Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Flight to St. Antony by Tony Blackman and some mindless jabber that will undoubtedly raise your IQ

Flight to St. Antony by Tony Blackman
Copyright 2008
Blackman Associates - Fiction/Mystery
303 pages

What led you to pick up this book? I like to read the occasional mystery (the more unusual or humorous, the better) and I love airplanes.

Describe the book without giving anything away. When a twin-engined passenger plane is forced to ditch within miles of a runway on the Caribbean island of St. Antony, aviation expert Peter Talbert is sent to investigate. Immediately, things become complicated as the crash recorder disappears, the presence of a drug lord on the plane is unearthed and survivors describe chaos in the business section not long before the crash. Peter must untangle the series of events that led to catastrophe while dodging drug runners, evading a murderer and falling in love with a survivor.

What did you like most about the book? This is not meant to sound bad, but my favorite part was the prologue -- the scene in which the stewardesses urgently prepare for ditching and then must work quickly to save as many lives as possible before the plane goes underwater. It's a nice, taut scene -- perfectly rendered, in my humble opinion. I read it while waiting for my son at school and didn't even notice his arrival at the car until I heard him open the trunk to put his backpack away.

Is there anything you didn't like about the book? I thought the writing was a little flat. There were moments of excitement throughout the book, but none had the intensity level of the ditching scene.

What did you think of the characters? Peter is a sharply intelligent, observant man. I liked trying to follow his train of thought, although I didn't always succeed. The book is fairly technical and his logic or conclusions sometimes evaded me. One thing that threw me was the fact that he often called people rude for mentioning that they've been warned that Peter is very direct. The author is British, so maybe mine is an American prejudice but I've never considered it rude for someone to say, "I've been told you're inquisitive," or, something of that nature. In fact, I consider it a bit of a compliment when anyone notices I exist. Otherwise, I thought Peter was an interesting character and I liked Helen, the flight attendant, as well. I thought they were a little needlessly gushy, calling each other, "My love" or "My dear," after only a day or two.

There is, in fact, a huge cast of characters and I was particularly grateful that the author added a "Dramatis Personae" at the beginning of the book. If the reader forgets a character's job title or can't place him, it's easy enough to flip back for a reminder.

Also: There's a list of acronyms and definitions at the front of the book.

In general: I liked the book, but I felt that it was lacking spark -- possibly because the dialogue seemed stiff to me. This is the author's 6th book (the 5th mystery; one of his books is non-fiction about his experiences as a Vulcan test pilot), but the first that I've read. Peter Talbert is a continuing character and I wondered if his character may have been fleshed out a bit better in previous installments.

Recommended? Yes, with a minor warning: The denouement is very sad. Once Peter uncovers the truth and discovers what happened on the airplane, it's hard reading. You can't help but imagine what it must be like for someone to really experience such a horrifying end. Otherwise, besides the fact that the writing is a little bland (if you're a lover of beautiful sentences, this is not the book for you), I thought the mystery was excellent and I enjoyed the way Peter slowly dug up the truth. I'd particularly recommend this book for people who love mysteries and find aviation fascinating.

Cover thoughts: I love airplanes, so just about all covers featuring an airplane appeal to me. I love the sunset and seascape in this one. It's very fitting, as the ditching of the plane takes place at night, near an island.

On this day in Bookfool's Reading History:

In 1997, I was reading Double Deuce by Robert Parker.
In 2005, I'd just completed The Reading Group by Elizabeth Noble.
In 2006, I finished Dispatches from the Edge by Anderson Cooper

We're busy getting ready for the holiday and I'll be shutting down for a few days. I hope to resume posting on Sunday and Wahoo! Wednesday will return next week.

New running joke in Bookfool's House -- or, What My Blog and Holiday Inn Have in Common:

With Lisa's help, I set myself up for Google Alerts because I have not always received notice when people link up to me for memes and awards, etc. I've found email alerts extraordinarily handy, thus far, especially given my scattered nature. This weekend I had an interesting surprise when I received a Google Alert that led me to this site: 100 Blogs that will make you smarter. Page down to see my blog listed at #80, the 10th blog in the "literature" category. According to the Indiana University Press Blog, Alisa Miller of Online Universities compiled the list. Thank you, Alisa!

