cover image The Race

The Race

Clive Cussler and Justin Scott. Putnam, $27.95 (416p) ISBN 978-0-399-15781-3

Set in 1909, bestseller Cussler and Scott's nifty fourth adventure thriller starring Isaac Bell, ace detective with the Van Dorn Detective Agency (the company motto: "We never give up. Never"), focuses on airplanes. The previous three outings featured locomotives (The Chase and The Wrecker) and a submarine (The Spy). Bell must protect Josephine Frost, an aviatrix competing in the Whiteway Atlantic-to-Pacific Cross-Country Air Race, from her deranged ex-husband, Harry Frost, who's trying to kill her for various complicated reasons. Sabotage among the flying pioneers competing for a $50,000 prize for the first one to cross America in 50 days is rampant. A number of subplots provide twists, but it's the battle between the handsome, daring Bell%E2%80%94"His frame was whipcord lean"%E2%80%94and the hulking, diabolical psychopath Frost that will keep readers turning the pages. Evocative period detail, brave men and women and their fabulous flying machines, and nonstop action add up to plenty of fun. (Sept.)