11 January 2009

Review: BRIGHT AIR, Barry Maitland

Allen & Unwin, 2008, 295 pages, ISBN 978-1-74114-817-6

Josh Ambler was working in London four years ago when his ex-lover Lucy Corcoran went missing on Lord Howe Island during a climbing accident. During his university days he had joined a climbing group that Luce was part of, along with Anna, Damien, Curtis and Owen. The glue that held the group together was biologist and lecturer Dr. Marcus Fenn, once a climber himself but injured in a particularly severe fall. Marcus had mentored the group in climbing, particularly on difficult and hazardous expeditions related to endangered flora and birds.

Just recently Curtis and Owen have died after a fall on Mt. Cook in the Southern Alps in New Zealand. Curtis died at the scene but Anna had been able to fly to New Zealand in time to be at Owen's death bed before he died. In his final words to Anna, Owen appeared to be confessing that he and Owen had killed Luce.

His lack of closure leads Josh, with Anna, to investigate the circumstances around Luce's disappearance and apparent death, flying to Lord Howe Island where local residents appear to be going out of their way to make them welcome.

BRIGHT AIR is Barry Maitland's first stand alone novel. Readers may be aware of his Brock and Kolla series in which he has published 9 titles between 1994 and 2007. If BRIGHT AIR is an indication of what we can expect in stand alones, then I hope we see many more. Not only was I really impressed with the depth of Maitland's knowledge about climbing and climbing techniques, I thought the characterisation was excellent. I'm not sure that I was totally convinced of the plausibility of the final resolution, but it didn't diminish my enjoyment of the plot.

My rating: 4.3

Read an extract online, or purchase an e-book at Allen &Unwin.
You can see a full listing of his novels on Barry Maitland's own site.
Barry Maitland moved to Australia from London in 1984, and now writes full time.

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1 comment:

Bernadette said...

I agree the ending was a bit fantastic...but for some reason it didn't bother me as it might have done.

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