The Lost Bird, a Highly Recommended Heist Thriller by J.K. Kelly

The Bottom Line: One of the most memorable heist thrillers of the past decade. 

The Lost Bird - JK Kelly

Among an ocean of lookalike crime novels, The Lost Bird delivers a stunning new take on the heist thriller that is not to be missed. The Lost Bird has it all: a priceless artifact, a gullible accomplice and an unlikely hero. 

At an air museum in Palm Springs, a group of tourists board a quick flight aboard a B-17 Warbird, one of the last surviving American World War II-era bombers. But shortly after takeoff, a gunman enters the cabin and presents the pilots with a note instructing the pilots to land on a tarmac in the middle of nowhere. Upon landing, the tour group and pilots are forced off the plane and told to surrender their phones, smart watches, wallets, IDs and cameras. 

The group is then directed to get in a van headed back to Palm Springs. Most disturbingly, the hijackers have done their homework on everyone aboard. If they stop on their way back to Palm Springs, the hijackers say, their loved ones – including, hilariously, a poodle named “Precious” – will die.

Meanwhile in Texas, retired Marine Chris Boone returns to the U.S. to spend time with his dying father. As he stops off the 1-10 for a coffee break, he sees a shocking headline: B-17 WARBIRD STILL MISSING IN CALIFORNIA. He shakes his head and resumes his journey, having no idea that someone very close to him has deep knowledge of the crime.

Leave it to Kelly, who wowed us with a spy thriller set in the world of auto racing, to come up with a devious scam involving the Make-A-Wish foundation. In a book filled with highly memorable characters, Kelly does wonders with 70-year-old pilot Pat Monaghan. In the early going, Pat proves to be a practical man who calmly does whatever it takes to ensure he and his fellow passengers make it home alive. But his first post-crime conversation with police – in which they’re convinced the aging pilot is in on the heist – puts fire in his belly, becoming the catalyst for a series of decisions that will make readers fall hard for him. The alliance he forms with another determined veteran to make things right is a white-knuckled adventure for the ages.

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