Getting sociable -- and accidentally letting you know what I looked like 4 years ago:

How have I managed to squeak by without a membership in the Book Blogs social network? I have no idea, but I've recently joined and have been sending out friend requests to bloggers whose icons I recognize. I'm signed up under my actual name, Nancy, as opposed to the usual Bookfool moniker. And, I've even loaded a photo to this one! Unfortunately, I'm not quite that thin, anymore. You can visit me, add me as a friend, gawk at the photo or dump books upon my blonde crown, here.

And on that note . . . there are 34 recognized definitions for the noun "crown" and 10 verbs listed at infoplease. If you have a diamond-encrusted noun version that you're tired of looking at and would like to give me, I'll be glad to take it off your hands. But, it's going to look kind of funny when I wear it to rake the lawn.

Wishes for a Happy and Safe Thanksgiving to the Americans!

Bookfool, off to do some critical Pre-Thanksgiving Laundry


  1. Anonymous6:13 PM

    Wanted to drop in and wish you a Happy Thanksgiving! :)

  2. Thank you, J. Kaye! Happy Thanksgiving to you, too!! :)

  3. Happy Thanksgiving to you too Bookfool! How was Dispatches From the Edge? I wanted to read that one but never got around to it! And congrats on making it on the 100 blogs thingy!!! That's awesome :D

    I've been wanting to join Book Blogs for awhile...don't know why I haven't yet! I love your picture :) I think I've seen that one before though somewhere.

  4. Chris,

    Dispatches From the Edge is wonderful. Anderson Cooper's father is from Mississippi, so he had a lot of empathy for Katrina victims. And, I think you'd like it for his history -- with a brother who committed suicide and how hard he's worked to come to terms with that and the loss of his father.

    Thank you -- about the 100 thingy! You've seen that photo at Nano. It's tiny, but an old favorite. I tried about a million different photos at Nano and I'm soooo not photogenic. That particular photo was taken at a fun moment in Maine, when I was talking to William and fiddling with the camera. I need to get back to that size. Ahem. Diet time.

  5. Nancy
    It is a book about finding your strengths and using them to find the right job for you. I am hoping it provides part of what I need to make some vital changes in my life. 2009 is seriously going to be rough workwise for me. I graduated in May with a Masters but I am still working a dead end job for $9/hr living at home.My parents are out of patience. I don't blame them. I have become too complacent and a little jaded and a little of an underacheiver for the first time in my life. :)
    It is alot to ask of a little book and DVD. lol
    Happy Thanksgiving!

  6. Anonymous11:59 PM

    Happy Thanksgiving


  7. I've entered contests and then forgot all about them. If it wasn't for Google Alerts I would have missed some awesome prizes! That's very cool about the 100 Blogs thing. Happy Turkey Day!

  8. I am not a bit surprised that your blog is 10th, nor that it will make me smarter; hooray for your accolades, you deserve them!

    The more I blog the more I realize there is to research or add or link to. Sigh...sometimes, I just want to talk to my friends. Like you.

    So, Happy Thanksgiving, Bookfool, and thanks for being my friend for two years!

  9. Happy Thanksgiving Nancy! Congrats on getting on the 'smart list'! :)

  10. I thought I left a comment yesterday, but I could be dreaming. Congratulations on being listed on the 100 blogs. I agree with Alisa Miller - I know I've gotten smarter since reading your witty posts.

    Hope you are enjoying a wonderful Thanksgiving day, Nancy.

  11. Brittanie,

    I hope it helps you find a direction. I can understand the parental viewpoint. We're really quite fortunate that our eldest had three job offers before he graduated and was able to go straight to work at a job he loves. Not everyone has it so easy, especially in the current economy. Luck and prayers on that job hunt!!! Happy Thanksgiving! Hope you had a good one. :)


    Thank you! It's late in the day, but Happy Thanksgiving! Hope you had a great day, too!


    Me, too -- I sign up for things and then promptly forget them, all the time. Thank you! I hope you had a terrific Thanksgiving!


    Thank you, dear friend. That 100 blogs thing certainly stunned me. :)

    I think it's easy to overdo linking up, blog-hopping, etc. but I do love blogging for all the friendships I've made.

