Reviewed the March 2014 revised version for Readers' Favorite.
The very word “betrayal” evokes strong emotion. The knowledge one has been betrayed can also evoke serious action. Such is the case in Albatross: Birds of Flight by J. M. Erickson. The story opens as Alex Burns, a member of an elite military-style group that helps to fight terrorism, discovers something his superiors would rather he did not know. Within a day, the helicopter in which he rides while on a mission over foreign soil, goes down and Alex is left to die. But, things are not always what they seem. Thus, we next meet Alex in the present day, five years later. Though it took time, Alex’s memories returned — and someone wants to know what he knows. But Alex, a changed man, is a step ahead of the game and has other plans. With the assistance of Samantha, a nurse with a chequered past, Samantha’s sister, Becky, a troubled young woman, and David, a psychologist blinded by an explosion meant to take him out, Alex creates a unit of mere civilians that pays a terrorist visit on his old unit.
J.M. Erickson has drawn tragic and needy characters in Alex, Sam, Becky and David. Each is scarred physically or emotionally — or both. Yet, while they all seek some form of justice, they choose not to bring harm to others. To meet their goal, every detail is attended to and possible required changes to their plan are anticipated and prepared for. Together, this unusual “family” strikes an unexpected community. As readers briskly turn pages, they will find it surprisingly easy to feel for these characters and even to root for them.