Picks and Pans Review: Deadspin

updated 01/12/1998 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 01/12/1998 AT 01:00 AM EST

by Gregory Michael MacGregor

Page-Turner of the Week

IT STARTS AS A SIMPLE BREACH OF CONTRACT case. British aircraft manufacturer Pegasus Technologies is suing Arrow Dynamics over its design for what was supposed to be a lightweight plane for recreational pilots. Seems the streamlined little single-prop StormTree turned out to be unflyable. Without warning, it slips into a virtually unrecoverable free fall called a dead spin.

But nothing in this debut novel by L.A. lawyer MacGregor is quite as it appears—and civil litigation was never this exciting. Arrow is owned by a Perot-esque billionaire with White House aspirations. The plaintiffs are secretly being funded by a cabal of retired military types set on avenging old betrayals. Caught in the middle, attorney Chris Lang tries to present his case despite questionable evidence, disappearing witnesses and a suspiciously subjective judge. The author takes his time building characters and thickening his plot. But once the trial begins, MacGregor pushes the thrills to full throttle, and the reader is happy to go along for the ride. (Bantam, $22.95)

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