The Last Hostage

John J. Nance, Author
John J. Nance, Author Doubleday Books $23.95 (384p) ISBN 978-0-385-49055-9
Reviewed on: 12/29/1997
Release date: 01/01/1998
Solid aviation expertise and well-plotted twists barely keep this overwrought, made-for-TV tale aloft. Airbridge Airlines pilot Ken Wolfe fakes engine trouble to force a landing; then, having tricked his co-pilot off the plane, he takes off. His plan: to extort a confession from a surprise passenger, U.S. Attorney General nominee Rudolph Bostitch. It seems that, as a Connecticut DA, Bostitch covered up for the man who Wolfe believes tortured and killed his 11-year-old daughter. Wolfe rolls the plane to convince the crew that a hijacker with a bomb shares the cockpit, a Flitephone call alerts the FBI and novice female negotiator Kat Bronsky is put on the case. Romantic possibilities (and others, almost as improbable) open up when Bronsky is tricked onto the hijacked plane and bonds, just enough, with Wolfe. Good Morning America aviation analyst Nance (Medusa's Child) packs the plane with typecast passenger victims--an elderly fear-of-flying group, high-school band, pregnant wife, retired tough cop, plucky crew--and shifts his villains on the wing. Despite dialogue that could have been lifted from the Airplane parodies (""Have you ever pasted Annie's face on Melinda's mutilated body? Mentally, I mean""), technicalities of airline flight lend credence to this outrageously melodramatic thriller. (Feb.) FYI: Two of Nance's previous airplane thrillers, Pandora's Clock and Medusa's Child, were made into TV miniseries.
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