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5.0 out of 5 stars A Real Page-Turner
When I first heard of this novel, the subject matter sounded uninteresting to me. Only after a friend strongly recommended it did I give it any consideration at all. And even then, I waited until there were no other books on my "to read" list before buying a copy. Well, I wish I hadn't waited so long. Airframe is a great book!
Michael Crichton brings...
Published on Aug. 31 2003 by Amazon Customer

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3.0 out of 5 stars You'll at least be more attentive next time you fly!
A trans-Pacific flight from Hong Kong encounters severe turbulence leaving several passengers dead and many more injured. Casey Singleton, who is in charge of Quality Control for the airplane manufacturer, is assigned to head the internal investigation into what went wrong. But it soon becomes apparent that someone doesn't want her to figure out what happened. Add to...
Published on Dec 15 2003 by J. Green


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4.0 out of 5 stars MOVING THE CHESS PIECES, July 18 2004
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This review is from: Airframe (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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4.0 out of 5 stars Underrated by Most--One of My Favorites by Crichton, Jan. 23 2004
By 
James Sadler (Plano, TX United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Airframe (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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3.0 out of 5 stars You'll at least be more attentive next time you fly!, Dec 15 2003
By 
J. Green (Los Angeles, California) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Airframe (Hardcover)
A trans-Pacific flight from Hong Kong encounters severe turbulence leaving several passengers dead and many more injured. Casey Singleton, who is in charge of Quality Control for the airplane manufacturer, is assigned to head the internal investigation into what went wrong. But it soon becomes apparent that someone doesn't want her to figure out what happened. Add to it a labor dispute, and not only is the future of the company in jeopardy, but Casey's life as well.
"Airframe" offers an amazing and interesting insight into several industries. I learned some very interesting things about how the airplanes are made and the tests and regulations required. While reading it I even felt a bit uneasy about flying, and found that I paid a lot more attention to the operations of the jet the next time I flew. But not only was the book informative (for a work of fiction, anyway), but it was also a lot of fun to read. Maybe not my favorite Crichton book, but I really enjoyed it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Real Page-Turner, Aug. 31 2003
By 
This review is from: Airframe (Mass Market Paperback)
When I first heard of this novel, the subject matter sounded uninteresting to me. Only after a friend strongly recommended it did I give it any consideration at all. And even then, I waited until there were no other books on my "to read" list before buying a copy. Well, I wish I hadn't waited so long. Airframe is a great book!
Michael Crichton brings his usual cinematic writing style to Airframe, reinforcing a suspenseful story with a level of technical detail that brings depth and additional interest to the events that take place. And while the book is primarily focused on an investigation into an airplace accident, which may sound dry and uninteresting, the character interactions and intrigue are more than enough to keep the story moving at a steady pace. In fact, there was never a point where I felt the momentum lull.
As an added plus, I particularly enjoyed Crichton's portrayal of the news media. I felt that his unforgiving commentary on the motives and methods of television "news" programs was dead on, and in fact has become even more accurate in the years since he wrote this novel.
Kudos to Crichton for this one - I would recommend that anyone read Airframe, and do so before they ruin it by turning it into a movie!
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Real Page-Turner, Aug. 31 2003
By 
This review is from: Airframe (Mass Market Paperback)
When I first heard of this novel, the subject matter sounded uninteresting to me. Only after a friend strongly recommended it did I give it any consideration at all. And even then, I waited until there were no other books on my "to read" list before buying a copy. Well, I wish I hadn't waited so long. Airframe is a great book!
Michael Crichton brings his usual cinematic writing style to Airframe, reinforcing a suspenseful story with a level of technical detail that brings depth and additional interest to the events that take place. And while the book is primarily focused on an investigation into an airplace accident, which may sound dry and uninteresting, the character interactions and intrigue are more than enough to keep the story moving at a steady pace. In fact, there was never a point where I felt the momentum lull.
As an added plus, I particularly enjoyed Crichton's portrayal of the news media. I felt that his unforgiving commentary on the motives and methods of television "news" programs was dead on, and in fact has become even more accurate in the years since he wrote this novel.
