Keith Carr, an ex-Royal Air Force fighter pilot with combat experience in the Korean War is now living in Jamaica, where he makes a threadbare living flying charter cargo flights around the Caribbean in his mortgaged second-hand de Havilland Dove. After a rival pilot from his Korean War days lands a high-priced job commanding a squadron of de Havilland Vampire jet fighters for the hard-line military dictators on the nearby island nation of Republica Libra, Carr suddenly finds life more difficult . . .
Reviewed by Matt Huber in Slightly Foxed Issue 56.
Common to all Lyall’s flying thrillers are the narrators. Though they may differ in name, they have in common a dry laconic wit and throwaway lines of the kind pioneered by Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler. All are experienced fliers of battered integrity, seen-it-all cynics who are tough under pressure and have hearts, if not of gold, then at least in the right place. One identifies with them and, thanks to Lyall’s powers of description, one is with them up there in the cockpit – of a Dakota, the wartime and post-war workhorse of the skies, in The Wrong Side of the Sky; a Beaver amphibious float plane in The Most Dangerous Game; a de Havilland Dove and a worn-out US wartime Mitchell bomber in Shooting Script; and a Beechcraft Queen Air in Judas Country.
Extract from Slightly Foxed Issue 56, Winter 2017