Layover, by David Bell

Seven stars

First and foremost, a large thank you to NetGalley, David Bell, and Berkley Publishing Group for providing me with a copy of this publication, which allows me to provide you with an unbiased review.

Being an avid traveller and a great fan of thriller novels, I was sure that the latest David Bell story would pull me in and leave me wanting more. There are few as busy as Joshua Fields, who logs hundreds of thousands of miles in the air each year. With that type of lifestyle comes a great deal of time spent in airports. During one layover in Atlanta, Fields runs into a beautiful woman and they share a drink at an airport bar. With both of their flights soon to board, Fields and this mystery woman prepare to go their own ways, though a scintillating kiss has Fields wanting more. He rushes to find her and boards her plane to Nashville, only to be rebuffed. Unsure of what to do next, he tries to find out all about this Morgan Reynolds, only to discover that her friends have listed her as missing. It is then that some of the pieces fall into place for Fields, who wonders if Morgan is hiding from someone. Renting a car to find Morgan, Fields finds himself in a small Kentucky college town. Much is soon revealed and none of it is quite as it seems. The local police take an interest in Fields and tie-in a larger investigation to a missing businessman and a valuable item that is also nowhere to be found. Could Morgan Reynolds be a completely different woman from the one who shared a drink with Joshua Fields? This may be the kick in the pants that Fields needs to steer clear of others while between flights. An interesting thriller, though not as impactful as I would have liked. Perhaps a little turbulent, but not in a way that would have me tossing out recommendations at this time.

I enjoy newly discovered authors, particularly when they have a collection of books from which to choose. This was my first David Bell novel, an author who comes with many recommendations from those whose opinions I value greatly. Joshua Fields proves to be an interesting, if not somewhat flimsy, character. While he is master of the skies, he seems oddly drawn to a random woman and races to learn more about her. Perhaps I ought to have used this as a yardstick for how he would develop for the rest of the novel, as he thrives on naïveté and silly choices. Juggling his work life and this obsession, Fields seems to have turned himself into an amateur sleuth, while still making some silly choices. Contrast that with Morgan Reynolds, who is always one step ahead of everyone and whose actions have repercussions that few could have foreseen. While I was no more attached to her as a character, I suppose I valued her journey a little more. With a handful of other characters, including a detective who seeks to juggle work and home responsibilities, the story moved forward and came to some expected resolution. There was nothing inherently wrong with this piece, though I was hard pressed to find that spark that left me dying to flip the page or hope for another novel in the series. David Bell is capable at his craft, keeping the chapters short and the cliffhangers coming. I may have to try some of his other work, which has received many accolades, before making a final opinion of this author.

Kudos, Mr. Bell, for entertaining your readers. Like the title, this book is likely best read to kill some time while travelling this summer.

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