Flight of the Black Swan

Fiction - Adventure
82 Pages
Reviewed on 02/15/2015
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

In addition to creating the Birds of Flight series and the other award-winning science fiction stories, Future Prometheus and Intelligent Design, J. M. Erickson holds a BA in psychology and sociology from Boston College and a master’s degree in psychiatric social work from the Simmons School of Social Work. Certified in cognitive behavioral treatment and a post-trauma specialist, he is also a senior instructor of psychology and counseling at Cambridge College, visiting lecturer at Salem State University’s School of Social Work and a senior therapist in a clinical group practice in the Merrimack Valley, Massachusetts.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Jane Finch for Readers' Favorite

Flight of the Black Swan by J.M. Erickson is part of the Birds of Flight series and is an action/adventure tale with espionage at its core. When the chairman of the Foreign Intelligence Agency is found dead, Alexander Burns discovers the chairman’s hidden bunker holding a wealth of secrets, missions, and covert ops that could potentially change the world. So unfolds the world of the secret agent as the story encompasses missions from America to Canada and France. Missing persons, revenge, stalking - all have pivotal roles in this fast-paced thriller.

In this novella, it is assumed the reader has already read the previous four books in the series, which will give them familiarity with the characters. However, as a stand-alone read I found the story believable and captivating. Author J.M. Erickson has done a splendid job of creating a complex yet exciting adventure. The writing is smooth and the characters well-developed and with a well-formed storyline that kept me page-turning to the end.

For lovers of espionage thrillers, this will definitely encourage a reader to discover the earlier books in the series. For those who have not, there is a cast of characters at the end which is helpful, although it would have been preferred at the start before the story commences. There are complex characters where previous knowledge would be an advantage, but I was able to follow the storyline without having read the character list. All in all, an enjoyable short read which would work well as a taster for the other full-length books in the series.

Jack Magnus

Flight of the Black Swan is a novella that follows the plot lines of the Birds of Flight adventure series written by J.M. Erickson. It's May 2nd again, and John Helms and his partner Diane Welch are getting ready for a meet with Rachael Janeson, who had formerly worked for the FBI and was later revealed as having ties with Alexander Burns. Instead, they meet with her uncle, Dr. Volkov Volkanoff. He informs them that Rachel and Burns are "tying up loose ends" that still persist long after the downfall of Eric Icarus Daniel, the former head of a secret intelligence agency. They agree to cooperate in a partnership with Volkanoff, and Burns continues to work at protecting his family from any remaining threats.

I was pleased to see J.M. Erickson had written Flight of the Black Swan, a novella based on his Birds of Flight series. I've read the books in the series and have come to consider Burns, Becky and the rest of the characters as old friends. Erickson provides just enough background in Black Swan to let it stand on its own and he includes a List of Characters which is filled with information about the series. This said, I strongly recommend that new readers begin with the first book in the series to get the full power of this continuing saga. I enjoyed Flight of the Black Swan. It brought back to me all the excitement and adventure of the Birds of Flight stories, and it made me think that it's time, perhaps, to reread these remarkable stories. Flight of the Black Swan is most highly recommended.

K.C. Finn

Flight of the Black Swan is a thrilling action/adventure novella by J.M. Erickson which gives readers further insight into the gritty and action-packed world of the Birds of Flight series. The novella picks up where book four, Falcon, left off, and retains the multi-character narration that readers of the series will already know and love. Departing from the usual novel format where the Falcon, Alexander Burns, is the focal point of our attention, Flight of the Black Swan allows readers to gain further insight into many of the series’ most beloved side characters, CEO of Allied Federation International Diane Welch, and the retired director of the FBI, John Helms, to name my personal favourites.

J.M. Erickson displays a true flair for character development in Flight of the Black Swan that his full length novels sometimes don’t have room for, due to their action-packed nature. Though this novella has plenty of intrigue, and answers many of the questions that fans would be dying to know after reading Falcon, Flight of the Black Swan is much more of a character driven episode than the series’ mainstream tales. Where I’ve found the full length novels to be set at a dizzying pace in the past due to their highly complex plot, this novella slowed things down just enough for me to find new appreciation for characters I hadn’t given thought to in the previous books. Fans of the existing series will no doubt love this extra slice of intrigue, and those who may have lost their way during reading will find this novella a welcome addition – and clarification – to the series' complex web of politics, military and daring secret deeds.

Kayti Nika Raet

Flight of the Black Swan by J.M. Erickson is an action novella that starts off where Falcon ended. It explores some of the questions that were left unresolved. Based on a four-book series, Flight of the Black Swan is an action-packed treat for fans of the series as Erickson weaves a globe-trotting tale full of assassins, operatives and double crosses. Eric I. Daniels, the once powerful chairman of the Foreign Intelligence Agency, is dead. All of his black ops, covert missions and conspiracies have come to light after his secret bunker is discovered by Alexander Burns, Falcon 5. As Becky Littleton's desire for resolution leads to a final confrontation with organized crime boss Angelo Panelli, AFI specialists Christine Dillon and Ana Ramsey see justice at their fingertips as they finally corner Jeffery “Snowflake” Glenn in Montreal, Canada. But of all these passions, it is the “Black Swan” that outshines them all.

