The Last Pilot
By Benjamin Johncock
(Picador USA, Hardcover, 9781250066640, July 7, 2015, 320pp.)
The Short of It:
Amid the excitement of space exploration, one couple is forced to deal with a horrible tragedy and the aftermath that it leaves behind.
The Rest of It:
The story centers around Jim Harrison and his wife Grace. Jim is an Air Force test pilot in Muroc, California on a base which later becomes Edwards Air Force Base. He’s a member of the New Nine, which is the first group to fly manned missions to space. As you can imagine, this is a very exciting time for them all.
Grace is not your typical Air Force wife. She worries, but she seems to know deep down, that things will turn out okay. But things are not okay. Jim and Grace suffer a terrible tragedy and it’s threatening to tear them apart. Grace desperately needs Jim during this time, but Jim chooses to bury himself in work. How can you help another person when your own grief is too heavy to bear?
I really liked this novel. The excitement of space exploration is what grabbed my attention initially, but this couple’s situation really stayed with me. Not to mention the casual mentions of real-life astronaut Jim Lovell and larger-than-life Pancho Barnes. Barnes, who seriously steals the show in this one, could be the subject of her own book. She runs a bar, flies an airplane and basically knows everyone and better yet, seems to know exactly what everyone needs.
This knack of hers comes in handy more than once.
This was a smooth read for me. Even without the use of quotation marks, the writing and dialogue flowed effortlessly. Yes, there might have been a little confusion on my part when more than one character had the same name (two Jims, two Graces) but I quickly figured out who was who.
Overall, I really enjoyed this debut from Benjamin Johncock and I would absolutely read his work again. Check out his website here.
If you’d like a chance to win a copy, check out the details below.
This giveaway is for one copy of The Last Pilot and is open to the US and Canada. A winner will be chosen randomly by me. The book will come directly from the publisher. Only one entry per person. Giveaway closes on Sunday, July 26, 2015 (pacific). I will contact the winner for his/her mailing address.
Source: Review and giveaway copy provided by the publisher.
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