This spine-tingling and heartwarming novella builds the same basic plot three different ways.
Eugene W. Carr experiments with the typical “what if” proposition in a not-so-typical manner. Twenty-Six Minutes Plus Two takes the same story and builds the premise three ways, each rendering of this spine-tingling plot more elaborate than the version that preceded it.
A pilot suffers a devastating stroke midair, and his young daughter, Kim, must land the plane under the guidance of an air traffic controller named Jim Hinton. Though Hinton is the recognized protagonist, Kim’s role is crucial to the comprehension of this involved scenario. The message behind this novella is touching and strikes a moral note that is particularly heartwarming for anyone seeking a simple, albeit supernatural, tale of spiritual devotion and genuine love. Hinton is a responsible man with a tragic past. Kim is a girl who dreams of being a licensed pilot. Kim’s father is struggling to regain the functions he has lost. Behind the scenes is a friend from Hinton’s past—Kim’s mother, a powerful motivator.
Lengthy parts of the narrative are repeated verbatim throughout this book, an intentional stylistic technique. This slows down the pacing, detracting somewhat from the entertainment value. The purpose is clear, for this redundant buildup is clearly done for effect, yet the amount of repetition may be needlessly excessive.
The book contains a discussion section, inviting study and analysis. Carr encourages an understanding of his story that delves deeper than a brief, superficial contemplation. Instructional the novella is not, but its tone verges on educational with a spontaneous twist, especially in the detailed description of the steps involved in landing an aircraft and in the understated evaluation of Hinton’s personality.
At times, the narrator is in a fly-on-the-wall position. In this excerpt, the setting is imbued with life-or-death significance:
To the casual observer, the room is reminiscent of a twilight zone one would expect to see in the latest science-fiction movie, but not just from the darkened illumination and eerie glow of the screens. The observer soon realizes that the view one sees on each of the screens, a surreal world of light and dark, is an exact representation of the real world outside, and the aircraft, represented by the symbols, can’t just stop in case of trouble, letting everyone get out and run to safety.
Carr is a commercial pilot with an instrument rating. His aviation experience enhances his writing with authenticity.
Twenty-Six Minutes Plus Two relives a critical moment—an event that will change several lives irrevocably. Suitable for book groups and science-fiction enthusiasts looking for a paranormal slant, this unique title is a pondering intellectual piece that promises an experience quite out of the ordinary.
Julia Ann Charpentier
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