ForeWord Reviews

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Above It All

Clarion Review (3 Stars)

Enlivened with aviation terminology, this entertaining story realistically captures high-stakes flight adventures.

Private aircraft and a drug deal ensnare an unlikely trio in a high-stakes escapade in Chaz Hunt’s behind-the-scenes look at a convoluted crime fueled by power and greed. Two bisexual women and an enamored man establish a kinky, competitive foundation for a sex-driven romance, as this complicated tale unfolds with a treacherous student pilot as the catalyst.

Ian MacAran is the experienced protagonist in the cockpit of this loosely edited novel that is overpopulated with characters and details. At a staggering length—nearly seven hundred pages—the temptation to include every possible interaction, as well as descriptions that do not advance the story, has been indulged. With little control over content, what could have been an edgy, fast-paced thriller slips a few notches in quality. Excessive attention to flight terminology and aviation technique may provide a sense of realism, but this preponderance sacrifices the integrity of the plot structure.

Certain pivotal scenes are written well and filled with life-or-death urgency often sought in the action-adventure genre: “His peripheral vision was gone and he had to turn his head to see the headset, resting on the left seat. Grabbing the microphone boom, Ian clamped the oxygen tube between his teeth and then fumbled with the sling on the back of the chair. By the time he reached the valve on the cylinder, his vision had gone completely black.”

A back-cover blurb somewhat spoils the story in revealing the murder of an important character, a critical event that takes place at the halfway point. Unless a strategic marketing tactic is the reason behind this exposure of information, it appears to be a mistake.

A dark sense of humor may be the book’s strongest quality, as it enhances character interaction and dialogue. Hunt subtly reminds the reader not to take the events too seriously. He infuses his protagonists with a Bruce Willis style of acceptance, a mixture of funny sarcasm and calm reasoning. In the action genre, this is an invaluable tool for grabbing attention and maintaining interest, a talent this author has wisely capitalized on without taking the technique to a bantering extreme.

Promoted as a fictionalized account of real events, Above It All is Hunt’s writing debut. Intensive effort has rendered this work a worthwhile object of quest for those seeking entertainment without standard publishing-industry constrictions, and the book may hold special appeal for aviation enthusiasts.

Julia Ann Charpentier