by John J. Nance

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In the skies above Europe, a Boeing 737 jets toward an unknown destination. On board is John Harris—a fugitive from justice. Charged by an international accord of ordering the torture of hundreds of innocent people, he is the most wanted man in the world.
He is the former President of the United States. 
The pilot, Captain Craig Dayton, realizes that a silent conspiracy against John Harris is taking shape, and that every moment the plane spends on the ground makes a target for his enemies—who have already condemned him for his crimes. Now, as both sides wage a war of words in the most powerful courts in the world, the only safe haven left is in the air...

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781101214503
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 04/02/2001
Sold by: Penguin Group
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 448
Sales rank: 95,823
File size: 608 KB
Age Range: 14 Years

About the Author

John J. Nance is the bestselling author of Pandora's Clock and Medusa's Child, both of which have been adapted as four-hour television miniseries. An aviation analyst for the ABC Television Network and aviation editor for Good Morning America, Nance is also a licensed attorney, a veteran Air Force reserve officer/pilot, a nationally known professional speaker, and an airline captain for a major US carrier. He lives and writes in Tacoma, Washington.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Gate 35, Athens International Airport, Greece -Monday -2:00 P.M.

"Captain, I think you'd better get back here!"

The chief flight attendant said as she burst into the cockpit. Captain Craig Dayton snapped his head around and began reaching for his seat belt as soon as he saw the worried expression on Jillian Walz's face.

"What's the matter?" Dayton asked, aware that his copilot had shifted around in the right seat to look at her as well.

Jillian shut the door and stood in the tiny space aft of the center console, breathing hard and signaling him to wait. She watched a police car pull up on the ramp of the newly opened airport and stop in front of their Boeing 737, its blue lights flashing. Dayton followed her gaze and spotted the patrol car.

"We're about to get in the middle of a diplomatic crisis," Jillian said. "The gate agent ..."

A voice on the overhead speakers cut her short. "Flight forty-two, operations."

The copilot lifted his handheld microphone. "Go ahead, ops."

"We will have to hold you at the gate for a while, forty-two."

"Why?" the copilot asked sharply, noting the arrival of a second police car on the ramp.

"Forty-two, there is an of official order ...ah ...wait, please ..."

The microphone in the operations of office remained on while urgent voices conferred in the background. "Ah ...we will have to remove some of your passengers."

Jillian nodded rapidly, her words tumbling out. "Craig, they're here to arrest President Harris!"

Craig Dayton clasped Jillian's right elbow as he searched her eyes. "Slow down, Jillian, and tell me precisely whatyou're talking about."

The day had started in Istanbul with the exciting news that a former President of the United States would be riding with them in first class through Athens to Rome. Fresh from delivering a speech to an international conference on hunger, President John B. Harris had come aboard with an attractive young female aide and an appropriately dour Secret Service agent, greeting the crew warmly at the door and even sticking his head into the cockpit to say hello. Impeccably groomed, and wearing a well-tailored dark business suit that made him seem taller than his five-foot-ten height, Harris had proven to be as friendly and gracious as the Washington press corps had always described him during his almost legendary single term in office.

"Our agent ...gate agent ...I know her," Jillian was saying. "She came down the jetway all upset and said the Greek government has a warrant for his arrest."

"Why? What for?"

She shook her head, creating a moving blur of chestnut hair. "She didn't know."

First Officer Alastair Chadwick whistled and inclined his head toward the ramp, where a third and fourth police car had parked, all with their top lights flashing frantically. "Something's definitely up, mate."

"This is a foreign flagged airliner," Dayton said. "No one's removing any passenger without my permission." He motioned to Jillian to reopen the cockpit door as he moved the captain's seat back on its tracks and prepared to get up, filling the air with the aroma of peanuts as the contents of an opened snack pouch scattered on the metal floor.


"I'll take care of that," Jillian said..

The copilot caught his arm.

"Craig, you remember I'm a solicitor in my other life in England, right?"

"Yes, I know," Craig said, his eyes on Jillian as she stepped out.

"A little free legal advice, okay? You're an American national with a European work visa, you're the master of a German flagged airliner, and that airliner is currently sitting on Greek concrete. You're not the U.S. ambassador. They could arrest you for getting in the way."

The captain shook his head impatiently. "This is Greece, Alastair. They've been civilized for at least a few ears now. About two or three thousand, in fact."

"Craig?" Chadwick tightened his grip on the captain's arm, and Dayton responded with irritation.


"Be careful, okay? I know he's your President, but you can't protect him."

"No?" There was a flurry of movement as Craig Dayton resumed the process of hauling himself out of the seat." Just watch me!"

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Headwind 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
DanStratton on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Nance is a lawyer and a pilot and this book shows his ability with both. The plot opens on a routine stop of a flight in Athens where the Greeks try to arrest a former U.S. President on a warrant issued by Peru for crimes committed during a drug raid he ordered while in office. The pilot of the plane decides rather than allow this to happen, he takes off from the gate without permission and gets into the air to gain time to sort out what is going on. So begins a hopscotch game of cat and mouse with the president to be arrested in any country they land. Unable to reach America in the 737, the pilot and the president's lawyer try figure out where to land and how to keep the president from being extradited, where he will be quickly tried and executed. I love thrillers and this is a good one. I read the entire book in one day. I couldn't put it down, even though I was bone tired and not feeling well. The legal mumbo jumbo is kept to a minimum. What is there is understandable, even though it is obvious that it is complicated. Throughout the book, airplanes figure in at every angle with plenty of action to keep it interesting. I enjoyed the explanations of behind the scenes protocol of commercial airlines. Good book.
Ruthless More than 1 year ago
This is the first book I've read by this author. It grabbed my interested fast and kept it to the end.
Marcy Soto More than 1 year ago
Have read it more than once. Very good.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
Read this book a while back. I really enjoyed it. The first chapter alone got me going when I read how they pushed back from the gate. Awsome book!
Guest More than 1 year ago
A page turner.....if you love aviation, or are just a passenger, this will make for enjoyable reading. Nance captures the technology of aviation and blends it into a tapestry of an interesting plot.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A great idea about a former president accused of an international crime completely lacks drama. A great idea that gets lost in a predictable plot, unimaginative twists and unreaistic dialogue. Plus, Nance seems more concerned with bragging about his aviation knowledge than explaining the details needed to follw the story. And the romantic sidebar was just plain absurd. A big disappointment.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Johhn Nance does an excellent job of building suspense around airplanes. It is always pleasurable to read his books, knowing that he is an aviator, and his facts will be correct. Bravo on another good book.
harstan More than 1 year ago

Apr 2001

After giving a speech on world hunger, retired President John Harris flies from Istanbul to Rome with a stop in Athens. However, at the airport, the Greek police try to serve an international warrant filed by the head of Peru against the former President insisting he violated the Treaty Against Torture while in office by sanctioning CIA acts of violence against innocent people. Pilot Craig Dayton realizes the former President is in danger and makes a daring unauthorized take-off before the police arrest Harris. International lawyer, Sir William Stuart Campbell represents the Peruvian government in the World Court. William has a personal grudge against John and goes all out to nail the former world leader. The pilot, the president, and his attorney seek a nation that will provide a safe and fair hearing, not yet realizing the drama that will unfold when they select that country.

As action thrillers go, John J. Nance typically writes some of the genre¿s best works. His setting of an airplane for his story line produces chills even for those readers who enjoy flying. For those who fear the air the background provides tremors. The characters including the President, are three dimensional and complex adding to the feel of a thriller. HEADWIND is top gun material and sure to place Mr. Nance on all the best-selling lists.

Harriet Klausner