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Friday, 16 May 2014

Book Review: Contrails

Sam Claymore is an airline pilot who loves his job, despite his hectic flight schedule and irritating passengers he sometimes get. When the airline downsizes leaving Sam unemployed, his childhood friend Nate offers him a job. Nate is a drug dealer in need of a pilot to transport his merchandise. Sam reluctantly accepts the job, but the money is good, so is the cocaine after he samples it.

Sam quickly gains the trust of Javier, the Mexican drug boss he and Nate works for. One information Sam omits from Javier is that his father is a retired Drug Enforcement Agent. Who would believe him if he said he only took this job for the money?

The more Sam earns for taking flight risks, the more he realises how dangerously cutthroat his boss and the drug underworld really is. He decides to quit and makes his final major drug run with Javier to Columbia to meet one of the world's most feared kingpin. But things have a way of backfiring in Sam's life, and this trip happens to be one of them. He is surrounded by cold hearted killers who adorns trees with bodies as casually as a person decorating a Christmas tree.

One of the things I noticed when reading Contrails was how fast paced the story was from the beginning. The early chapters were mainly based on Sam, his family background, and typical airline characters and activities. The plot changed after Sam was furloughed and that's when things become more interesting.

Sam's character was somewhat dull in the beginning. He had lead a normal lifestyle, and flying had taken up most of his time. I thought he was easy to succumb to peer pressure, but there were times he showed strength when faced with challenges. It's hard not to like Sam, who is really soft hearted by nature. He only wanted to lead an honest life, without having the law on his back.

The authors, Robert Anderson and Steve Clark gave an excellent detailed account of what transpires in the cockpit, the airline crews busy schedule and how it can affect their personal lives. I was also introduced to another side of the drug underworld, making me more aware of the important role aviation plays in drug trafficking. The book is injected with humour and is not the hard core violent story I was expecting to read. It should be interesting to see what transpires in Contrails Book 2.


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