Flight by Fran Dorf
(ViviSphere Publishing, $16.00, R) ISBN 1-9-892323-55-9
****
Flight opens at the Drummond Rehabilitation center, where Lana Paluka awakens from the catatonic state she’s lain in for twenty years. The former flower child is 38 years old now, a grown woman with few memories of how she came to be pushed off a cliff, or how she survived the attack. If it was an attack. Her then-boyfriend, Ethan Skitt, has been imprisoned for trying to murder her, and Lana doesn’t believe he did it. If only she could remember… but Lana’s memories are jumbled, and to reconstruct the events of that day, she will first need to reconstruct her life.

Jack Wells is a newspaper reporter with a passing interest in Lana’s story. He knew her as a young teenager, when she was a troubled girl with an eye for his charming older brother, Alan. Alan, now a successful doctor, also remembers Lana. Ethan, Lana, Jack, and Alan all played a role in the events leading up to that fateful day at the cliff called High Exposure, events that would lead to a murder, a woman in an institution, a man imprisoned, and secrets buried deep. Full-time care at Drummond costs a quarter-million a year. Who's been paying the bill?

The story is told from multiple viewpoints. Lana reviews her past as the daughter of the town slut, trapped in a family so dysfunctional that she would end up looking for acceptance and love in all the wrong places. Until the day Ethan Skitt took her under his wing and into his heart. Ethan, son of a free spirited woman named Sarah, is a strong central character. His story is heartbreaking; his strength of devotion inspirational. Jack, as a determinedly detached commentator, ends up in a pivotal role as he faces some long-buried truths about his family and himself.

The villain isn’t particularly well-hidden, and savvy readers will figure out the details of that eventful day long before Jack and Lana reconstruct it in their own ways. But the journey to this understanding is fascinating. Particularly engrossing are the glimpses into the mind of Lana on LSD her identification with a bird (and hence the novel’s title) is an interesting metaphor for her desire to escape her life and fly away to a new one with Ethan. It makes the loss of twenty years of her life even more tragic, and the possibility of a reunion with Ethan all the more tantalizing to the reader.

Flight is an absorbing tale of second chances, retribution, and ultimately, freedom. It’s definitely worth a look.

--Cathy Sova


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