Review: Flight Risk by Michael McGuire, by Fred Woolhouse

Title: Flight Risk
Author: Michael McGuire
Genre: spy thriller
Favourite Part: Ted finally meets the individuals behind the terror attacks
Favourite Quote: “No doubt plenty of people think the work I do is a bit murky, a bit underhand, maybe even lacking in ethics and morality. But there is a certain honesty in my dishonesty”

When Garuda Flight GIA005 bound from Sydney to Jakarta goes missing, the Australian Secret Service call on disgraced former pilot Ted Anderson to investigate. Flight Risk follows the incredible events following this sudden disappearance, introducing us to a gripping tale of espionage, adventure and subterfuge. Ted is the ultimate ‘lone-wolf’ protagonist whose shady past has left him trusting nobody and sceptical of all others around him. While many believe the Garuda flight’s disappearance to be nothing but an accident, Ted is the first one to contemplate that there may be a more insidious plot at hand.

Australian author/journalist Michael McGuire has produced a nail biting thriller that will be sure to keep you on the edge of your seat throughout. Extensively researched and chillingly real, McGuire convinces you that the events playing out in Ted’s life could have actually happened. Set in today’s post 9/11 world, McGuire manages to play into our everyday fears of flying under the threat of terrorism—this is not a novel you want to read while travelling in mid-air! Told through a first person narrative, we are thrust into the shoes of Ted Anderson and live and breathe every moment with him as he travels across 4 continents in search of answers.

While the plot is often reminiscent of your everyday ‘James Bond’ and ‘Jason Bourne’ movie, Ted Anderson is far from your typical spy hero. A deeply flawed individual, Ted is never afraid to disobey orders if he truly believes in his own ability to solve the problem at hand. Even if that means pissing off his boss, Australian Secret Service Intelligence head honcho Bob Sorensen. Ted is down to earth, your everyday man, easily relatable, and impossible to visualise wearing a tuxedo. It was refreshing to follow an Australian character rather than the typical MI6 or CIA operative.=

While the action and tension are consistently superb, one area the novel lacks in is the emotional connection between Ted and his estranged daughter. There are several moments which manage to capture Ted’s undoubted remorse and longing to reunite with Eliza, but they often feel like an afterthought and aren’t highlighted consistently enough.

Overall, Flight Risk is a fantastic read which I highly recommend to fans of the thriller and spy genres. The first person narrative style enables the reader to jump right into the action and live every moment. McGuire effectively immerses his characters in the real world, successfully managing to capture society’s fear of the seemingly increasing threat of terrorism, specifically within aviation travel.

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