Flight Mass Market Paperback – Apr 1 2002
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Jan Burke is best known as the author who gave life to Irene Kelly, the sassy, slightly hard-edged southern California journalist with a Pandoran penchant for getting herself into sticky situations. Her latest novel, however, perches adroitly on a tangential narrative branch: Burke focuses on Kelly's husband, Las Piernas Detective Frank Harriman, and in doing so turns her narrative color wheel several notches to the darker side.
Flight is really the story of two men, Harriman and Philip Lefebvre. Ten years ago, when businessman Trent Randolph and his daughter were murdered, Lefebvre was the officer in charge of the case. Moody and isolated, he became not only investigator but guardian angel to Randolph's young son Seth, left clinging to life after the attack. His colleagues and the community were convinced Whitey Dane, a local mobster with grand ambitions, was behind the murders, but when Seth was killed in his hospital bed and both Lefebvre and all the evidence against Dane disappeared, the department was left reeling in the wake of crooked-cop iniquity.
But now Lefebvre's apparently sabotaged plane has been discovered in the mountains, along with his bones. Frank Harriman must ease through a maze of anger and recrimination as he pursues the possibility of Lefebvre's innocence. But if this cop was innocent, that means another one wasn't--and that individual will stop at nothing to protect his guilty secret.
The novel's opening chapters, which place the original murders in stark relief and reveal the trap slowly closing around Lefebvre, are as good as anything Burke has written--maybe better. Their intensity is difficult to match, but Harriman's investigation still has plenty of surprises, including a nifty twist at the very end. Flight's solid writing, deftly nuanced relationships, and delicate bad-guy balance between chilling and camp are as on target here as elsewhere. Here's to Irene and Frank; long may they take turns at the wheel. --Kelly Flynn --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Like Burke's Edgar-winning Bones (1999), this ambitious, if overlong, suspense novel focuses on an intense search for a pathological killer. In Las Piernas, Calif., newspaper reporter Irene Kelly, Burke's series heroine, takes backseat to her husband, prickly, tenacious homicide detective Frank Harriman. Ten years earlier, when brilliant police detective Philip Lefebvre disappeared in the middle of a triple homicide investigation, the cops believed he'd sold out to the suspected killer, drug lord Whitey Dane. When Lefebvre's 10-year-old corpse and sabotaged airplane are found in the San Bernadino Mountains, Frank reopens the case, suspecting that both Lefebvre and Dane were wrongly accused. Irene knew Lefebvre, but, except for a clunky plot device that places her in peril at the finale, this is Frank's book, as he exactingly unearths new evidence and uncovers a possible cover-up. Burke delves into the mind of the real murderer, still at large and unsuspected. The reader gradually identifies this frightening individual, but waits in suspense too long for Frank to do likewise. Burke's strength is her understanding of personal relationships and motivation, plus the memorable characters she creates, notably the murderer, who is so crazy he passes for sane. The author's thorough research is praiseworthy but it often slows down the story, and she isn't a great stylist. Unfortunately, that combination produces a book that takes too many pages to come to the point. Agent, Lowenstein-Morel. (Mar. 6)Forecast: The publisher is behind this title in a big way, with a 50,000 first printing and a 17-city author tour, and Burke's shelf-full of awards for previous books will draw many readers to this new one. This isn't the author's strongest outing, though, and in the long run, sales may not meet the publisher's expectations.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title. See all Product Description
Top Customer Reviews
Ten years ago someone who wanted to frame Whitey Dane, the local crime boss, killed the Randolph family in their yacht. The Looking Glass Man (as the readers know him) failed in killing Seth Randolph and made a crucial mistake in framing Dane. The boy is in the hospital being watched by his mother, who was divorced from Mr. Randolph, and by Detective Phillip Lefebvre who has made it his mission to save the boy. The two have made a friendship and confide in each other. When Lefebvre learns about a crucial mistake the Looking Glass Man made, he is left wondering if someone from his own police department could have been the murderer. Crucial evidence disappears and Seth is found murdered in his hospital bed. The police suspects Lefebvre was involved but he has now disappeared.
A decade has passed and a Cessna plane has been found in the forest. It contains the body of Phillip Lefebvre who apparently was killed by a tampered airplane. Frank Harriman gets the case and learns about the resentment the police force had on this disgraced officer. Dane is also interested in learning what has been going on. He is not happy that someone framed him for a murder he did not commit and wants to learn the truth.
Harriman is relentless in his investigation and his wife Irene lends him a helping hand.Read more ›
Detective Frank Harriman is stuck with a hell of a case, actually, a hell of a set of cases. The Las Piernas Police Department is convinced as to the long-borne guilt of one of their own in a heinous case of murder and betrayal, and nobody is interested in hearing other theories, until Harriman won't let them ignore the growing pile of evidence. Harriman's doggedness doesn't win him any friends, on the force or in the shadowy recesses of some of the darker elements of the city. But even Harriman wasn't prepared for where his investigations would take him or the degree to which a madman would go to fulfill his destiny.
Like the rest of Burke's works, Flight combines compellling characters with an attention to detail that is to be admired. It is fairly rare to be left feeling like you've been left with a pile of loose ends after a Burke denouement. In fact, my main gripe with Flight was the departure fairly on in the novel of a pair of characters I would have like to have had a chance to get to know better.
As always, Burke presents an exceptional "who done it" procedural mystery.
When Frank becomes the main character you begin to see many things happening. These things only occur because of what was presented within the first few chapters.
The book can easily be read over a weekend, however, why do that when the authors writing will leave you at the close of every chapter pondering the entire situation that Frank finds himself in? At the end of each chapter, I put the book down and wondered, "I wonder why this happened?", "I wonder what that will mean?", or "I wonder if Frank will do this?". It's a thinkers book. If you find yourself to be an amateur Sherlock Holmes, this is the book for you. You might, like me, put the book down at times and try to put the clues together. It's a book that is a lot of fun for amatuer detectives.
This book is a winner with a capital W. Buy it and enjoy it.
Most recent customer reviews
this was my first Jan Burke novel, but not my last. I coulnd't put the book down. It got me hooked from the first page. Great writing, great characters and great plot. Read morePublished on Oct. 10 2003
I have enjoyed quite a few of the Irene Kelly novels and this one was no exception...although it is not really Irene but her husband Frank Harriman that takes the spotlight. Read morePublished on Jan. 10 2003 by Gerrit Ruitinga
This book took me on unexpected twists and turns. A real read- for Sue Grafton meets Mary Higgins Clark enthusiasts. Get to know Irene Kelly! Fun series. Hope Jan writes more.Published on Jan. 8 2003
This book is suspenseful from the very beginning! I could not put this book down and I was annoying my girlfriend because of it... Read morePublished on April 19 2002 by Archanon
The case is ten years old. Lefebvre, a police officer, saved a young boy's life when his father and sister were murdered. Read morePublished on May 1 2001 by Suzanne Vitale
This book is a must for all mystery writers--and Jan Burke is in top form. The story is compelling, the writing tight and the characters jump off the page. Read morePublished on April 24 2001
I have been a fan of Irene's since the first book in this series. I gave this latest offering of Jan Burke's several tries and couldn't get past the second chapter. Read morePublished on April 20 2001 by M. C. Carter
This is an excellent book. I love the re-working of an old case and the piecing together of the puzzle with the "mind-works" of the bad guy. Read morePublished on April 16 2001 by Louise C. Stone