Look Too Far Into Anything... and You'll Find Something You're Not Supposed to Know

Those chance encounters. Most of the time, they’re mere blips on the radar of our lives… memorable ones, perhaps, but tiny hiccups in otherwise ordinary days, by and large.

Every once in awhile, though… such encounters turn out to be something more, something with the power to snap us fully out of our norm and change us.

Andrew Diamond’s Gate 76 is the story of one such encounter… and all that follows. 

Freddy Ferguson is a good guy. Oh, he may look a little sketchy—a big man with a would-be ordinary-enough face that’s been pummeled a few too many times in the ring to ever rack up adjectives like “good-looking” or “trustworthy”—but it’s the troubled life he’s had which led first to his boxing career, then made him well-suited for his current gig as a private investigator. That already-seen-the-worst-in-people attitude, the instant suspicion, and a sense of hyper-awareness serve him well when observing others. So, whenever he notices something particularly… interesting, he tends to pay extra-close attention.

Anna Brook has seen plenty, too… and is probably at least as jaded as Freddy. She has made her share of bad decisions and taken a lot of wrong turns, as well, but all of that has given her an idea of what she doesn’t want out of life (pretty much, everything up until now)… and what to look out for, in the future.

And, one thing Anna most definitely knows is that boarding the plane taking off from Gate 76 is the very last thing she wants to do… although the bodyguard shepherding her roughly through the queue clearly has other ideas.

Freddy, watching the pretty-enough woman with the haunted eyes being rushed along, sees all of that, and more, because he also spots her ducking into a ladies’ room before the flight takes off… then watches another woman (but with the very same build and same cardigan sweater) emerge from the airport restroom, moments after the plane has left. 

The increasingly-intriguing mystery woman manages to disappear—Freddy has his own plane to catch, after all, and can’t follow her all day—but something about her stays on his mind, and when he later sees news that the flight which departed from Gate 76 has crashed, with no survivors, he has to find out what was—and is—really going on. Because no matter how fascinating the woman may have been, the one word that didn’t come to mind when he was keeping her in sight was “lucky”… yet right now, it’s looking like she’s one of the luckiest women on earth. 

As Freddy says, "Look too far into anything, and you'll find out something you're not supposed to know". Just what that something proves to be, well... that's where it all gets really interesting.

There aren’t many books that I put down in the middle of reading, just so I can say out loud, “DAMN, can this author write..!”, but Gate 76 is one of them. (Seriously, Diamond has major chops. And, since I was verbalizing my high opinion of his storytelling abilities to no one other than my cat, you can be sure I meant every word of it.)

What does Diamond do so very well? In a word, everything. Gate 76 is chock-full of interesting characters… but in believable, relatable ways. (His depictions enabled me to immediately envision the characters… because I’ve encountered those same people, and his words describing them rang completely true.) And, when an author imbues even the minor characters with enough life and story to make them real? You’ve got the makings of a damn good story on your hands.

Okay then, what about that story? Some nice twists and turns, for sure. I’d think I knew right where everything was going… and then something else would happen, or come to light, and suddenly things weren’t as clear-cut. Even better, the “what” and “why” of it all works perfectly with the players. (In case you haven’t already cottoned on, I’m not gonna spoil nothin’, here. You read the story, and see how it all shakes out. I don’t think you’ll regret it.)

But, if you need more convincing, here goes. Fantastic sense of place. (For instance, if you’ve ever driven across or even been in any part of Texas, you’ll appreciate the verisimilitude his depictions lend the tale.) Brilliant backstories. (How do you best understand anyone else? By knowing a little bit about how they came to be as they are, now.) Spot-on dialogue. (Everyone in Gate 76 has his/her own unique voice… just as we all do, in real life. So many authors can’t seem to quite manage that, but Diamond does, and oh-so-well.)

If you follow me, you already know I’m generally not big on doing year-end favorites lists… but if I decide to do one for 2018, Gate 76 will definitely find a place there. And, Mr. Diamond’s next work, whatever it might be, can’t come out soon enough.


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