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Airframe: A Novel Paperback – March 22, 2011

3.9 out of 5 stars 738 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Cruising 35,000 feet above the earth, a twin-engine commercial jet encounters an accident that leaves 3 dead, 56 wounded, and the cabin in shambles. What happened? With a multi-billion-dollar company-saving deal on the line, Casey Singleton is sent by her hard-driving boss to uncover the mysterious circumstances that led to the disaster before more people die. But someone doesn't want her to find the truth. Airframe bristles with authentic information, technical jargon, and the command of detail Crichton's readers have come to expect. Check out Amazon.com's Airframe feature and read an excerpt from the book!

From Publishers Weekly

Like his role model, H.G. Wells, Crichton likes to moralize in his novels. In this slight, enjoyable thriller, the moral is the superficiality of TV, especially of its simplistic news coverage. Readers willing to overlook the irony of this message being broadcast by the man who created TV's top-rated drama (E.R.) will marvel again at Crichton's uncanny commercial instincts. The event that launches the story, conceived long before TWA Flight 800's last takeoff, is an airline disaster. Why did a passenger plane "porpoise"-pitch and dive repeatedly-enroute from Hong Kong to Denver, killing four and injuring 56? That's what Casey Singleton, v-p for quality assurance for Norton Aircraft, has to find out fast. If Norton's design is to blame, its imminent deal with China may collapse, and the huge company along with it. With Casey as his unsubtle focus-she's one of the few Crichton heroines, an all-American gal who's more plot device than character-Crichton works readers through a brisk course in airline mechanics and safety. The accretion of technical detail, though fascinating, makes for initially slow reading that speeds up only fitfully when Casey is menaced by what seem to be union men angry over the Chinese deal. But as she uncovers numerous anomalies about the accident, and as high corporate intrigue and a ratings-hungry TV news team enter the picture, the plot complicates and suspense rises, peaking high above the earth in an exciting re-creation of the flight. It's possible that Crichton has invented a new subgenre here-the industrial thriller-despite elements (video-generated clues, for one) recycled from his earlier work. It's certain that, while this is no Jurassic Park, he's concocted another slick, bestselling, cinema-ready entertainment. 2,000,000 first printing; Literary Guild main selection; film rights sold to Disney for a reported $8-$10 million; simultaneous large-print edition and Random House audio and CD editions.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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The latest book club pick from Oprah
"The Underground Railroad" by Colson Whitehead is a magnificent novel chronicling a young slave's adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South. See more

Product Details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; Reprint edition (March 22, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345526775
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345526779
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.1 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (738 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #147,661 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
I am constantly amazed by the breadth of Michael Crichton `s interests and by his remarkable skill in researching his subjects. I also find his indirectly expressed issues of more than passing significance. In Jurassic Park the issue is the arrogance of science in its manipulation of nature and the tendency of Western science to eschew accountability for the spillover costs to society when things go wrong. Airframe is another example of it. Here the issue of the freedom of speech and the lack of accountability of the media, particularly television news, is explored. In a society that has come to stress individual rights, little emphasis has been placed on individual responsibility. In order to be a functional culture, there has to be a balance of both rights and responsibilities. Airframe makes this abundantly clear.
As so often with Crichton's central characters, a uniquely placed individual must come to grips with the inherent difficulties of fighting an uphill battle against society's inertia. The heroine, Casey Singleton, is given the task of deciding how a disasterous air accident happened before a crucial business deal collapses and takes the company she works for and all of its employees down with it. It is by no means clear what is taking place, and ultimately she must come to trust her own personal interpretation of events to bring things to a head.
The detail is impressive. The characters are well developed and real. The story is riveting and fast paced. A thoroughly enjoyable book.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is absolutely my favourite book by Michael Crichton. He may have a medical degree, but he writes about journalism, the media and politics with much more insight than the condescending attitudes of his scientist characters. This book is Crichton at his best--backed up, as ever, by extensive research into the topic, a cast of hugely realistic characters to love and love to hate, and, of course, an intriguing mystery thrown in to boot. Casey Singleton is a classic Crichton heroine--world-weary, wise, and an expert in her field, she reminds me of Sarah Harding from "The Lost World", except Casey has a REAL job. The realism of the plot is one of the main factors in making this one of Crichton's best books--all of this could really happen. I've seen other reviewers bellyache about the mundaneness of the final solution to the aircrash, but isn't that the most chilling note to the whole plot? Just how easily all this chaos was caused? Sleazy journalists, wise colleagues, a comical team of experts called in to exammine the aircraft, and at the centre of it all Casey Singleton, trying to save the company and at the same time trying to stop herself becoming the scapegoat to be sacrificed to the media: for me, this makes a brilliant novel. The final pages will blur by--and when you sit back with a sigh of relief, the underplayed conclusion to this book behind you, there is the final message: Don't believe everything you read in the papers. Well, I said it was realistically underplayed, didn't I?
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
This was a very enjoyable novel. The trademark punchy Crichton opening scene, around which the entire story revolves , is incredibly exciting. You'll also get a concentrated class in aviation acronyms. And the thoroughly satisfying "getting even" scene, toward the end, is especially tasty. Once again Mr Crichton gives you the tools to figure out the final revelation, but it will still knock you sideways, because I don't think you'll figure it out. The science is fine, and digestible. Once you get into the swing of things (acronym-wise) even the aircraft reports get semi-discernable, and pleasing. I highly recommend this book.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
The inner workings of this book are fantastic. Michael Crichton puts us into the Norton Aircraft facilities, with all the political goings on, the backstabbing, the wolves at the gate and now...an air disaster.
As well as entertaining us, Crichton provides with an education in Public Relations and how the investigative journalism doesn't care about the truth, unless it suits their entertainment needs (one example is the DC-10 story he puts in).
I liked the main character who is always on the edge of losing her job. She has a tightrope the size of Dental Floss to work on and timelines that are impossible to meet. That, and the fact that her superiors want her to fail. It was worth the price of the book just to see how she would escape the tomb that others had thrown her in.
The book is chopped up into days (she has 7 days to figure out what caused a near-fatal problem that caused 3 deaths on a flight.) and that provides good suspense and closure as each section ends.
I recommend this book to anyone. It is a good read and one of Crichton's best books.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Wow, now that's what I call a good, quick read. Michael Crichton just never lets you put down the book. At the end of almost every chapter, he leaves you with a cliffhanger just making you want to turn the page. Airframe was no exception. Airframe is about a commercial airliner and its internal happenings. Casey Singleton, the newly appointed QA director for the builder of the plane, gets the job just in time. En route from Hong Kong to Denver one of her company planes all the sudden jerks out of control. Does TWA Flight 800 ring a bell? Casey must investigate to find out why the plane mysteriously did so and in doing so killed several and injured many others. She encounters many obstacles along the way and has to do and say some things that she wouldn't normally. Overall all, I thought that Airframe was a very good book. I would recommend it to anyone over the age of 15. If you really want a rush, read it while flying on a plane. That should at least double the value of reading it.
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