Kudos to Crichton for this one - I would recommend that anyone read Airframe, and do so before they ruin it by turning it into a movie!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Smooth Sailing, Aug. 11 2003
By 
Daniel Vullo "BRAIN CANDYMAN" (Weehawken, Nj United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Airframe (Mass Market Paperback)
Like a good neighbor, Michael Critchen is there. When you want to read a no hassle guaranteed good book, M.C.'S airframe is a book that can certainly share that tile along with many of his other novels. Airframe is as slick moving and as aerodynamic as one of planes described in his novel.
The story involves a plane that has an in air accident, people are hurt and questions need to be answered or heads will roll. Critchen takes a technical subject and makes it easy to follow. You will learn alot about the airplane industry, deregulation drawbacks, corrupt business men, union troubles and immoral reporters. Critchen pulls no punches on touchy subjects and makes it really entertaining. The last 100 pages read like a roller coaster ride, loops and all.
In a nutshell, an accident in the air causes many to be hurt. Now the question is cast: Is the plane unsafe? What caused the accident? Will this accident prevent a potentially large contract from being obtained? Who or what will prevent it? Critchen's heroin Casey, must put her reputation on the line as the airplane quality assurance rep, and dig through the mass of technical facts, bureaucracy and overzealous reporters. What will happen next you'll need to read to find out.
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2.0 out of 5 stars over-dramatic and unconvincing, July 15 2003
This review is from: Airframe (Mass Market Paperback)
"Airframe" is meant to be topical: full of details and praised for being "ripped from the headlines" and "plausibly detailed". The Rotten Report knows better - topical novels are less cutting-edge than cut-and-paste of existing news stories. The result is less realistic than apparently realistic, which is just realistic enough to convince readers that a slim understanding of aviation will back up the slim plot.
"Airframe" centers on a fictitious airliner - the Norton N-22, a marvel of efficiency and safety. Popular opinion shifts when an N-22 encounters severe turbulence - killing three and injuring scores more. The media - as opposed to their practice in more recent disasters - blame Norton rather than the airlines (remember the hype over low-cost outfits like "ValueJet" and bloated dinosaurs like Pan-Am and TWA, and remember all of those "US-scare" jokes?), turning Norton into a target for ambitious reporters, "bottom-feeding" lawyers and other unethical, uninformed and non-credentialed "experts". "Airframe" could have been a great novel with which to explore issues like products liability, airlines and the media, but Crichton proves as prone as his media villains to unconvincingly sexing up the story. The N-22 becomes beset by every conceivable unethical character in America, sharing nothing more in common than greed and ignorance. Norton's Aero experts are his heroes, selflessly protecting aviation from the Knights of the Round Tort.
Using a fictitious story that makes no secret of its sympathies, Crichton rails against the media's uninformed depictions of the aviation industry, citing the history of the DC-10' - which was temporarily grounded following a string of accidents and bad press in the 1970's - as an example. Though DC-10s returned to fly, Crichton insists that McDonnell never sold another. I lived near an airport until '98 and routinely saw DC-10's in flight until they were phased out recently - nearly two decades after their "grounding" and about the same time as its competitor, the L-1011, a plane the DC-10 outsold. I even flew a DC-10 on a major airline in 1994 - I can't remember when I last flew an L-1011. (The DC-10 was more likely a victim - if at all - of airline deregulation, which created many airlines flying short routes with small planes like the 737, now one of commercial aviation's most popular jets; Strangely Crichton never explains how maligned MacDonnell managed to weather the DC-10 crisis enough to continue selling other planes and even try their hand at the MD-11, a next-generation jumbo jet.) Crichton sticks to his version of the DC-10 story so uncritically, it's almost impossible to take at face value. "Airframe" begins with a quote by a veteran journalist who warns against giving respectability to the uninformed, which does less to make Crichton's points than seize the moral high-ground of debate. Certainly "Airframe"'s details don't betray any more knowledge of aviation than any other layman who subscribes to "Aviation Week".
