By: Jacek Waliszewski
Publication Date: July 2022
Reviewed by: Holly Connors
Review Date: September 16, 2022
A retired Green Beret with a somewhat mysterious past, a strong-willed woman who loves to fly, and an adorable three-legged Husky with a penchant for roaming set the stage for debut author Jacek Waliszewski's unique romance Air Boat.
Luke is an ex-Green Beret who has attempted to leave his past behind and make a new life in the woods of Montana. He lives alone in a house that he is slowly fixing up, and spends his free time fishing on a nearby lake. We first meet Luke as he settles in for a quiet morning of fishing. The lake is quiet except for the sounds of a nearby flock of geese. But the quiet is soon destroyed by a low-flying air boat. As the plane gets close, the geese panic and fly - right toward the plane. In order to avoid the birds, the pilot is forced to immediately dive toward the water...and Luke. The young man jumps into the water, flipping his kayak and losing his favorite fishing rod in the process. Yes, Luke is very upset.
Back at his cabin, Luke soon meets a lost dog - a three-legged husky, that, according to his collar, goes by the name of Saint. Perhaps Luke realizes just how lonely he is when he starts to plan a life with the sweet dog, buying food and a dog bed for his new buddy. But Saint's owners have posted flyers about the dog all over town and when Luke's friend hands him one of the lost dog flyers, Luke decides to do the right thing and return Saint to his rightful owners.
Arriving at Saint's home to return the dog, Luke meets Pierce and his wife Barbara. The military man agrees to stay for dinner as a "thank you" for finding and returning their dog, and soon meets the couple's daughter Stella. Things look promising until Luke discovers that Stella was the pilot of the plane that almost hit him. So much for sparks flying. But perhaps things will turn-around thanks to Saint, some flying lessons, and a trip to Minnesota...
Air Boat is one of those very enjoyable romance novels that quickly grabs you and before you know it, you've finished reading. While the writing was a bit stiff in the first few chapters, the author soon finds his stride and the story really takes off. Luke was an interesting character - he definitely had walls built around him, and whether those walls will come down thanks to Stella will keep readers guessing. Stella, in contrast to many woman portrayed in romance novels, was a very strong woman who didn't need a man to make her complete. There are some tense moments and events that will emote feelings of excitement, anticipation and a comment of "I did not see that coming." Kudos to Jacek Waliszewski for entering the highly competitive romance genre with a debut that should help establish him as an author to watch.
Quill says: Romance, suspense, and a few unexpected twists and turns makes Air Boat a very satisfying read.