26 September 2023


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Reviewed by Rama Gaind.

By James Swallow, Welbeck Publishing Group, $32.99.

Feeling sad is like having a dark cloud above one’s head. Businessman Kevin Tyler was troubled, unhappy and didn’t care about what other people thought. His unrest is palpable from the opening page.

As we meet him, he wills his mind to stay blank, to stay rooted in that empty moment and as far from harsh reality as possible. He wanted nothing in his mind, nothing in his heart … nothing at all.

Kevin had spent months setting up a deal to open an office in northern Germany, risking everything he owned to push the project through, but at the last moment, his partners renege on the agreement. His life appears to be crashing.

He’s left high and dry, knowing he is going home to bankruptcy and an uncertain future. Add insult to injury, an overbooked flight sees him bumped off the last plane home, leaving him behind to wait out a storm until the next departure the following morning.

Stranded by a storm in the airside zone of a remote municipal airport, Kevin stumbles upon a bag of money that could be the solution to all his woes. His attempts to come home rich, however, are thwarted by a notorious gang with the intent to kill for what is theirs.

Airside is an engaging novel, as Swallow takes a break from his normal style and tries something with a different tone. So, this is what “reader complicity” stories are all about – where you put a character in a compelling situation and wonder what you would do in their shoes!

A former journalist, a BAFTA nominee and the award-winning writer of over 50 books, Swallow has come up with an intimate, tightly-focused thriller set more or less in one key location over the period of a single night.

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