Book Review: Black Wings by Kathleen Toomey Jabs

The following review originally appeared on Book End Babes, a website devoted to a love of reading and to learning about new authors.

When I read the synopsis of Black Wings, I was intrigued. OOOH, a Naval Mystery. Here’s what sucked me in:

LT Bridget Donovan suspects the worst when her former Naval Academy roommate, Audrey Richards, perishes in a botched take-off from an aircraft carrier. The Navy says it’s an accident, but facts don’t add up. Could it be suicide, or murder? Donovan’s unofficial investigation into what really happened, both during their past Academy days and in Richards’ final hours, forces her to examine the concepts of honor, justice and the role of loyalty in pursuit of those ideals.

I personally don’t know much about the Navy as my close friends are in the Army and in the Air Force. I was a tad worried that I might not be able to decipher the book because of the jargon. It’s written so clearly and any jargon that Toomey Jabs uses is explained in context.

I feel like the last few reviews I wrote for you were about fictions with strong female characters. Black Wings is no different. Lieutenants Bridget Donovan and Audrey Richards are two strong women fighting to find their place in the male-dominated world of the Navy.

I find it so interesting that Toomey Jabs plays up the stereotypes of women in the Navy so well and this scenario provides a lot of insight in to what women in the military still may be facing. She tells us in the acknowledgements that she drew upon some of her experiences in the academy and the people she knew there. I’m curious to know which experiences she brought into this work of fiction and if some of the evil guys are based on those characters.

I loved the almost always optimistic Audrey, who even when she was afraid she would lose it all, still fought against sexism and against the taunting of the men. “Onward and upward” she would always tell Bridget, her best friend, confidant and roommate.

But it was Bridget who made this novel for me. Maybe I really liked her character because she reminded me of myself. If I was Bridget, I would go after the truth, no matter what the price. Whether you work in Public Affairs like Bridget, or are a journalist like Gleason, you are always looking to find out the truth and to make sure the whole story is told.

Gleason is an interesting character. I would even consider him a main character, even though he isn’t always in the dialogue. He’s the driving force behind Bridget’s quest for the truth and helps her piece together what really happened to Audrey.

And the who done it, it depends which part of the mystery you want to solve. I figured it out toward the end, but was stunned to hear about the other players in Audrey’s plane crash. In some parts, you can draw your own conclusions.

I usually don’t like epilogues. I feel they always tie the story in a nice little bow at the end. Not this one. Toomey Jabs leaves you wanting more and more and more. If you are reading this, I WANT A SEQUEL! Bridget makes a huge decision in the epilogue and I want to know more! I want to know how it affects her life, her career and the Navy!

This page turner is a MUST READ!

Have any of you ever read a Naval mystery? If you have, share your recommendations with us!