Nances' fans.
Highly recommended.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Kara J. Jorges VINE VOICE on August 11, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
During the top-secret testing of a new remote flight control box, something goes horribly wrong, and a Gulfstream nearly crashes. At the same time and, obviously in the same airspace, 747 captain Arlie Rosen flies his Albatross into trouble. Arlie, using visual flight control, flies into a cloud bank where he throws a propeller blade and crashes. He and his wife Rachel are rescued, but Arlie gets his pilot's license revoked by an overzealous FAA inspector. This sends his daughter April and family friend Gracie on a campaign to clear Arlie's name. They are met with the usual stonewall of bureaucracy, with a behind-the-scenes cover-up at work, as well.

Even though we were aboard the Gulfstream when we know it took Arlie Rosen's Albatross out of the sky, with the added bonus of sitting in with the head software engineer while he worried over the failing program that caused the crash, the book goes round and round, after round, between the government brass, the Rosen clan, and the software engineer as they slowly and laboriously figure out what was obvious to us by the end of Chapter One.

When the resolution finally drags itself to the party, everything gets tidily tied up, all the nice guys win and get promoted, and there are smiles all around.

With some fun, likeable characters, snappy dialogue, and a believable story line, this could have been a decent book. As it was, I couldn't make myself warm to anybody. The Rosens lived a cushy existence and April had obviously never had a bad day in her charmed life. At 25, she's a high-paid vice president at a cruise line and can just walk away from her job without a thought. Nobody at work minds, though, because she's such an asset to the company. She lives in a high-rise condo.
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