Have you ever heard of D.B. Cooper? Because if you have, the plot of this book might seem startlingly familiar.
If you haven’t heard of D.B. Cooper, you might want to look at the Wikipedia entry, but I’ll sum up by saying he was the perpetrator of the only unsolved skyjacking in aviation history, parachuting out of an airliner somewhere over the Pacific Northwest with $200,000 strapped to his body on Thanksgiving Eve, 1971. Neither he nor his stolen money have been identified to this day despite the FBI’s best efforts.
So when a man named Bill Porter perpetrates a near-identical heist for $8 million in 1978 at the beginning of this book, I was immediately put in mind of Cooper, and mystified that the author at no point in this book mentions the Cooper case or credits it for inspiring him.
Even if this was a really great book, this failure to acknowledge taking real-life inspiration from one of the greatest unsolved crimes in history would annoy me intensely. As it is, the plot is a thorough muddle and the book can’t seem to decide whether it wants to be a thriller or a romantic suspense, falling messily in the middle with not enough thrills OR romance.
There are inconsistencies all over the place, like the villain knowing what cave to intercept the protagonists at despite his never being told. Or two beds appearing in a hotel room where there was only one the night before. Or a supposedly well-traveled career criminal having no idea where he could find a gun in the capital city of a South American country even with plenty of money at hand.
Then there’s one of my least favorite tropes making an appearance; an otherwise competent and self-sufficient heroine who’s been thriving in said South American country for several years apparently having not the faintest idea how to fight back or defend herself when a villain tries to rape her, instead just helplessly screaming and going limp. Oh, also she has ‘large breasts’ despite appearing ‘small and frail’. Definitely written by a man. Sigh.
The author is Honduran, and despite my utmost respect for anyone who is able to write in a language not their first, I actually think it’s even more important to retain a competent editor who IS a native speaker of that language. It’s very obvious that hasn’t happened here, because the language is too stilted and there’s too much telling rather than showing.
If this was an original plot, I’d probably still have given it two stars for the issues mentioned above. Ripping off a fascinating real-life case and not crediting it? This author gets one star and a black mark from me, I’m afraid.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book for review through NetGalley.