Thin Air

George E Simpson & Neil R Burger
It's a mystery that dates back to World War II--what happened to the USS Sturman and its crew. For Naval Investigator Nicholas Hammond, the search will challenge him…and the answers will, like bodies floating on the ocean, chill him. It begins with a man waking, screaming. A series of memories have shaken him, "something to do with the Navy." For another man, his child-like drawings of men holding hands in frightened unity shatter his sanity. What both men share is fear. Enter Hammond, cocksure and independent, assigned to find the link between these incidents and the disappearance of the Sturman. Was it a last act of war from a defeated enemy, or was it something more sinister…an experiment gone wrong from within? Fast-paced, intricately plotted, THIN AIR is a thriller that defies time.

Thin Air is a book based on the supposed Philadelphia experiment, where the US tried to make a battleship disappear. It was originally released in the 1970s at the height of the Cold War. The story is a little crooked at times, but is nonetheless an intriguing read.

I guess you'd call this an alternative 'history'. Whether the actual experiment took place, I'll leave to your imagination yet this story scores highly on the technical aspects. At first, Commander Nick Hammond believes that his ex-girlfriend's husband is just suffering from bad dreams. When he investigates, he finds others have the same dream and the same doctor. He wonders what the navy have to hide.

This is an easy book to read, the story is well constructed. The chapter with the scientist Reinhart contains a plausible timeline to the events. The pace moves fast, never drawing breath. At times, the book shows its age. There's way too much casual sexism, that wouldn't look out of place in a seventies cop show. While probably the norm for the era, the sort of takes the edge off the story. At times I had to grit my teeth. The story eventually reaches a climax, again well written.

So what are my views of the book? The story is brilliant, the characters and sexism less so. Looking into the supposed story that the book is based on was interesting. Like all those UFO, pyramid stories, this one wouldn't look out of place in an Indiana Jones film. It's a story that had me think, yeah, what if it were true. Four out of five, marred by the seventies style writing.

Review by Brompton Sawdon
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Brompton Sawdon - Author

Brompton loves books and is always willing to give a viewpoint on books that have been exciting or disappointing.

From the top of a tower, somewhere in the Pennine Hills, Brompton views the world though world weary eyes. Occasionally ranting or raving over something that may seem irrelevant to you but matters to Brompton.

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