The Last Pilot

Author: Benjamin Johncock
Rating: 2.5 / 5 stars
Verdict: Bury

Where are all the quotation marks in this novel???  It feels likes a punctuation thief slid in though the sliding glass door in the middle of the night, black ski mask and all, and robbed all the dialogue in this novel of its quotation marks while the editor slept.  I don’t know if this is a new fad that’s developing or what, but it did not work well for this novel.  For one, it made it impossible to speed read, and a few sections of this novel I could have definitely speed read through.  To try to make it less difficult to tell who the heck is talking or if anyone is talking at all, Johncock decides to use the word “said” is annoying abundance.  Throughout the novel, I am constantly reading “Jim said” or “Grace said” or “John said”.  You know, if you used quotation marks, you wouldn’t need the incessant use of this verb.  At least throw some synanoms in every once in a while man to change it up.

But I digress.

I went into this novel thinking it was going to be a balls to the walls tale about a test pilot who also has to deal with issues at home.  I thought it was going to be a tale about test pilots and astronauts at the birth of the space race, and a story about how astronauts are humans too, with families and problems of their own.  As a lover of space exploration, this type of plot immediately draws my attention.  At even the mention of the first astronauts, I was searching my country’s library catalog and requesting a copy.  I probably should of read a little more into the synopsis.

Instead of an action packed adventure with a side of family drama, the flying and the space race are more of a backdrop to the story of Jim, Grace, and Duck.  And yes, it is a heartwarming and also sad story, but it isn’t strong enough to carry this story in the end.  The characters are interesting enough (except Grace who is basically there as a wife/mother figure and for absolutely nothing else), but this book reads more like a boring biography than anything else.  Perhaps I had unrealistic expectations for this story, but I am definitely walking away disappointed.


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