Like a poorly designed aircraft, "Airframe" never gets off the ground - Crichton quickly lets you know that he's less interested in aviation than the media's sway over America...on any subject. In fact, "Airframe" is so removed from actually flying planes, that it could have been written about anything - choose your widget, and you've got a book. "Airframe" might as well have originated as a novel about mopeds or cars until TWA 800 or ValueJet made it a more marketable to add chapters and use find/replace to swap small, wheeled vehicles for jets. The heroes of "Airframe" - experts involved in designing and building airplanes - are almost as removed from flying as the villains. Though he pays lip-service to the wisdom of pilots (check that other quote before the first page) Crichton either won't or can't make a pilot one of his main characters, and Crichton's aero-engineers - N-22 partisans who know airplanes - are kept around only to add the veneer of scientific correctness to his screed against the uninformed media. This is not Craig Thomas' "A Different War", where the hero redeems the suspected airliner by flying it. The flight in one simple chapter of that book is enough to banish any hint of mopeds. Crichton's holds airliners in a perspective no different from that of the dim laymen he populates his books with - as vehicles. Alas again that the plot heaps scorn on the media even though corporate espionage has more to do with Norton's problems. Despite often using "corporate" as synonymous with "sinister", "Airframe" is at best a flaccid indictment against corporations, let alone the media.
Knowing he lacks enough plot to remind readers (and perhaps himself) that "Airframe" is about something exotic and beyond his grasp, Crichton falls back on his usual suspects - corporate intrigue, as if he can keep things going with a dash of "Rising Sun" and "Disclosure". When the plucky heroine, a Norton exec, wants to clear the N-22, she's saddled with an unwanted intern (and likely a corporate spy) named Bob Richman. As far as Crichton is concerned, Richman is dead-meat the minute he appears: if his blue-chip upbringing, top-flight education, and high-priced (and foreign! ) car aren't enough warning, his youth makes Richman enemy number-one (not that he does anything apparently evil, but Crichton's villains are seldom as evil as ambitioned, arrogant or just unlikable). At first, I expected a surprise - make a hero out of the sleazy ivy-leaguer and confound readers primed for the Richman's fall. Instead, "Airframe" remains boldly unsurprising (the brat's name is the perfect example - I guess "Richboy" would have been too obvious), and there isn't a thrill to be had. Throw in a "twist" ending that's blatantly lifted from a true incident that the media responsibly reported, and you've got a book that deserves to be grounded - for good. If you've got to read Crichton, read the first Jurassic, the Andromeda Strain or Sphere. If you've got to read about flying, pick up Coonts or Craig Thomas.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Educational AND Exciting, July 3 2003
By 
Chad Shew (Ajax, On Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Airframe (Mass Market Paperback)
Michael Crichton is one of my favourite authors because of how much you can learn from all the deatils he includes. This book definately displays his ability to demonstrate an understanding of something technical. The details of all the parts of the planes are described in great detail, and this only adds to the pleasure gained from reading this book. Some people say it is too much, but it really depends on the reader. I hardly knew anything about airplanes before reading this book, and i can say i gained a substantial amount of knowledge by the end. This book also focuses on news reporters and the media, which IMO is another reason to buy this book. The characters seemed very realistic as well as thier reactions to events. I was surprised to see that airframe was fast paced and involved a huge amount of plot twists. It really goes into the airplane industry and shows how one incident can affect so many people. This book is informative, yet exciting and surprising. It is a great read, you will never think of the media and airplanes the same way!
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3.0 out of 5 stars More Than You Ever Wanted to Know About Commercial Airplanes, June 19 2003
By 
Stephen J. Carlson (Overland Park, Kansas United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Airframe (Mass Market Paperback)
Don't get me wrong, this book was good and exciting, but some of the bits seem like reading a technical airplane book. Fortunately I didn't mind it, Crichton has a way of making it usually very interesting. To me, it seemed there was a lack of suspense, but the book was still interesting; it was very much like reading a great magazine article about commercial airframes with a loose plot tied in to make it more interesting.
