By Greg Peterson
As much as I’d like to sit here and say that Greg Peterson’s Newgate’s Knocker was a great aviation thriller, I can’t bring myself to do it. It took 70% of the book to get to the good stuff and then that was cut off mid conflict with the remainder of the book being a narration of action I truly wanted to see played out, not described to me. If it wasn’t already hard enough to read through pages of airplane part descriptions and aviation talk, there was a huge amount of confusion as to who the protagonist was.
Newgate’s Knocker starts out with the disappearance of Captain Kiley, Empire Airline’s captain who, along with the rest of the flight crew, was laid over for the night in Midland, Texas. What starts out as a missing persons case turns into a possible investigation into to terrorism at the hands of one of Empire’s on flight crew with connections even to organized crime.
I’m not sure if it was the intention of Peterson, but no matter how discombobulating the barrages of aviation talk seemed to get, the story line did distract you enough to where what you thought was going to happen didn’t. And who you thought was going to do it, didn’t. I ended up being pleased in that regard and thought to myself that wanting to see the outcome was the only reason I pushed myself to finish the book at all. But as I was saying, I think Peterson distracts you and does the whole switch-a-roo.
Peterson’s development of the mystery/thriller portion of this book is quite well done. However, the characters we get close enough to know aren’t all that significant in the end. The POV vacillates between 3rd person and 1st person with Mac, the flight engineer on the Empire flight. So, as one might do, I assumed that he would be a significant player in whatever went down. Maybe he’d save the day. But in the end, the depth with which his character development was done truly had little to do with anything. Most of the attention was placed on the head FBI agent on the case, Bob Capone,. However, his character only goes as far as the case goes.
I will say that although the aviation technical information went overboard, some of the verbiage was strung together in such a way that made flying an airplane seem like a beautiful dance.. To be truthful, the entire book was extremely well written and beautifully edited. Although some mild violence, no other warnings about content.