It's the perfect crime. Nobody can suspect a murderer when the cause of death was clearly accidental. Were it not for the conviction of the victim's surviving wife that something went awry, the truth in Guidance to Death would not have even surfaced. It's that clever a crime: disable a plane's guidance system and let natural flight circumstances take over.
In this case, what takes over isn't just death, but the perseverance of a grieving widow and independent aviation accident investigator Frank Adams, who join forces to find the few clues pointing to foul play.
Another death reinforces the likelihood that something more than plane instrumentation went awry, and so the story unfolds with plenty of tense moments, investigative puzzles, and an attempt to silence Frank before he can piece together the few clues that point the way to a perp and a dangerous scheme.
Daniel V. Meier, Jr. crafts a story that illustrates technical aviation insights, the special approaches of an aviation investigator, and the conundrum faced by a detective who must call upon several people from his past in order to solve the present-day crime. In doing so, Frank unwittingly places his friends in as much risk as he is taking.
From political power plays and important bids for economic growth, Frank delves into the politics and secrets of individuals willing to kill for what they want. Payoffs, fictional sell-offs, and a family-owned company's involvement in a plot that is tainted with goals of revenge brings Frank to the outer limits of his investigative abilities, testing his perceptions and his suspicions.
Satisfying twists and turns of plot keep even the most seasoned murder mystery reader guessing, while the aviation industry's processes and insights will delight those who enjoy tales of blackmail and threat that take place in the unsafe skies and on the ground.
Evidence and bodies mount as Frank finds his suspicions correct—but in a way he'd never anticipated.
Murder mystery readers and libraries catering to them will find Guidance to Death an outstanding blend of action-packed thriller and whodunit. It is powered by the expertise of an author who is a retired FAA Aviation Safety Inspector able to inject all the real-world processes of the aviation industry into a compelling, can't-put-it-down inquiry that reaches its crescendo of surprise in the unfriendly skies.
Diane Donovan, Senior Reviewer
Reviewed by Lucinda E Clarke for Readers' Favorite
In Guidance to Death, Daniel V Meier Jr opens his story with a horrific plane crash. The wreckage
is so severe the authorities cannot tell what caused the crash. Was it a pilot error, a mechanical
fault, or sabotage? Aviation crash expert Frank Adams is hired by the widow to investigate
because she suspects her husband and the two other passengers were murdered. What begins as
a simple investigation becomes deadly as Adams discovers some people are determined to cover
their tracks and leave no loose ends. From the information Adams discovers, he has become a
loose end and his life, and that of the people he works with, are at risk from those who are as
ruthless as they are criminals.
I enjoyed reading Daniel V Meier Jr’s Guidance to Death. It is fast-moving, page-turning, and
exciting. Meier's knowledge of planes makes the plot realistic, but he does not overstretch you
with too many technicalities. His hero Frank Adams is no James Bond. He doesn’t win every fight,
nor shoot like William Tell. He is relatable and likable and you cannot help but cheer him on.
Other characters are equally down to earth, as they battle one twist after another as the action
speeds up. I loved his girlfriend The Major, who is more of a friend with benefits, and even Helen
Rawlson, the widow, who at first is not a likable person, but who softens toward the end. I have
read several of Meier's titles and I have enjoyed them all. This is a little different as it is pure
adventure, firmly in the crime genre, and is up there with the best. Highly recommended.
A widow’s investigation into her husband’s accidental death unearths some surprising revelations in Meier’s stellar debut installment in the Frank Adams series. When Charles Rawlson, CEO at Amertex electronics, dies in an unfortunate plane accident, his widow Helen Rawlson is convinced of foul play. She hires Frank Adams, retiree from the NTSB, who is working as an independent aviation accident investigator, to look into the matter. As Frank begins his investigation, he uncovers a sinister conspiracy of epic proportions. Fast-paced, absorbing narrative moves the action briskly along while keeping all the disparate pieces of the problem in the mix. Meier does a terrific job of maintaining a palpable current of tension throughout Frank’s investigation, and his final reveal about what happened to Charles is surprising, logical, and satisfying. Conspiracy and a good dose of intrigue build up to a shockingly dramatic ending that’s equal parts exhilarating and satisfactory. A clever, stylish mystery with page-turning twists.
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book review by Joe Kilgore
The wintry skies around Washington D.C. are dropping more than rain, sleet, and snow in this chilly thriller that starts with death and destruction in a suburban neighborhood. A plane comes apart in midair and showers the ground with both aircraft and body parts. Is this disaster the unavoidable catastrophe it initially appears to be or something infinitely more sinister? Readers are soon to find out.
The relatively young and particularly attractive widow of one of the plane crash victims is reluctant to accept preliminary findings regarding the cause of the calamity. Equipment failure and pilot error are proffered, but she suspects murder and hires Frank, an independent accident investigator, to get at the truth. Frank’s previous career with the National Transportation Safety Board buttresses his ability to explore the technical questions involved, while his consideration of more malevolent possibilities is augmented by his bulldog pursuit of the truth. Before long, lies, larceny, and lethality turn a quest for answers into a battle for survival—a battle that will test Frank’s character when he has to balance putting others in harm’s way at the expense of saving his own skin.
Author Meier employs enough technical terminology to keep the pillars of his plot credible without drowning the reader in a sea of aeronautical and avionics jargon. He skillfully melds intricacies of flight, internecine corporate skullduggery, and good old-fashioned pulse-pounding action into a satisfying stew of suspense. The pace is swift, the characters are crafty, and the read is rewarding for those who like stories seasoned with plausibility. He even finds a way to make one car following another a bit of Hitchcockian drama on the printed page.