An airplane has crashed, killing three people and injuring pretty much everyone else. Casey Singleton, the VP of Quality Assurance at Norton Aircraft, must help the team figure out what went wrong by the end of the week or the company will miss an airplane deal with Bejing that will save the company. Not to give anything away, I will say that there are some fairly-unpredictable plot turns at the end.
Another thing that bothers me about this book is the countless characters and acronyms in the book. It takes awhile before I started to remember who all the nonessential characters were and since airplanes are so technical-like, there is a lot of industry jargon and acronyms thrown in to the mix.
I had mixed feelings about this book. It was enjoyable to read, but I never really felt there was any real suspense. However, this book is great if you are interested in technical things, especially airplanes.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Review of Michael Crichton's Airframe, June 18 2003
By 
Alan V. Dunkin (Richardson, Texas USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Airframe (Mass Market Paperback)
Airframe, like many other Michael Crichton novels, deals with the impact of technology on society. In airframe, however, the perils of technology actually derive from the impact of television media, while being informative and maybe a little condescending about the wisdom and perils of modern air travel. Also like his other novels, Airframe has a fairly likeable protagonist (this time, a female by the name of Casey Singleton), a suspenseful plot yanked along by a looming deadline, high technology, a seemingly greedy and/or malevolent big business, a huge business decision that would make or break everyone, and a cast of seemingly moronic second tier characters.
Actually Airframe resembles Disclosure in many ways (except the whole sexual harassment thing), which is not necessarily a bad thing, though is somewhat predictable ´¿ you´¿ll find that in portions of the novel apparently nothing ever really happens, and the investigation really goes nowhere (to the exasperation of one of the characters).
Still, Mr. Crichton maintains more than what is needed to keep the reader to not stop turning the pages. The plot, which occurs early on a Monday morning, involves a passenger aircraft over the Pacific that has an ´¿incident,´¿ for lack of a better term. Several people end up dying, and many more are injured. Norton Aircraft manufactures the aircraft, where Casey Singleton is the Quality Assurance representative for the company´¿s Incident Response Team - responsible for figuring out what happens on any kind of incidents regarding Norton planes. The incident needs to be resolved by the coming Friday, as there is talk of a company-making (or breaking) deal with China to be solidified since then. Any bad publicity could kill the deal.
The story quickly goes into the fast-paced investigative mode as Casey and the various members of the Incident Response Team first unravel, than uncover why the aircraft did what it did and the discrepancies in crew testimony. Along the way Mr. Crichton, through a convenient new assistant, lays out the concept of aircraft and safety, the FAA, deregulation, media ignorance, black boxes, accident investigation, and practically everything else you wanted to know.
By the middle of the week a television news magazine similar to 60 Minutes jumps on the story when a video taken by a passenger during the incident suddenly airs on CNN. The producer, who builds, researches, and pushes the stories in television news organizations, is a young up-and-coming woman who right off the bat comes off as one of Mr. Crichton´¿s antagonist morons (Casey´¿s assistant, anti-Norton ´¿watchdogs,´¿ various Norton executives, and all kinds of union workers are the others) that you wouldn´¿t mind slapping after five minutes of conversation. Of course, the media practically gets everything wrong, through which Casey has to patiently explain everything (to the reader), as the investigation builds to ´¿ well, not a whole lot as it turns out ´¿ and then the mystery is uncovered through a semi-dramatic ending.
It´¿s as if Mr. Crichton didn´¿t really know how to end the book, and once you understand the cause behind the incident, you´¿d think there´¿s no way it could have been like that. Unfortunately, aircraft accidents have happened in much simpler ways, but you wish that Mr. Crichton could have been a little more inventive. There aren´¿t too many interesting characters, and the rest are unsympathetic at best. I find it hard to believe union workers would act like that, but again I suppose there is precedent.
Airframe is a good book that uses Mr. Crichton´¿s patented dramatic pacing and technology (media) gone amok, but really concludes weakly, though it pretty much solves everything ´¿ just like Disclosure. Is that good or bad?
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Airframe: A Novel
Airframe: A Novel by Michael Crichton (Paperback - March 22 2011)
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