x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Flight is a thriller cruising at altitude

A commercial pilot gets a taste of the high life when he takes a job flying a prominent Dubai figure around the globe in Adam Thorpe's page-turner.

Adam Thorpe - Flight
Adam Thorpe - Flight

As its title suggests, Adam Thorpe’s new thriller is a book of departure, both literal and metaphorical. The author’s central character is Bob Winrush (“Windrush” or “Rushing Wind” to friends and enemies alike), a veteran commercial passenger pilot turned “freight dog”, ticking off his days transporting goods around the world.

Such pilots are, according to Thorpe, expected to be unquestioning souls, happy to take whatever load is bundled into the back of their airplane to wherever they happen to be instructed to go: “Never pretend you are anything more than a flying truck driver … what’s in the cargo bay is not your business,” one character cautions early on.

The book hangs on Winrush’s decision to walk away from a particularly dodgy consignment and take flight to Dubai, where he soon finds work flying a prominent figure around the globe and settles into a form of the high-life that many UAE residents will recognise.

Naturally, this state of affairs can’t continue and his past slowly begins to catch up with him. Winrush shifts country once more, moving to a suitably windswept and sparsely populated Scottish isle, as he attempts to put himself firmly out of harm’s way.

Throughout, Thorpe delivers a pleasing 400-page potboiler, in which his central character is deliciously flawed and surprisingly good company.