Gate 76, by Andrew Diamond

Eight stars

First and foremost, a large thank you to NetGalley, Andrew Diamond, and Stolen Time Press for providing me with a copy of this publication, which allows me to provide you with an unbiased review.

What at first seems to be an airline disaster thriller soon takes on a life of its own in Andrew Diamond’s latest novel. While waiting to board his flight back to DC, Freddy Ferguson notices another passenger in queue at Gate 76, a flight soon departing San Francisco for Honolulu. This passenger, a fairly attractive blonde, seems distraught and slips out of line at the last minute, rushing to board another plane. As Ferguson lands in DC, the news is full of reports of that Hawaii-bound flight, which blew up soon after takeoff and killed all those on board. Ferguson and the Private Investigation firm for which he works is soon hired by the airline to look into what might have happened. Even with a baggage handler in custody in San Francisco, something does not seem right, especially since Ferguson saw that woman acting oddly. Ruled one of the dead passengers, Ferguson knows this woman, Anna Brook, may hold the clue to better understanding what actually happened and who is to blame. Sifting through all the paperwork and following up on leads sees Ferguson chase down a tangential idea to the heart of Texas, where things take an interesting turn and leave him wondering if he can penetrate the layers of red tape put in place by the Feds. Might there be something more sinister than an act of terror? Ferguson may have bitten off more than he can chew with this case, as he battles his own personal demons from the past. Diamond offers readers an interesting thriller that evolves continuously. Recommended for those who like a little mystery with their high-paced thrillers.

This being my introduction to the world of Andrew Diamond, I was not sure how I would react. The dust jacket blurb had me hooked and the novel began well, developing not only the backstory of Freddy Ferguson’s rough life before becoming a PI, but also some of the more personal aspects to the man’s life that shaped him. Diamond creates a number of interesting characters that could, should he choose, be the foundation of an entire series. The uniqueness of some central characters mesh well and give the reader much to hold their attention, though I will admit that the story does develop in such a way that there are numerous individuals who emerge and whose storylines must be followed, causing a degree of confusion at some points. Working with a mix of short and longer chapters, Diamond pulls the reader into the middle of the story and develops the plot effectively, creating both the slow revelation and the cliffhanger moments in equal measure. I enjoyed Diamond’s varied nature when it came to presenting the narrative and the twists taken to get to the final outcome, leaving the reader to piece the entire case together over the span of the book. These twists keep things engaging and free from a predictable outcome. I’ll surely read another Andrew Diamond novel, given the chance to do so.

Kudos, Mr. Diamond, for this wonderful piece. I hope some of your other pieces are just as exciting and that you’ll consider bringing Freddy Ferguson back for more.

A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: