The Magazine for Crime & Mystery


Val McDermid Interview

Nevada Barr on writing HUNTING SEASON plus an excerpt

Paul Doherty's short story THE KYRIE MAN

Stark Contrasts Michael Carlson examines the pulp fiction of Richard Stark

Have you got what it takes to be a Writer? by Fiona Shoop

It Could Only Happen in Hollywood


Lynne Heitman

Little Brown £10.99 tbo

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Reviewed by Heather O'Donoghue

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If you liked Lynne Heitman's first novel, Hard Landing, then you'll certainly enjoy Tarmac, another tough thriller set behind the scenes at a major U.S. airport, in this case, Miami International. Heitman used to work as General Manager of a large airport, and her settings are strong, convincing and, on occasion, eye-opening (this may be an airport novel in one sense, but certainly not in the other: not at all the thing to read on a plane journey!). In Tarmac, Alex Shanahan is investigating the murder of John McTavish, an old friend who supported her during her expose of sleaze and malpractice in her previous airport job, and Heitman's previous novel Hard Landing. Shanahan, in the company of ex-alcoholic, ex-FBI private investigator Jack Dolan, uncovers a lethal trade in counterfeit aircraft parts scavenged from crashed planes and sold as new. The plot is expertly handled. To begin with, Shanahan, Dolan and we as readers feel confident about being able to work out what's going on: tension builds as Dolan and Shanahan try to nail those they have identified as responsible. But in the last few chapters, a series of quickfire revelations, which go off like the climax of a firework display, cause them - and us - to see the whole set-up in a series of different lights.
The characterization is classic. Shanahan is feminine and tough (not a contradiction in terms!) and Jack Dolan is a very satisfactory creation of a fairly familiar kind: decent, troubled and sexy. The relationship between them is nicely drawn, if not wholly unexpected. A particularly appealing character is a keen young computer whizz, Felix, who teams up with Shanahan and Dolan, and touchingly hero-worships them both. I hope we can look forward to more books from Heitman featuring this investigative trio.

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