    Hope you had a terrific Thanksgiving!! Thank you, right back. I'm so glad we've become friends. :)


    Thank you! We had a great Thanksgiving. I hope you had a terrific day, too (although I know it's not your Canadian Thanksgiving, I'd share my pie with you, if I could). :)


    You left two comments but I was busy with family and didn't get around to moderating, till tonight. I went ahead and removed the other one, since you said the same thing twice. Thank you (times two)! We had a great Thanksgiving. I hope you did, too!

  12. I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!! I still haven't signed up Book Blogs. One of these days maybe!!

  13. I hope you had a happy Thanksgiving!

  14. Anonymous8:38 PM

    Glad you had a good thanksgiving! I feel smarter having read all that.;) Congrats on the #!

    Oh dear. Still in a turkey coma. English not easy.

  15. Nancy -

    Color me not surprised at all. I've suspect you're brilliant for some time now... glad to see there are others who agree!


  16. Stephanie,

    I did have a good Thanksgiving, thank you - hope you had a great Thanksgiving, also! You should definitely sign up for Book Blogs. :)


    Thank you! I hope you had a great day, too! It must be interesting spending Thanksgiving in another country. We were on a plane heading across the Atlantic during Thanksgiving of 2001 and that was kind of fun. It helped that the plane was practically empty.


    I'm afraid I can't do a thing to make you smarter because you're so far above me, but we can both pretend. :)

    Try another language. Oh, no, hold on that. You've probably recovered, by now.


    I've been having a great time misleading you, for the past couple of years. LOL Thanks, you're too kind. :)

  17. Fun post, Nancy! Congrats on the 100 Blogs listing!!

    Fun to read your Reading History. As you know, I loved AC's book. It was my #1 read in 2007. And I really enjoyed The Reading Group. Haven't read Double Deuce, but I'm sure I'll get to it. I haven't read any of the Spenser books.

    I've thought about joining Book Blogs, but I think I have enough on my plate right now. I'm spending a lot of time over at Aminus3.

    Hope you had a lovely Thanksgiving. I'm right there with you on that diet thing. ;)

  18. Hi Les,

    Thank you! Yes, I know you loved that book. I did, too. It's still on my shelf; I couldn't bear to part with it. It's been quite a while since I went through my Spenser phase, but I thought they were all terrific except for one --there was one title that was told in alternating POVs and it was awkward. No idea what it was, of course!

    I'm trying to spend less time everywhere, but it's hard. I love Animus3, I love hanging out with book bloggers and I love reading. Some days it's hard to squeeze life into the equation, so I'm working on that. :)

    Thanks, we did have a great Thanksgiving! I hope you did, too!

  19. I'm quickly cleaning out my google reader of anything a week or older (seriously? sheesh!!) and glad I saw the bit about book blogs. I'm not active on there since I can't seem to find time to do anything right now, but I sent you a quick friend request. Not really sure what Book Blogs is all about despite being a member for 5 months, but I guess its another fun way to connect.

  20. Trish,

    I haven't done much at book blogs, so far. I think it's mostly a place to chat about various issues regarding books, but there are also a few publicists who hang out there, like Miriam of Hatchette books. I'm not going to request any books, for a while, so I'll just hang out to chat. Thanks for the friend request!

  21. Miriam is really great. I have actually stopped requesting books from Book Blogs, but she has seen my comments here and there and contacted me (which is how I got The Little Giant). There just seems to be so many people requesting books these days!

  22. I haven't requested anything at Book Blogs, but I think I'm the only person on the planet who hasn't been contacted by Miriam. I feel like an outcast. LOL

  23. I haven't requested anything at Book Blogs, but I think I'm the only person on the planet who hasn't been contacted by Miriam. I feel like an outcast. LOL

  24. LOL--to be fair, I contacted her first on book blogs several months ago. Not like I'm just a stranger that she contacted. :P I'm defintely not one of those bloggers who has authors and publicists knocking down her door (um, or email).

  25. Trish,

    That's good -- whatever works, you know? I've had some folks contact me, but I'm not fighting off a mad crowd, either, which is good. I've still got a backlog. I can't seem to read, this week. I think I just need to take a week off to read and sleep. :)

  26. Slinking in late to say thanks for the link. I, um, am just now checking my google alerts for myself. Kinda ironic, seeing as that's why you mentioned me.


  27. Lisa,

    That's okay! I forget to thank people for links at least 75% of the time. Kinda funny, though. LOL


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