Alibi, Random House: 3/17/2015
eBook Review Copy, 274 pages
Happy Independence Day. You’re all going to die.
Life can’t be better for veteran pilot Larry Walder. He has a great job, a terrific kid, a gorgeous wife—and no inkling that tonight will be the end of the world as he knows it. In the early hours before the Fourth of July, three men break into Larry’s home. And as the day lurches on to its terrifying course, a life is taken, and Flight 816 from Atlanta to Cozumel, Mexico, vanishes off the radar.
In the air, Larry must find a way to save his family, his crew, and his passengers. On the ground, disgraced FBI agent Xanadu Marx goes rogue, making it her mission to track down the missing flight before the hijackers reach their diabolical endgame. With the casualties racking up and the world’s busiest airport under lockdown, a message arrives: This is no ordinary hijacking, no typical hostage crisis. This ransom is a totally different beast—the first hint of a conspiracy that might bring America to its knees.
Cost of Life by Joshua Corin is very highly recommended. This is a stuck-overnight-at-the-airport thriller that should hold your rapt attention from the start.
Pilot Larry Walder is woken up and informed that his wife and son are now hostages - and only he can keep them alive by following the kidnapper's instructions. Larry is scheduled to fly from Atlanta to Cozumel, Mexico, that day. Instead, once he takes off in Atlanta he is to fly the plane and all passengers to the location of the coordinates provided by the group of men. One of the men accompanies Larry to the airport just to make sure he follows their instructions.
Once Xanadu Marx, a former FBI agent recently released from rehab to a halfway house, hears some interesting information on a police scanner, she talks a fellow housemate into giving her a ride to the local FBI field office. She is sure that she will be needed on this case by SAC Jim Christie, Special-Agent-in-Charge at the Atlanta field office. What she learns is that she is now considered a civilian, but because of her special ability with a wide variety of languages she is being sent over to be an interpreter for a suspect in custody at the airport. A young intern is giving her a ride and will stay in touch with the field office.
This is no ordinary hijacked airplane story where the bad guys set a ransom in order to release the imprisoned passengers. Corin has set his high adrenaline-packed thriller decidedly in today's device laden society where everyone is connected all the time. At almost the half-way point this story took a twist and a turn that set my world of expectations in a tailspin, but made so much sense in today's culture. Devious, demented, shrewd, and calculating - but so 21st century. And that is all I'll say. I don't want to spoil anything about this compelling thriller.
Corin is a good writer... or let me sheepishly admit that he must be a very good writer because I was not paying a lick of attention to his word usage or adept descriptive skills. It's all about the action here, baby, and he had me hooked at the start. Once you start your story with a family taken hostage and an ultimatum to keep them alive that could mean the death of others, you can pretty much bet on a plot that will keep you on the edge of your seat.
The story is told through alternating viewpoints, basically between those on the hijacked plane and the people trying to find the aircraft, although the main characters are basically Larry and Xena with several supporting characters. I know the character of Xana will likely grate on some people, but I liked her tough resourcefulness as she pieces clues together while fighting her demons. Hopefully Corin will bring Xena back for another thriller sometime in the future.
Disclosure: I received an advanced reading copy of this book from the publisher and TLC for review purposes.
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