Book Review: Airside

James Swallow ~ Airside


Beleaguered businessman Kevin Tyler’s life is imploding: he’s spent months setting up a deal to open an office in Northern Germany, risking everything he owns to push the project through – but at the last possible moment, his partners renege on the agreement when another party sweeps in with a better offer.

Left high and dry, Tyler knows he is going home to bankruptcy and an uncertain future. And to 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 in the airside zone of a remote municipal airport, Kevin’s luck seems to have run out – until he stumbles upon a bag of money that could be the solution to all his woes.

There’s just one problem – the money is part of a conspiracy of blackmail and murder, and those involved are willing to do anything to keep it…

Author Insight

What is an interesting fact you learnt while researching/writing Airside?

One of the slightly morbid details I came across while working on the book was learning all about the business of ‘repatriation’ – that is, flying home the remains of people who have passed away while in another country. Most airline passengers are blissfully unaware that they could be sharing their flight with the recently deceased down in the cargo hold – tens of thousands of bodies are flown around the world yearly and allegedly, there’s even a codename for them used by some airlines – “Jim Wilson”, taken from the name of the company that manufactures the boxes that caskets are carried in. 


A lot of books these days seem to be written with a film in mind. While this does make them visual, it makes the narration jarring, choppy and difficult to follow.

Airside is one of these books. It has all the expectation of an action-packed movie, with multiple characters, close-ups and drone footage. That’s all very well, but it makes it very hard to read. The beginning is painfully slow, with 100 pages introducing a few characters all sat in an airport. It isn’t immediately gripping and is quite dull. It does eventually get going, but readers will need to suspend belief to feel satisfied with the ending.

None of the characters is likeable, which immediately makes empathy tricky. It also feels as though we are missing some information on Maddie, Andrea and Sasha who lack the depth other characters are given.

The idea of a man in the wrong place at the wrong time is a good concept, and it will work as a film. Unfortunately as a book it’s implausible, nothing particularly ground-breaking and falls a little flat.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

I was provided with a copy of the book by Welbeck Publishing. Opinions my own.

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