Fasten your seat belts and prepare for takeoff. Jan Burke's FLIGHT
is a fast-paced thriller that will keep you on the edge of your
Many of Ms. Burke's readers are already familiar with the feisty
reporter Irene Kelly and her husband Frank Harriman. Frank is a
stubborn homicide detective with the Las Piernas Police Department.
This book is written from Frank's point of view and gives some
interesting new insights into not only the man but also his
relationships with his work and his wife.
In FLIGHT, Frank finds himself investigating three murders that
happened 10 years ago and the more recent death of another homicide
Burke begins her tale with the homicides of Trent Randolph and his
children. We see the first murder victim, Mr. Randolph, through the
eyes of his children, and it makes him more real to us. It also
makes the children more real, so when Amanda and ultimately Seth
are also victims of the killer it touches us and makes us vested in
the outcome of the story.
But, the biggest impact comes from getting a chance to meet
homicide detective Philip Lefebvre. We get to know the character as
a man. We see his relationship to Seth Randolph grow as the young
boy clings to life and as Lefebvre ventures into a tentative
romance. We get to see the exceptional talent of this detective as
he relentlessly investigates the Randolph murders --- even though
his investigation leads him to suspect corruption in his own
department, placing him in mortal danger.
Lefebvre is killed in a plane crash before solving the Randolph
murders, and his name becomes taboo throughout the entire
department. Lefebvre is blamed for young Seth Randolph's death and
is accused of being on the payroll of criminal entrepreneur Whitey
Frank Harriman is called to the scene of Lefebvre's crashed plane a
decade later and is assigned to reinvestigate the Randolph murders.
Frank discovers that detective Lefebvre also was murdered.
As his investigation continues, Frank comes to see the same
ugliness within his own department that Lefebvre encountered. Not
knowing whom he can trust, Frank keeps to himself, but he is
opening up a can of worms to secrets that a lot of people want
kept. Frank's constant companions become dangers as does the shadow
of Philip Lefebvre.
About two-thirds of the way through the book, it starts to take
some effort to keep all of the characters straight. But Ms. Burke's
deft writing style makes the work worthwhile. She introduces us to
a cast of characters, some of whom warm your heart, others who
sicken you, and all of whom make you want to keep reading. She also
connects us to the familiar by making Irene Kelly, her pets, and
neighbor, Jack, a comforting presence throughout.
FLIGHT has so much going on toward the end that you'll have trouble
putting the book down until you've finished it. Mystery readers
love the challenge of figuring out "who done it." But the ending of
FLIGHT provides such a delicious twist that I found myself cheering
for Jan Burke and hoping her next book will be finished soon.
Reviewed by Michelle Calabro Hubbard on January 22, 2011