Burnout: The Mystery of Space Shuttle STS-281
Twilight Times, Apr 2009, $19.95
Upon reentry with seven aboard Space Shuttle STS-281 suddenly explodes into a deadly inferno. All on board are dead. An official investigation leads to a quick assertion of human error mostly by the crew.
Having known the pilot Jet Jackson who was his friend since their Air Force days, “Crash” Murphy has a difficult time accepting the official position. He begins to investigate the disaster, which leads him to Australian astronomer Dr. Michael Anders, who is also probing the Burnout. They team up and soon begin to find anomalies with the official denouement. They begin to find evidence of alien intervention, which leads them to Area 51. With the help of conspiracy buff operatives watching the locale 24/7, the pair sneaks inside seeking the truth, but neither is prepared for what they find.
This is an interesting science fiction mystery with an intriguing twist that leaves the portal open for sequels. The story line is faster than the shuttle although adjustment to the zillion NASA acronyms (thankfully a glossary helps) takes a bit of time; but once done acceleration throughout. Crash and Mike are courageous heroes, but what they learn and not learn will stun both of them and the readers. Burnout is an exciting thriller that will have fans soaring with Stephanie Osborn as the flight commander.