Before you go any further, if you haven’t read the first part of Christopher Cantwell’s She Could Fly, drop whatever it is you’re doing, go get a copy, read it from cover to cover and then read it again. If you don’t, there’s absolutely no point in you going any further as none of the following will make much, if any, sense. However, if you’re familiar with the story so far, or paid any attention and actually did what I told you too at the beginning, then buckle up buttercup as this already crazy ride is about to get a whole lot crazier. And when I say crazy, I mean crazy with a capital ‘C’ as in completely bananas and way out there cuckoo. Which in the everyday, humdrum nine to five world of offices, accounts, flowcharts and whatever it is that “normal” folk do with their time might seem a little odd and be regarded with suspicion, but here in four colour land and the slightly disjointed reality in which She Could Fly exists, it means that the minute you cross the first page threshold of The Lost Pilot you’re in for a two thumbs up, crank the volume on the disco tunes as high it will go good time.
Beginning a year after the events of She Could Fly saw Luna confined to a psychiatric facility so that she could begin to heal, The Lost Pilot plunges her headlong back into the quest to discover the truth about the flying woman she was previously obsessed with. Armed with a little knowledge, a new medication regime and a steel bound resolve, Luna with a little help from her new boyfriend and more than a little dissuasion from her parents picks up the reins and gets right back on the saddle of a mystery that revolves around hyper-advanced technology, secretive corporations, super-hard mercenaries, mystical cult leaders and a collective cast of lost, suffering souls longing to find some meaning in, and escape from, the drudgery of real life. Luna however, soon discovers that sometimes dreams and wishes do come true and when they do, they very rarely deliver what, if anything, they covertly promised they would and that the release, and relief, she’s been searching for were always within her reach.
Like its opening chapter, The Lost Pilot, is far from an easy read. A hard hitting, realistic and at times incredibly uncomfortable and brutal exploration of the realities of living, and dealing, with mental illness, Cantwell’s intelligent, thought provoking tale also embraces the idea that it’s the so-called “crazy” people who make the world go round and can see through the cracks in the veneer of sanity and understand that what the world would like us to see isn’t always the way things really are. The Lost Pilot s a touching love story, a conspiracy thriller and a pulse pounding action filled adventure built upon treachery, double dealing and betrayal, but most of all, it’s the tale of teenage girl desperately trying to understand herself and how she fits into the big picture. Steeped in allegory and metaphor and brought into being by the sublime art of Martin Marazzo and Miroslav Mrva’s strangely psychedelic colours that perfectly capture Luna’s actuality, The Lost Pilot is a genuinely moving and emotionally raw outsider story that’ll reinforce your faith in the power of literature. Spread your wings, it’s time to fly… Tim Cundle