John F. Kennedy Jr. died tragically on Friday, July 16, 1999 at the age of 38 after losing control of his Piper Saratoga over the Atlantic Ocean near the coast of Martha’s Vineyard, taking with him his wife Carolyn Bessette Kennedy and his sister-in-law Lauren Bessette.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), the federal agency responsible for conducting the investigation, concluded that the accident was the result of spatial disorientation. Was this true? Is that all it was? Did the NTSB reveal all it knew? Why did John become disoriented? What were the real reasons? Strangely, no recommendations were ever issued by the NTSB following the investigation.
Stephanie Delorme Parker is a New York Times reporter and a licensed commercial pilot who flies for the love of it. She meets John F. Kennedy Jr. a year before his death when their planes almost collide in mid-air. The near miss is soon forgotten as a growing friendship develops between the two pilots. They share much in common: publishing, journalism, aviation and a penchant for somewhat crazy dreams. Like John, Stephanie is an adventure-seeker. She’s ready to take off at a moment’s notice in search of new horizons. John envies her. He invites her to become a contributor to his magazine George. They fly together and regularly meet up in Cape Cod where Stephanie has a summer cottage. Little by little, their friendship evolves into a passionate love affair with its highs and lows—a dangerous liaison that Stephanie fears will leave her on the losing end. Although she loves John deeply, she encourages him to stay with Carolyn in a marriage whose embers are fading.
On the day when the promise of their love is about to finally be fulfilled, John dies tragically. Overcome with grief, Stephanie still manages to find the strength to probe the real causes of the accident that took the life of the man she loved. She had flown with John several times. She had witnessed his strengths and weaknesses as a pilot. With the help of Matthew Jackson, one of John’s flight instructors, and Jeff Brown, her friend and colleague at the New York Times, she launches a parallel investigation. The three are spurred on by a crucial piece of equipment from the instrument panel of the Saratoga, which was found on a beach by one of the volunteers from an association of civilian pilots, and the leaking of a confidential preliminary NTSB report. Together they find the answers before the NTSB publishes its final report. Will they come to the same conclusions? Or will they go much deeper into the mystery?
A child will be born out of the secret love affair. John learns on the eve of his fatal flight that Stephanie is expecting his child. Is that why he took off in such a hurry in the mist and fog the night of the accident? Did he want to talk her out of having an abortion? Was he planning on getting a divorce? A message written by John to Stephanie the day before his death will be revealing. And what will happen to the son who survives him?
A riveting novel infused with love and sensitivity in which aviation is the backdrop!