Thursday, June 3, 2010

Book Review of "FLIGHT IN FEBRUARY" by Philip Kraske

(This is a book review of a new novel by author Philip Kraske. I have tried to keep to the limits that we generally set in class, particularly regarding word count. It is about 300 words long! -- I hope you like my recommendation. -- Delmar Lemming)

Flight in Febrary is not Philip Kraske's first book but it ranks among his best efforts. Having read some of his manuscripts over the past quarter century (he started young!), I would say Flight in February demonstrates the maturity of a diligent, first-class wordsmith. This struck me when I got five chapters in and heard how "the rusty caster giggled and heckled" at poor Reilly, whose only response to his gray officious surroundings is a sneer and a Playboy magazine! The book abounds with tremendous details, every word chosen with care but provided with seemingly effortless writing. Canadian author John Marlin once said "to be a good novelist you have to love people." Kraske shows genuine affection for his characters. I worked as a police reporter in the Midwest and found the author's depiction of law enforcement officials in these environs rang true. The dialogue drives the story along with precision and, at times, humor and wit. These are truly believable characters.

I won't compare Philip Kraske to Jonathan Franzen or Paul Auster, but I am sure others will, given the breadth and ambition of this work. Sue Grafton's punchy prose came to mind in some passages of Flight.

Just one question haunts me. Why February in Minnesota? I am far from that frozen wasteland now but I recall it as being pretty darn chilly! Although the author assures us in the final credits (his acknowledgements, p 433 in the first edition) this work is not going to inspire more prison breaks, he sure made me wonder at the things humans can get up to, even in the dead of winter.

But the best recommendation I could give Flight in February is that it is a great read. As another reviewer has stated, once you are caught up in this thriller, you won't be able to put it down.

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