Brett Battles is known for his Jonathan Quinn series but he has also written some stand alone novel, and in this one an army training run goes completely wrong:
An small independent film company is in Mojave desert to film a travel show. While out in the desert they look up to see a F-18 Navy fighter that suddenly looses control. Wes Stewart is the first to react, frantically racing towards the crash to try and save the pilot if he is still alive. Wes cannot believe that the pilot survived the crash and desperately tries to pull him free. As Wes runs for a knife to cut the pilot free, the fighter plane bursts into flames and the pilot is destroyed. The Navy finally arrives and questions everyone, but Wes feels like there is something completely wrong with the situation and the more the Navy tries to tell him No the more involved he gets questioning everything and find himself against the local US military and it becomes a no prisoner taken type of conspiracy.
I personally struggled with this book. I found this book fairly slow especially when I compare it to Battle's Quinn series. It took way too long for the fighter jet to go down and it felt like nothing happened in the first few chapters. I was expecting more from Battles in this book and it made me miss the Quinn series. Overall the book fell flat, it was not the page turned I was expecting. I was actually more interested in what followed the book, which was an interview with Battles about his inspiration and background for the novel was interesting, and executed a different way I think this book could have been a hit, I just think I was spoiled with reading his Quinn books first.
I found the US Military conspiracy an interesting aspect within the book, and you wonder how far up the chain it goes, as well as whether Wes can trust his old high school friend. However, I never felt the thriller or sitting on the edge of my seat any time that the Wes was in danger.
Wes Stewart, could have been an interesting character, but I never felt the connection to him in the book, other than the chapters from his past growing up in the town, that is when I felt he was real. Yeah I really have nothing much to say about Wes as a main character, he was there in the book, but I felt like any of the other characters could have taken his place or been the main character.
I will say that the twist at the end was unexpected and interesting, I just wish the rest of the book would have lived up to the ending and the possibilities lined out in the premise and the interview at the end of the novel. Not Battles best book, but that does not mean I would not read another of his stand alone books and well I love his Quinn series so i'm happy to continue on with reading those books by him.
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