In T.J. Newman’s new thriller, a commercial aircraft pilot is leaving his home just as a repairman shows up to fix the Internet. He doesn’t give it much thought, distracted by his wife’s ire over the fact that he’s missing his son’s game.
What neither of him understand is that the repairman is in fact a psychopath who has already blackmailed the pilot’s colleague to make sure he boarded the flight. Once at the helm of the aircraft, where one hundred and forty-three other passengers are aboard, he receives a video call from the blackmailer.
His wife and son appear to be at home, but they are wearing suicide vests.
The blackmailer’s proposition is a simple one: for the pilot’s family to live, everyone on the plane must die.
Specifically, he wants the plane crashed into a yet unnamed target in Washington D.C.
What is so perplexing is that the blackmailer seemingly has no political motive. He does not seem like a terrorist. Just like a madman. Or is he?
The premise almost sounds too simple and clean, but Newman has taken this simple setup and done wonders with it. Of particular interest is Jo, a veteran flight attendant who may be the only person in the world whom the pilot can truly trust.
Characterization, plot and believability: check, check, check. The book’s urgency is palpable, making it almost impossible to put down.
Plus, there’s this: T.J. Newman, a former bookseller turned flight attendant, worked for Virgin America and Alaska Airlines from 2011 to 2021. She wrote much of Falling on cross-country red-eye flights while her passengers were asleep.
That’s right. Your flight attendant was thinking about how to make a plane crash, possibly while you were on board.
Dare you to read it on a long flight.