BLACK BOX

Larry Jones, Author . Whitaker House $22.99 (304p) ISBN 978-0-88368-872-4

Survivors of a plane crash fight for their lives and seek their God in Jones's earnest but mediocre debut. A routine flight out of Hong Kong goes terribly awry when bad weather and a drunken copilot send the 757 into Chinese airspace. On board is a media-centric U.S. senator; an up-by-her-bootstraps black journalist; a faithful but guilt-plagued bishop; a pregnant, unwed flight attendant; a pretty American ex-pat; and a tobacco marketing executive, and Jones bounces among their points of view, as well as that of the pilot (who is, incidentally, the father of the flight attendant's baby), during the many pages it takes for the Chinese to decide to fire on the plane and for the plane to crash-land at an abandoned air strip in Bhutan, killing everyone but the aforementioned seven. As if trying to survive in the freezing mountains after plummeting thousands of feet isn't enough, Jones adds in plenty of dark secrets and deceitful dealings. It's a fine premise, but it falters in its execution, as Jones flits from one character to another without fleshing any of them out beyond stereotype. Foxhole conversions can be powerful, however, and Jones offers several, as well as a moving epilogue whose emotion redeems some of the book's weaker moments. (Sept.)

Reviewed on: 09/27/2004
Release date: 09/01/2004
Genre: Fiction
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