About the Book:
On a beautiful May morning at New York’s JFK. Airport, a routine plane departs for San Francisco. At a security checkpoint, Bernice Adams finds a postcard of the Golden Gate Bridge bearing an ambiguous message. Who left the postcard behind, which flight is that person on, and what exactly does the message mean? Her supervisor dismisses her concerns but she is compelled to contact Homeland Security.
As the flight takes off each of the passengers is looking forward to reaching San Francisco, whether it’s for a family reunion, a wedding, or a new way of life. But as it emerges, there’s someone on the flight planning something terrible and these strangers’ lives entwine as they come together to help to avert a tragedy at the eleventh hour.
As the plane bears down on its destination of San Francisco, the futures of these strangers will be changed forever by a handful of accidental heroes.
You know those airport TV shows? Border Security, Aircrash Investigations, Blackbox? They’re the sort of TV shows that always seem to be on and I always find myself quite easily sucked into them. Accidental Heroes is exactly like one of those TV shows. I’ve been suffering from an illness these last few weeks and was feeling a bit flat and headachy, wanting something to read but wanting it to be quick and engaging, rather than deep and contemplative. I generally don’t read Danielle Steel anymore, but the airport premise enticed me and before I knew it, two hours had slipped by and I was finished.
I did enjoy this novel quite a lot. Danielle Steel has tapped into the present day issues of flying under the threat of terrorism and hijacking. Quite a lot of characters featured in this story, demonstrating just how wide reaching airport security has now become. From the first person in security to notice the threat, through to the search and rescue people at the end, I was rather fascinated by the entire process of investigating, all done in such a small timeframe, with rapid decisions made by multiple people in multiple locations. I also found myself captivated by the elimination process in terms of who on the plane was deemed suspect and why. It’s interesting to note the leaps that are made based on race, religion, and even gender and age. For a time, I was cringing a bit, thinking Ms. Steel was playing at a few too many stereotypes, but by the end of the novel I had adjusted my view to thinking that this may have been intentional, with Danielle using her vast amount of writing experience to demonstrate a point. In giving us a standard selection of people to observe, the kind we see when a reasonably large group of people all end up in the same place, she was better able to drive home that ‘accidental hero’ tag. Because, despite our first impressions and assumptions based on our own beliefs, we don’t always get it right. Sometimes, heroes pop up in the most unlikely of people. Well done Ms. Steel!
Accidental Heroes is fast paced, driven by multiple characters, and highly engaging. It’s a great choice if you’re looking for something to sit down with on a Sunday afternoon, and I’ll even go so far as to recommend it as a bookclub pick. It would be fun hashing out the characters over tea and cake, finding out if you all formed the same impressions only to have them turned onto their heads later in the novel.
Thanks is extended to Pan Macmillan Australia for providing me with a copy of Accidental Heroes for review.