Airframe by Michael CrichtonThriller
The story starts with a mid-air near crash, a disturbance in high altitude that left 3 people dead and almost everyone else on the plane wounded. A group of investigators take over the case and try and figure out what happened to cause so much destruction on a flight where everything looked perfect.
This book was written more than a decade ago and some of it felt very dates, like the technology and clothing allusions. However, the inside take on the airline industry is fascinating, and relevant to me as an airline/airplane ticket consumer. Crichton handles the airline industry will all the thoroughness of an autopsy in his usual medical thrillers.
Some parts of the book ere slow, but most of it was a race to the finish. II found the parts about the brutal and violent unions to be a disappointment. As a past union member myself, I found this slightly ridiculous. Of course, I was in a teacher's union so maybe we were a bit softer-hearted than other union breeds. Violence at a work place should never be tolerated, but I felt this just perpetrated Neanderthal ideas about unions and played into stereotypes too much. The characters are static, but slightly interesting. Their lives were only relevant enough to make us care about what happens next in the story. I did like the solo female main character--it's sad to think this type of character still doesn't get much play today in the thriller genre.
The book stops way short of the near science fiction of his other thrillers. This is realism--a realistic portrayal of airplane/airline procedures and almost reads like an investigative journalistic expose. Crichton does keep true to his themes of the dangers of technological supremacy run amok and human arrogance. It's definitely not the best of Crichton's work, but, if you are a huge fan of his, then this book is not to be missed.