Friday, August 20, 2010
Review: Prestwick by David Hough
Prestwick by David Hough is decently-written adventure novel. Two planes collide in mid-air---a passenger 747 with 400 people, and a military plane. Neither can land at Prestwick, the nearest airport, because a top-secret experimental vessel is having an emergency too...
Hough clearly knows his plane jargon, and he describes the technicalities well for the layperson reader. But the book---well-written though it is---was a tad long for me. I felt like we were witnessing the same conversations over and over again. If I saw one more chapter where the pilot radios his rescue plane, states that he must land at Prestwick and is told he may not (and in subsequent conversations, that he 'still' may not) I was ready to scream. We get it. We got it the last three times we read it too. The novel could have benefited from a tiny bit more editing.
And on another pacing note, a sub-plot about a murdered stewardess got off to an intriguing start and then fizzled. We know who had done it too early on. It would have been better, plot-wise, if Hough had allowed his investigator character to flesh out those events via mid-flight investigating, rather than through flashbacks, as he did. But again, that is a judgment call. Hough was clearly not aiming to write a detective novel---it may have been a better read, for me, if he had been, but that would have been a somewhat different story.
Some characters were very well-realized. And Hough had a deft hand with the technicalities of the mid-air emergency and with making the reader feel they were right up there with those pilots in that dramatic situation. For that reason, I give the book a 3/5 and put it above some of the other books I've read. Had I been the editor, I might have tightened things up a little and removed some of the redundant scenes. And I might have encouraged Hough to play up the mystery novel aspect a little more. But the book, as it is, is still a half-decent adventure.