2011 August 31 • Wednesday
The first line is "They gave me the okay from the control tower and I told the girl to take it down".
Buz Johnson is a war veteran who distinguished himself in combat as a pilot. He can still do amazing things with airplanes but he has a drinking problem and ekes out a living with a degrading job as an instructor at a flying school. He hates his boss but loves his boss's step-daughter. She loves him too but won't go out with him until he gets his act together.
Buz gets an offer for a much better job from an old friend but Buz doesn't want to take the charity. Instead he goes in on a bank robbery with a vile character who has a plan to rob a small bank in the middle of nowhere and use a plane to escape.
The Devil Wears Wings is a short novel, the kind that would have appeared in its entirety in one issue of one of the many fiction magazines that dominated American newsstands in the first half of the twentieth century.
It's brisk and engaging but a bit simplistic, a decent way to pass the time but not especially memorable or even that exciting. Buz is a well-realized character and the action scenes are effectively tense.
The most interesting and exciting writing in the Black Lizard edition can be found in Whittington's introduction, in which he talks about his career as a writer. I'd like to hear more of that story!