Publisher: Simon & Schuster (Trade Paperback – 6 July 2021)
Length: 290 pages
My rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Prepare to never feel safe on a plane again after reading the exciting debut thriller from author T. J. Newman, Falling.
You just boarded a flight to New York.
There are one hundred and forty-three other passengers onboard.
What you don’t know is that thirty minutes before the flight your pilot’s family was kidnapped.
For his family to live, everyone on your plane must die.
The only way the family will survive is if the pilot follows his orders and crashes the plane.
Falling is an intense and exhilarating novel with an intriguing plot idea about a pilot being blackmailed into crashing a plane. This was the very first novel from author T. J. Newman, a real-life flight attendant, who cleverly utilises knowledge from her career to produce this exciting read. I was lucky enough to receive a copy of Falling a little while ago, and I managed to power through it in a few short days thanks to its compelling and fast-paced narrative.
I was a fairly hooked with Falling’s story from the very beginning thanks to a very memorable opening line: “When the shoe dropped into her lap the foot was still in it”. This great line, despite being part of a somewhat unexplained dream sequence, and it does a great job of setting the tone for the rest of the novel. The story proper gets off to a great start, with the entire scenario set up quickly and the danger to the plane shown in short order. The book swiftly splits into several separate storylines for the pilot, the pilot’s family, the kidnapper, a flight attendant marshalling the passengers in the back of the plane, and the FBI agent attempting to save the victims. This mixture of different perspectives produces a rich and intense narrative, and it was great to see the various parts of this dark situation. This is a very fast-paced narrative with no slow moments at all, at Newman adds in some great twists and turns as the story continues. There is a great blend of action in the air and action on the ground as the various characters attempts to come to terms with the situation and either save the plan or the pilot’s family. This all leads up to a big, exciting climax, with the various storylines coming to a great end. I enjoyed the fantastic story featured in Falling, especially as it was anchored to a compelling cast of characters. The motivations for the kidnapper were very interesting and well set up, and it was great to see who else was involved in the case. Some of the supporting characters, such as the sassy attendant known as Big Daddy, were quite entertaining, and Newman ended up wrapping some awesome storylines around them. This great story really grabs your interest and attention.
A major thing that I really appreciated about Falling was the amazing amount of detail about planes, flight procedure, and the duties and responsibilities of pilots and cabin crew that Newman added to the story. The author made exceptional use of her experiences in her career to give these parts of the book some impressive realism, and you really get a sense of what it is actually like up in the plane. This is particularly true when it came to the parts of the book revolving around the hijacking and potential crash, as Newman, who has clearly spent a lot of time thinking about the subject (which admittedly is a tad concerning for a flight attendant), does a great job detailing all the counter procedures and issues involved. These fascinating bits of insider information are worked into the story extremely well, enhancing the various thrilling scenes and ensuring that the reader is immersed even more into the narrative.
Overall, Falling is an outstanding and exciting thriller debut that is definitely worth checking out. Author T. J. Newman did a great job on her first novel, and I had an excellent time getting through the fantastic story. I really enjoyed the author’s amazing use of her own knowledge and experiences throughout the story, especially as they helped to create a memorable and clever story. I look forward to seeing what Newman writes in the future, especially after enjoying the captivating and electrifying Falling.