Prather’s Pick: ‘Accidental Heroes’ a feel good thriller
A message on a postcard is a “trigger” for the plot in this week’s novel. “Accidental Heroes,” by Danielle Steel, is a suspense thriller, but it is more than that. In the novel, as the title implies, some ordinary people are thrust into the role of heroes, and the ending will make the reader feel good, indeed.
This new novel begins as Bernice Adams, mother of a 6-year-old son, is starting her shift as TSA security at JFK International Airport. She’s worked there for five years, while all the time studying for her law degree.
Bernice watches as the crew arrives for a flight to San Francisco. Forty-two-year-old Helen Smith is the pilot who will be flying an Airbus A321, one of two planes headed for San Francisco that day. Helen has been flying for the airlines two years, but before that, she was a decorated fighter pilot in the Air Force in Iraq.
Riding in the cockpit with her is Jason Andrews, a young, arrogant co-pilot, and Capt. Connor Gray. Gray is retiring from the airlines and is riding in the cockpit as a courtesy passenger.
Nancy Williams, one of the flight attendants, has just discovered she is pregnant but hasn’t had a chance to tell her husband yet. The other attendant is Joel McCarthy. He and his partner, Kevin, plan to be married in two days.
As the crew passes by, co-pilot Jason Andrews makes a comment about African Americans, and most of the TSA agents, as well as pilot Helen Smith, warn she may have to write him up. It is clear that Jason is a young, cocky brat.
Meanwhile, Bernice helps the passengers through security. There’s a well-dressed, somewhat uptight-looking businesswoman with a corporate look who is nervous about the flight. Bernice is pretty sure she spots famous movie star Susan Morrow, wearing dark glasses.
A young Muslim couple, Ahmad and Sadaf, are flying to San Francisco to go to school, and a group of 14 girls, part of a chorus from Queens, and their chaperone, board, too. A tearful mother says goodbye to her two children, a boy and girl, who will fly unaccompanied to visit their grandparents.
A young father, who looks quite disorganized, has his baby with him. There are also several businessmen on the flight, plus two senior attendants assigned to first class and two younger attendants for coach.
As the flight gets ready to take off, Bernice notices a large postcard that has been left behind in one of the plastic bins. On the back of the card, someone has scrawled, “You will remember me forever.” At first, Bernice is ready to put it I the trash, but she puts it in a drawer, instead, and later, in her pocket.
After the flight has been in the air about an hour, Bernice worries about the postcard. It nags at her. Finally, she calls the office of airport security. She realizes that she may be reprimanded. However, Dave Lee is bothered by the postcard, too. He calls Ben Waterman at Homeland Security about a possible “situation.”
What follows is a must-turn-the-page adventure for the reader and a great ending.
I bought this novel in paperback for $8.99. You can also be able to find it at the Craig branch of Moffat County Libraries.
Stories enrich our lives. We tell them, listen to them, read them, repeat them, write them, watch them on TV, enjoy them in theaters. Stories teach us, entertain us, make us laugh, ease our social situations, and cement our friendships.