Reviewer Sandra Shwayder Sanchez: Sandra is
a retired attorney and co-founder of a small non-profit publishing
collective: The Wessex Collective with whom she has published two short fiction collections
(A Mile in These Shoes and Three Novellas) and one
Her most recent novel, The Secret of A Long Journey is soon to be released by Floricanto Press in April 2012 and her first novel, The Nun, originally published by Plain View Press in 1992 is being reissued in a 2nd Edition with additional material by PVP in March 2012.
Author: Mark A. Vance
Author: Mark A. Vance
The author’s bio indicates he is an active airline pilot with over 20,000 flying hours. His desire to be a pilot was inspired by the photographs and family recollections of his uncle Raymond Davis who was lost with his crew when his plane crashed under mysterious circumstances while en route home after World War II. In fact, he was not only inspired to fly but to probe the mystery of his uncle’s death. He says he wants Flight of the Forgotten to be “a living memorial to the Jack B. Ketchum crew.” His uncle was a member of that crew.
This is a worthy subject for a book and the premise is fascinating: that the government somehow caused the crash and then covered up the facts. I’ve often been known to say that today’s conspiracy theory is tomorrow’s history so I was eager to read this book. Unfortunately, my interest being in the whys and wherefores of the government’s malfeasance (and subsequent malice) and not in the details of aviation, the author lost me in the lengthy, detailed descriptions of the missing crew's flights and fights that dominate most of the nearly 400 pages of the book. I just needed more civilian talk about the conspiracy and less time in the army airforce.
That being said, the authenticity of these military scenes and dialogues is impressive, and the author maintains a rapid fire pace. The question is not would I recommend this book to readers but which readers would I recommend it to? Clearly readers who either have aviation experience or an engrossing fascination with it will appreciate this book. As will readers who enjoy those films about pilots starring Tom Cruise, I feel certain. The writing has that vivid on the spot filmic quality. Example:
In the top turret, Hilburn Check was daydreaming about becoming a professional hunting and fishing guide after the war as he whittled a piece of hardwood and stared into space. Pausing for a moment, he leaned forward and watched the beautiful French countryside drift by below him. As he did, the intercom erupted again.
“radio to pilot. Group advises our next fighter escort rendezvous is three minutes away Jimmy Stammer reported as the fighters that had been escorting them for the last several hours began breaking off in the direction of their base. Filling the vacancy now were shorter range F-47 and P-38 fighters that would escort the 44th all the way back to England, allowing the Luftwaffe no opportunity to strike at them unopposed.
“OK Jimmy, anything on Sad Sack?” Ketchum prompted.
“no Sir, still nothing” Stammer replied while the intercom erupted again.
“little friends . . . 3 o’clock high . .
. 3 o’clock low. Little friends 9 o’clock high, 9 o’clock low”
several voices reported, as the American fighters took up escort
positions around them.”
So I definitely recommend this book to readers with these interests.