3 out of 4 stars
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Paul Jackson makes his living as a bush pilot, flying deliveries through the rough, unpredictable mountain terrain just outside of his hometown of Owensville. Paul knows that Jack Ward's request for immediate delivery of camera equipment to Spruce Creek Lodge for a charity fundraiser should be a piece of cake. Unfortunately, mother nature would like to disagree with his assessment. Paul also has a secret, a health-related issue he's failed to disclose to his wife and his co-pilot that could thwart the whole mission. Paul may not have time to confess, let alone deliver the equipment safely as the weather continues to deteriorate. As dusk approaches, can anything be salvaged from this overnight catastrophe?
Deliveries was an entertaining disaster novel by Paul Smyth. I loved the layers of human error and unfortunate circumstances that complied to present a story of complete chaos. As more and more things went wrong for the distressed Cessna pilots, I was pulled further into the story, desperately wondering how this novel would have a happy ending.
The author did a fantastic job with the research for the avionic and flight terminology. It was easy to understand everything going on, whether in the planes with the pilots, in the tower with flight control, or on the ground with search and rescue as they monitored the situation. I also enjoyed the camaraderie between the different sets of characters. The banter between the pilots brought some comic relief, while the pilots' wives' concerns added a bit of drama. Many other characters displayed determination, frustration, anger, and self-pity that all made for a cast of realistic people in a dynamic story.
Overall, I enjoyed the plot and how all the pieces came together in the end. I was mildly disappointed with the number of editing issues in the book, but the minor errors weren't too distracting despite the author's semi-frequent misuse of the word "too." The other thing that bothered me about this book was the amount of redundant information. I realize that the author showed the reader what each set of characters understood or knew. Still, the repeated information and heavy foreshadowing diminished the suspense of several scenes and made the book feel longer than necessary. For this reason, and because of the editing errors, I give Deliveries three out of four stars.
I'd recommend this book to those who enjoy disaster thrillers or man-vs-nature survival stories. Deliveries would also appeal to readers who enjoy books that follow multiple character groups through their involvement in the central conflict. This book reads like a comedy of errors and makes for a long but enjoyable novel.
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