Flight of the Black Swan by J.M. Erickson, is a short, fast paced read that packs quite a punch. I can easily see it becoming an espionage movie. Black Swan reads better as a treat for the fans than as an introduction to the series since the characters get only the briefest of introductions. Hints at their motivations and back story are minimal. I assume they've all been delved into in the previous novels. As such, I couldn't get into the story as much as I would have liked and that tempered some of my enjoyment. It is definitely an action novel and, the way Erickson crafts his scenes, is sparsely written yet powerfully done. I also enjoyed reading the excerpts from The Rime of the Ancient Mariner at the start of each chapter; they set the tone perfectly. A short, quick read, great for fans hungry for Erickson's next book.

James Masters, IBR

An impressive level of complexity and character development for a shorter book. Although “Flight of the Black Swan” is shorter than the first 4 books of the series, it still delivers an action-packed entertaining read that had me glued to my Kindle (as usual with these books). The only thing I wish was different was if there could have been even a brief recap, summary throughout to refresh me of some character/situations, because even though I’ve read the previous books, it has been some time and I forget some details. But I still really enjoyed it, and this series continues to impress me as a whole. Recommend. (4-5 stars stars) James Masters– Goodreads; Shelfari; Barnes & Noble; Indie Book Reviewers

Stacy Decker, IBR

WOW!! One can always depend on J.M. Erickson and his “Birds of Flight” series to entertain. Each book (or novella) very well written, and I’m continuously impressed with Mr. Erickson’s amazing capacity to come-up with new story lines that actually keep me interested, continue to build on the other characters, and all makes sense for the story arc. All in all a good read. I only wish it was longer! (4 stars) Stacy Decker – Goodreads; Shelfari; Barnes & Noble; Indie Book Reviewers

Karen Matthews, IBR

I can say with certainty that I am so glad that I have invested my time in this entire series by J.M. Erickson, and it is time well-spent! I remember when I read the first book last year not being sure if it would really be something I was into, as it didn’t seem like my typical reading fare. But the great writing, awesome, strong characters, and the challenging plotlines that are unpredictable and keep you on your toes has made me an addict! I love these books, and they seem to get better and better…This series needs to be read in order, and this one, “The Flight of The Black Swan” isn’t as long as the others, but it still makes a very solid contribution to the overall storylines and character insights. A great addition to the series, and looking forward to the next! (5 stars) Karen Matthews – Goodreads; Shelfari; Barnes & Noble; Indie Book Reviewers

Sam Ryan, IBR

An enjoyable, quick read that continues in the stellar writing style of the Birds of Flight Series. This is definitely meant to be read in order (it is not a standalone), and preferably when the previous novel is relatively fresh in your head, as the story picks up from there. But this whole series is just so phenomenal and keeps getting better, it is definitely time well spent. I am never disappointed when reading a J.M. Erickson book, and even though this one is on the shorter side, it still delivers the same high quality, high octane, high stakes action and drama that makes me enjoy all his books. (4-5 stars) Sam Ryan – Goodreads; Shelfari; Barnes & Noble; Indie Book Reviewers

Cale Owens, IBR

“Flight of the Black Swan” is he fifth installment of the acclaimed “Birds of Flight” series by J.M. Erickson, and even though it is shorter than the previous 4 novels (this one is a novella), it lacks nothing in the way of story, character development, action, and entertainment! This whole series is just by far one of the most original and just flat out interesting thriller/suspense/spy series I’ve ever read— the writing is superb (love the strong word choice and frequent use of literary infusion), and there are enough descriptions where you can picture everything perfectly…more “intelligent” than many others I’ve read, I think because of the strategies and planning and cat and mouse-ish behavior of the characters. This almost seems like it could be a movie or a miniseries… Looking forward to the next one as soon as it’s out! (5 stars) Cale Owens– Goodreads; Shelfari; Barnes & Noble; Indie Book Reviewers

J.T.Thomas, IBR

"IBR" = Independent Book Reviewers

Another terrific installment in the “Birds of Flight” series by J.M. Erickson. This one wastes no time and starts right off with action. Once I started reading I didn’t want to stop until I’d finished the whole thing, which I did in one evening. J.M. Erickson has a gift for writing these intriguing interweaving plotlines that keep you hooked, but don’t get too far-fetched or convoluted, which can happen frequently in this genre. Many of our fave characters are here: Burns, Daniels, Anderson, etc… and the pacing is solid throughout. So many great characters with their own storylines, curious to see where the series goes next! One of the better written and more interesting ones I’ve come across in a very long time. Highly recommend. (5 stars) J. T. Thomas – Goodreads; Shelfari; Barnes & Noble; Indie Book Reviewers