Last Update 7/21/18

Air Bridge by Hammond Innes, Avon, 1970 (originally published in 1951) 

The protagonist has somewhat unwillingly gotten himself on the wrong side of the law. This leads to his working with a man who is obsessed with perfecting a revolutionary new kind of aircraft engine. Our hero is eventually blackmailed into stealing a plane, but in doing so he forces a friend to parachute down into the Russian Zone of Germany. His conscience bothers him so he goes to look for him and has various adventures before the obsessed man commits murder to protect his business operation. He also stole the plans from a man now dead whose daughter is determined to get them back. The protagonist is such a miserable person that this didnít entirely work for me. 7/21/18

Tobacco Road by Erskine Caldwell, Signet, 1959 (originally published in 1932)

This is one of Caldwellís two most famous novels and is possibly the most depressing book I have ever read. Itís set somewhere in the rural South during the Depression and most of the characters are on the verge of starvation. They live in hovels, are uneducated, have no ambition for a better life and no respect for one another, and perform acts of casual cruelty throughout. The chief protagonist ends up dying in a fire. The prose is great but this was really difficult to read because of the horrible portrait it draws, though it is fortunately quite short. 7/12/18

The Angry Mountain by Hammond Innes, Ballantine, 1950

A businessman visiting Soviet occupied Czechoslovakia gets caught up in intrigue when an old friend is arrested by the secret police. Most of the story takes place in Italy when the friendís escape somehow goes awry and the protagonist discovers that a war criminal is masquerading as another old acquaintance. The climax takes place against the backdrop of an eruption of Mount Vesuvius. This is my least favorite Innes. I disliked the protagonist immensely, the plot involves a lot of coincidences and the refusal of characters to provide information to each other that would have made things easier for both parties. They escape by taking off in an airplane over a runway that somehow has been untouched by falling boulders, lava flows, falling ash, and seismic activity. 7/11/18

The Survivors by Hammond Innes, Bantam, 1950

The protagonist gets caught up in a whaling expedition in Antarctica during which a man is lost overboard, either suicide or murder. The chief suspect in the latter case is the son of the man who owns the company. This manís estranged wife is also present and she is the daughter of the dead man. Through some secretive maneuvering, she now holds controlling interest in the company, which makes her a prime target for another killing. An attempt at murder disables three small ships and places their crews on the ice, and when the larger factory ship tries to reach them, it sets the stage for an even greater tragedy. Literally chills and thrills ensue. 7/8/18

Dallas by Will F. Jenkins, Gold Medal, 1950 

Novelization of the movie about an ex-Confederate officer who adopts a false identity to avoid pursuit while he tracks down the bandits who killed his family. Gary Cooper starred. The bandits are three brothers, one of whom pretends to be a respectable citizen. After a rather standard series of adventures, the hero is able to kill all three brothers, marries the girl he meets along the way, and is granted a pardon for his past crimes. There is a good deal of sympathy for the Confederacy sprinkled throughout the story. 7/3/18

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