cover image Butcher Bird

Butcher Bird

Dean Ing. Forge, $21.95 (348pp) ISBN 978-0-312-85397-6

The dashing band of mavericks introduced in The Ransom of Black Stealth One must hunt down and destroy an even deadlier aircraft this time: an unmanned, laser-armed vehicle with the ability to target an individual victim. To combat this threat, the U.S. government secretly engages pilot Kyle Corbett, aging, ill and still on the run from the law. He is accompanied by Petra Leigh, quite possibly the world's most beautiful stress analyst, and the two of them are assisted by mechanic-pilot buddy Raoul (Speedy) Medina. Opposing them is the wonderfully villainous scientist, Roland Clement, who loses no time in demonstrating that his deadly airship is a masterfully designed assassination tool. From the first pages, readers will be caught up in a suspenseful, romantic and gloriously improbable story in which the airships are the technical stars while the humans provide derring-do that Indiana Jones would envy. Corbett's confrontations with his own mortality and the extremely implausible climax are minor setbacks. A more serious deterrent to new readers is the assumption that readers will be familiar with the characters and their dilemmas. However, since these are among the liveliest aero-adventures around, readers may want to lay in a supply of the earlier books as well. (Nov.)