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Airframe Kindle Edition

3.8 out of 5 stars 491 customer reviews

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Length: 448 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled

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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'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.

Product Details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 4954 KB
  • Print Length: 448 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0345402871
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; 1st trade ed edition (Jan. 18 2001)
  • Sold by: Random House Canada, Incorp.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000FC1GHO
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars 491 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #89,510 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I remember having postponed the reading of this book, as a result of a comment by a passenger on a flight from Cagliari to London, which advised me against it before flying.
At the moment I thought it would be really disturbing, but now, after reading it, I realise that it did exactly the opposite effect to me.
We are undoubtedly facing a great thriller, which narrates about a strange plane crash and follows all investigations into its causes, with a lot of interference by the media, which tend to place greater emphasis as always to the sensational appearance of the matter, rather than the truth, in an absolutely ruthless way, enough to bring down a large company. Everything on the basis of assumptions, without any evidence.
In another book Crichton had addressed not so much veiled criticism on the bad tendency to spread theories with little proof in order to create sensation and fear. I'm talking about "State of Fear", but it came ten years after this one.
The annoyance and anger provoked in the reader is almost the same, although in "Airframe" it refers to a subject, that of the people who work in the airline business, which does not affect us closely. But now, thanks to the skill of the author and the obvious extensive research done before writing the book, we get to know a fascinating world that is continually moving in front of our eyes (or should I say over our heads) and that we almost take for granted, without understanding its enormous complexity.
Reading this book, we learn how airplanes fly, how they are made, all professionals who are behind their construction, but also understand how they are extremely safe.
And, when you get to understand something, it is rather difficult to get really scared.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
While I cannot fault Crichton's story telling ability and his pacing in what is supposed to be a techno-thriller, I found myself being disappointed by the 'techno' part of it, as this is where anyone who specializes in aeronautics will find fault with this novel. I do not know who advised Crichton on the technical aspects, but 'nobody at all' would seem like a plausible answer. The portrayal of Flight Data Recorder (the famed 'black box') as being unreliable is massively wrong; in my career, I must have decoded hundreds of flights, and never seen a single bit being out of whack. Not only that, but I have not noticed any event where the embedded fault correction logic was actually needed to recover a parameter. Further, Crichton depicts the FDR as recording totally ridiculous data, like the position of the wings relative to the fuselage, so that a playback with the alleged faulty data would show them flying on their on a fair distance from the rest of the aircraft! Since the FDR is central to the story, the whole novel collapses into insignificance because of it.
If one does not know about aerospace, most of the techno babble details will be 'word candy' that can be overlooked, but for anyone who works in the field, how wrong those are would be a major distraction and annoyance. And disappointment.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
AIRFRAME is another mystery on Crichton's growing list. The daughter in this tale shouts, "Oh, Mom, I missed you!" Which is what the reader will also echo in his or her search for character in this novel. When you write film scripts, which this essentially is, you leave it up to Sharon Stone to provide the elements of character. The heroine, Casey, in this story is one of the author's chess pieces, a woman who dumps her daughter off on her ex husband and engages in zipless sex while she stumbles her way to solving the mystery of the why an airplane dove out of control.
Crichton does put some nice messages out there. He shows how TV news show producers and anchormen become prostitutes to their own stories. He displays the infighting that goes on between corporate bosses and their wannabe underlings. He demonstrates how corporations play footsie with their big customers. So what if he does pass off film scripts as novels, Hollywood is where the money is. The reader can't have everything.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I'm not real sure why this book has never been made into a movie. It is Crichton at his best-- detailed, well plotted, and well written-- and while I know it was a best seller when it came out, it just never seemed to garner the attention his more sci fi oriented books have.
A near disaster in the air leaves three people dead and nearly three dozen injured. Casey Singleton is sent by her hard-driving boss to uncover the mysterious circumstances that led to the disaster before more people die. But, as you might expect, someone doesn't want her to find the answers she is looking for and soon she is risking her life to unravel the mystery.
While Crichton has featured strong women in other books, Casey Singleton is, I believe, the first to actually be the lead character in the book. And she is truly a great character! More than just solving the mystery rides in her shoulders, the fate of the company she works for may depend on whether she can solve the mystery before someone sees to it that she is no longer around to try to sort things out.
Crichton probably does a better job of explaining the inner working of airliner manufacturing and the airline industry itself than most textbooks. Well there are echoes of "Disclosure" here, Crichton ably demonstrates that the most entertaining intrigue is corporate intrigue. A truly superior novel.
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