A routine commercial flight disappears over the North Pole. No wreckage. No transponder signals.
Mitch Matthews is writer struggling to make ends meet when his wife’s brother offers them a first-class seat on a flight from Hong Kong to New York. When his wife needs to stay behind, it becomes an opportunity for some quality daddy-daughter time with his five-year-old Lilly. At check-in, they run into a strange Norwegian arguing with a huge Russian. A mysterious redhead is guarding a package in the business lounge. But everything is fine…right up until the event.
Within hours of Allied Airlines 695 disappearing, a massive international search is launched. Aircraft and ships are dispatched from Russia, America, Canada, and Norway. How can a modern airliner simply vanish in one of the most heavily monitored places on Earth?
Global tensions rise. The media and grieving families whip into a frenzy. The armed forces of America and Russia tip the world toward the brink of an apocalyptic war.
Weeks later, found on the ice in a chance discovery, the journal of Mitch Matthews reveals the incredible truth behind the disappearance of Allied 695, and what really happened in the Polar Vortex.
Author: Matthew Mather
Narrator: Tom Taylorson
Publisher: Blackstone Publishing
Running Time: 10hrs 18mins
Audio Release Date: 02/04/2019
My Rating of ‘Polar Vortex’: 3 out of 5
The concept for this really hooked me as I love anything with a touch of the unexplained to it. The idea of a plane simply vanishing and our being left with someone’s journals as a means to discover what happened had me hooked before I’d even bought the book.
For the most part the story was engaging, but there were times where I found the author flipped between having the plot meander along slowly with little or no idea of what was going to happen to push it forward, only for something entirely unexpected and out of the box to happen to drag it along. That last description is a mixture of praise and ‘did it have to go that way’. In a way, this whole paragraph sums up my 3-star feeling. That’s not to say this was a book-wide issue. For large parts I felt the plot rumbled along at a great pace.
I feel like most of, if not all of my points could start with ‘for the most part’ in this review. The characters (for the most part) were engaging and had good depth to them. There did feel like there were a few stereotypical characters thrown in that the author was trying to make you feel certain ways about only for you to suddenly realise how wrong you were. And I like that, but it was done in a fairly obvious to see what was coming kind of way.
The main character gets the whole ‘I’d do anything for my kid’ vibe coming across, but also seems a little lax at times in that regard. As developed as the characters seem, a lot of them also feel a tad one-dimensional in the fact that they have depth, but they also don’t have too much of it. It’s hard one to explain. Some of them very much have their ‘one thing’, but the author does tries to flesh that one thing out.
I’ve seen a few mixed feelings on the ending and I don’t really have a negative thing to say about it. I think it was pretty good and fit the piece well. I feel the negative feelings come from the fact that, a lot of the people might have noticed some of the issues I noticed and felt the ending might have been a bit out of nowhere, but it was an out of nowhere that worked, in my opinion.
All in all, I enjoyed Polar Vortex, but I wouldn’t rush out to read/listen to it again any time soon.
The narrator did a wonderful job of bringing the characters to life. His voices and overall acting skill really added the extra bit of depth to them that they might otherwise have been lacking. So bravo on the performance.