By T.J. Newman

Publisher/Year: Simon & Schuster/2021

Publisher description

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.

Enjoy the flight.

Reviewer: Veronica Lando

There’s nowhere to run when you’re thirty-five thousand feet in the air.

A kidnapped family, a hijacked plane and 149 souls on board. To say that T.J. Newman’s debut novel is an action-packed rollercoaster ride is a complete understatement. This book is a blockbuster movie in the making (and indeed film rights were snapped up even prior to the release of the book).

Bill Hoffman steps in to captain flight 416, Los Angeles to New York, at the last minute. Everything is in order. Aeroplane maintenance: check. Flight crew: check. First officer: check. But once the wheels leave the tarmac, things take a turn for the worse. The much worse.

Bill’s family have been kidnapped and he’s been left with the impossible ultimatum: crash the plane or your family dies.

What will Bill decide? And what on earth did he do to deserve this?

Told from the multiple perspectives of Bill, his wife, the aeroplane crew and FBI agents, the story uses the varying points of view to keep readers guessing and perched on the edge of their seats until the final pages.  

Falling wastes no time in throwing readers straight into the deep end with the opening scene depicting a plane on the verge of crashing. Indeed, a sneak-peak of what’s to come is delivered in the opening line: when the shoe dropped into her lap, the foot was still in it. A worthy hook that will ensure readers flip the page, finish the chapter, and then head to the counter to buy the book.

The stakes could not be higher in Newman’s plot-driven debut, and just as one crisis is resolved another always appears. Explosives, poisonous gasses, and high-speed chases ensures readers will be left turning the pages well into the night. Hints of the main characters’ backstories make the people driving the plot relatable and gives the reader insight into their motivations, with some characters proving truly sassy and delightful despite the high-pressure situation (Jo and Big Daddy, I’m looking at you).

The descriptions of the aviation industry, aeroplane technicality and in- flight procedures could only have come from someone with inside knowledge, and Newman’s decade long experience as a flight attendant comes through on every single page. Immersed in the aviation industry, Newman has reported writing the bulk of her novel in the air while crewing red-eye flights with sleeping passengers on board.

Action packed with high stakes and nowhere to turn, Newman’s best-selling Falling is not for the faint-hearted. So, ensure your seat is upright, your tray table secure and fasten your seat belt for one hell of a flight.