Review: PANORAMA by Steve Kistulentz

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Thank you so much Little, Brown and Company for providing my free copy – all opinions are my own.

Book Description: 

Richard MacMurray, a cable news talking head, is paid handsomely to pontificate on the issues of the moment. On New Year’s Day he is scheduled to be a guest on a prominent morning talk show. As he awaits the broadcast, the network interrupts with news that a jet airliner has crashed in Dallas and that everyone aboard has perished.

Within an hour, amateur videotape surfaces of the plane’s last moments, transforming the crash into a living image: familiar, constant, and horrifying. Richard learns that his sister, Mary Beth, was aboard the doomed flight, leaving behind her six-year-old son, Gabriel. Richard is the boy’s only living relative. When he is given an opportunity to bring Gabriel home, it may be that the loss of his sister will provide him with the second chapter he never knew he wanted.

In this powerful debut, Steve Kistulentz captures the sprawl of contemporary America–its culture, its values, the workaday existence of its people–with kaleidoscopic sweep and controlled intensity. Yet within the expansive scope of Panorama lies an intimate portrait of human loss rendered with precision, humanity, and humor.

My Review: 

This is one very unique debut novel! The story centers around the plane crash of Panorama Airlines Flight 503 which left no survivors. Each character and story line in this novel is touched in one way or another by this tragedy. For instance, Richard MacMurray, a television pundit, finds out his estranged sister Mary Beth was on Flight 503. As the only living relative, he is left with the responsibility of caring for her son, Gabriel. The clever aspect of this novel is how Kistulentz shows these lives parallel to each other as they relate to the crash. At times, it almost feels intrusive, and it certainly kept my attention.

It took me a bit to get into, but once I did, I really enjoyed the originality and attention to detail in Panorama.  As I got to know the characters, I wasn’t quite sure when their lives would intersect with Flight 503, but I always knew their ultimate fate. This is a very thought-provoking, heartbreaking, and enthralling read that I highly recommend. I will definitely read any book Kistulentz comes out with next!

My rating is 4 / 5 stars!

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