Sunday, 27 January 2008

Guy N. Smith Book Review - Doomflight

Near the village of Fradley is a crumbling airfield with a mysterious past, filled with bizarre accidents and ritual killings. When a group of investors arrive and attempt to turn the disused airfield into a major international airport, they face opposition from a group of villagers headed by respected local Hartley Lowe. Hartley knows the truth about Fradley airfield... built on an ancient stone circle, the undead Druids seek out sacrifices for their evil gods. Unfortunately, their credibility is hurt by Lowe's tendency to babble insanely about ancient evil to anyone he comes across.

Despite a plague of strange setbacks, including the brutal murder of a local boy, construction of the airport goes ahead. Within a couple of years Fradley is competing with Heathrow and Gatwick, but their swift success is not without it's price. Soon the airport is plagued with accidents. Tension is high amongst staff and the several of the desperate investors die under mysterious circumstances. Can pilot Lance Evans and air hostess Pam Bridges escape the curse of Fradley before it is too late?

Doomflight is a pretty solid Smith book. Some of the plot elements are underdeveloped and the book doesn't end with the big bang I was expecting, but the characters are solid and the time-shifting elements are pretty neat. The book also demonstrates Smith's skill at juggling a large cast of characters. The protagonists aren't introduced until a third of the way into the book, and they are still fairly well developed.

There are the requisite hilarious sex scenes. There's a pretty dicey part where Pam figures she has to sleep with a pilot because he bought her dinner (or else people will call a "prick-teaser"... gasp!) Despite her best efforts to hide her true feelings, she sobs in shame post-coitus (if I had a dollar for every time that's happened to me...) She figures he won't sense that anything is wrong because a lot of women cry at climax. That's news to me.

This is a solid entry in the sizable Smith canon, and worth a read if you like cursed airports, Druids and combinations thereof. Fans of odd turns of phrase will be happy to note that there's no less than three instances of referring to their situation as "a gamble with death as the loser's prize".

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