Excerpt from Blackout by John J. Nance, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Blackout

by John J. Nance

Blackout by John J. Nance X
Blackout by John J. Nance
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Feb 2000, 400 pages
    Paperback:
    Jan 2001, 400 pages

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt

Prologue

Aboard SeaAir 122, in flight, over the Gulf of Mexico, 180 miles southwest of Tampa, Florida 11:43 A.M. local/1643 Zulu

Karen Briant suppressed a smile as she watched Jim Olson struggle. His athletic body was stretched to its six-foot limit, his jeans just inches from her face as he stood on tiptoe and yanked again at the door of the overhead compartment. It opened at last, and she heard him unzip his carry-on bag and rummage around. He grunted with satisfaction and reclosed the bag before looking down at her.

"Good. I feel better now," he said, snapping the compartment shut.

"And what, exactly," she began as he slid back into the window seat, "were you afraid you'd forgotten, Sir?" She ruffled her shoulder-length auburn hair and looked at him with mock suspicion. "Not another self-indulgent gift from Victoria's Secret, I hope?" Another bikini would be too much. She was already feeling overexposed in the revealing sundress that he'd bought for her.

He smirked and shook his head in response as he scanned the right wing of the huge three-engine Boeing/McDonnell-Douglas MD-11 jetliner, noting the towering cumulus clouds in the distance. He turned back to her sparkling green eyes, his laugh coming easily. It was a feature of him she particularly treasured.

"Not important, young lady," he said, tuning out a routine PA announcement.

"Sure it's important!" Karen coaxed. "When I agree to spend a week in the Canary Islands with a man, I want to make sure he's got the right stuff."



"How do you mean, 'right stuff'?" Jim asked, raising his eyebrows.

"Well, you're a pilot, and pilots are supposed to pack the right stuff, right?"

"I'm an airline pilot, not Chuck Yeager."

"Maybe that's not the 'stuff' I'm talking about. You obviously have something in that bag up there you were worried about leaving."

"And now I'm not," Jim said, suppressing the urge to give her the engagement ring now as he rode the small wave of relief that he hadn't left it back in Houston.

No, he cautioned himself. It all depends on this week together.

He had to be sure.

She squeezed his hand and chuckled as Jim looked out the window, mentally calculating the distance to the line of 60,000-foot-high cumulonimbus clouds towering over the Gulf of Mexico to the north of the jetliner's course. He wondered what the pilots were seeing on radar. The small but vicious hurricane north of that line was threatening New Orleans, but they should slip safely to the south of it-according to his check of the weather map a few hours ago.

Relax, for crying out loud! Jim told himself. This isn't even your airline! Besides, we're on vacation. They can handle it just fine without me.

He squeezed Karen's hand in return, breathing in the soft hint of her perfume and letting a warm tingle of anticipation wash over him.

This was going to be a wonderful week.

Key West Naval Air Station, Florida 11:43 A.M. local/1643 Zulu

Retired Chief Master Sergeant Rafe Jones looked up from the complex instruments of the mobile test van he operated under civilian contract for the Air Force. He squinted through his sunglasses, trying to focus on the aging F-106 fighter/interceptor as it sat at the far end of the runway, its image undulating in the heat, waiting for his remote control team to start the takeoff.

Rafe took a deep breath, savoring the signature aroma of the Gulf of Mexico wafting in on a hint of fresh salt air, the heat a balmy pleasure. He double-checked the data link between the mobile control van and the aircraft, satisfied it was steady on all channels. His mouth was dry again, and not for want of water. This was the part that always unnerved him: launching a full-sized pilotless airplane over a populated area with nothing to keep it safe but a data stream of radioed commands. Sometimes the F-106 target drones his team operated carried a live Air Force safety pilot, but today only a dummy crammed full of sensors occupied the cockpit.

Reprinted from Blackout by John J. Nance by permission of Putnam Pub. Group, a member of Penguin Putnam Inc. Copyright (c) 2000 by John J. Nance. All rights reserved. This excerpt, or any parts thereof, may not be reproduced in any form without permission.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

Join & Save $10!

Discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten. One-year membership: $29

Find out more


Today's Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: The Book Collectors
    The Book Collectors
    by Delphine Minoui
    About halfway through The Book Collectors, I was disappointed. I came into the book with a ...
  • Book Jacket: Blue Sky Kingdom
    Blue Sky Kingdom
    by Bruce Kirkby
    Who hasn't dreamed of escaping all of the trappings of today's modern life and finding a secluded, ...
  • Book Jacket: My Heart Underwater
    My Heart Underwater
    by Laurel Fantauzzo
    Corazon — Cory — Tagubio is a Filipina-American teenager living with her family in ...
  • Book Jacket: Black Sun
    Black Sun
    by Rebecca Roanhorse
    Reading the first book in a series is always difficult because readers know that, by definition, it ...

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The Smallest Lights in the Universe
    by Sara Seager

    A luminous memoir by an MIT astrophysicist who must reinvent herself in the wake of tragedy.
    Reader Reviews

Book Club Discussion
Book Jacket
The Exiles
by Christina Baker Kline

The author of Orphan Train returns with an ambitious, emotionally resonant historical novel.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Win This Book!
Win Jack

Return to Gilead with Jack, the instant New York Times bestseller

Enter to win Marilynne Robinson's latest novel in her classic series.

Enter

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

I G I O Ear A O T O

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.