Neider, noted critic and editor and a writer of extraordinary gifts, here tells a gripping story inspired by a real-life experience. We are as terrified and desperate as the narrator, Joel Stevenson, one of 256 passengers on a plane off course in the Antarctic. Joel tries but fails to convince the pilot that they are in a whiteout, about to slam into monstrous Mt. Erebus. The only one left alive after the disaster, Joel torments himself with guilt both as a survivor and as a man who has failed in human relationships. Later, he is eager to fly, as requested by kin of the crash victims, to scatter their ashes over the site. Joining him in the helicopter are the pilot, copilot and Joel's lover, Catherine Waterhouse, a Navy doctor. A second nightmare takes place when the helicopter hits the great mountain, and the four people are beyond rescue in merciless, subzero winds. What transpires during their fight for survival is a drama that affects Joel and Catherine permanently, one that readers won't soon forget. (November)
A personal experience with a plane crash is the seed for this novel set in Antarctica. Joel Stevenson is a history professor visiting the frozen continent. Asked to accompany a civilian plane tour, he accepts despite premonitions; the flight does crash, and everyone else is killed. A second trip shortly thereafter to scatter the ashes of some of the dead also crashes, and again Stevenson is a survivor. The tale is about this unfortunate's thoughts concerning his survival, the people he meets, the impact Antarctica has on him, and the brooding presence of smoldering Mt. Erebus. The dialogue is stilted, but the emotions are true. Overflight is not about survival so much as dealing with internal demons. The introspection and the exotic locale combine to make it a serious consideration for purchase.W. Keith McCoy, Dowdell Lib., South Amboy, N.J.