reviewed by Carolyn Scott
When Coastal Airways Captain Bill Hoffman is called in on his day off to pilot flight 416 from LA to New York, he little imagines it will be any more than a routine flight. With clear weather, he’s not expecting any problems flying the Airbus A320 carrying 144 passengers, his experienced co-pilot Ben, two senior flight attendants, Jo and Michael and young probationary attendant, Kellie.
Even though Bill should be enjoying family time with his wife Carrie and kids, they’re used to managing without him and he plans to make it up to them later. However, with the flight underway and the plane set to cruise, Bill is sent a shocking photo of Carrie and the kids being held hostage in their home, with a suicide bomber’s vest strapped to Carrie’s chest, and told he must make the impossible choice to either save his family or crash the plane.
Even though he has just found himself thrust into every pilot’s worst nightmare, Bill is determined that neither of those options will happen on his watch. With Bill doing all he can in the cockpit to keep the flight safe and his flight attendants preparing the passengers they make a formidable team. The action and the tension as the remaining five hours of the flight count down are relentless as events unfold rapidly in the air and on the ground.
What I really enjoyed about this book, was seeing the flight crew’s training kicking in as they planned and managed the situation. This should have been no surprise since the author was a flight attendant for 10 years, writing much of her book while flying red-eyes. However, the professionalism which Jo, Michael and Kellie showed really added an authenticity to the action. I was however, a little disappointed in the stereotyping of the terrorists and their motives, but this was the only aspect of the novel that I felt could have been more imaginative and did not detract from the very suspenseful plot or the rapidity with which I turned the pages.
Falling should come with a warning that under no circumstances should you be tempted to buy it in the airport bookshop to read on your flight. Much better to read it with your two feet firmly on the ground.
With thanks to Simon & Schuster and Netgalley for a copy to read. Published early June in UK, Australia and July 6 in USA.