REVIEW

Falling, T.J. Newman

Review Written By
Karen Chisholm

If you've not heard of FALLING by T.J. Newman then you aren't part of Book Reading Social Media circles, because there has been one hell of a marketing campaign for this book. And it's working. It's getting rave reviews, film rights have been sold, everyone, but everyone, is reading it, everyone is raving about it. Which has made me sit and stare at walls for a while now, wondering why it is that I'm such a blasted contrarian when it comes to these blockbuster things. I don't think it's an issue with marketing campaign allergy, I suspect it all comes down to simple failure to meet such incredibly high expectations.

There's a big idea at the heart of FALLING that makes it a classic airport style thriller - and not just because it's set around the hijacking of a plane, which is more than adequately explained by the wording of the blurb:

"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."

Except this isn't told from the point of view of a passenger, rather it's the story of the pilot who has been placed in such an awful position, and the flight-attendants who have to step up in such difficult circumstances. It'll come as no surprise, given the background of the author, that the flight-attendant at the centre of the mess, Jo, is one of the hero's of this book, after all, it's actually what flight attendants are there for after all, not just for their willingness to deliver a tray of food and a drink to passengers.

But what we have here is a confluence of events that, if you're able to read rapidly and get into the swing of the "thrill" side of the story, will be breathtaking in their audacity. You've got a hijacker, nowhere near the plane, with a pilot's family hostage, insisting that the plane be crashed into a high-profile entertainment venue in the US. Add to that onboard poison gas attacks, and most worryingly of all for the crew, an accomplice on the plane. So it's not really a remote-control hijacking, there's somebody on board with a heap of skin in the game, and at the point that the onboard person was confirmed I will confess my reaction was one of sheer pissed-offed-ness with the pointlessness of some of the threat. But to say more would be a spoiler so I won't. But safe to say I was already struggling to deal with some of the slightly, to my eyes, over-the-top characterisations, and the exploding houses, and the hero put-upon FBI agent. Although to be fair, from very early on, my suspension of disbelief was threatening to strangle me and it never really let up again until the ending of the novel.

So when it comes to the contrarian label, I'll concede. I didn't get sucked into FALLING at any point, and what stays with me, despite a lot of thinking, is a lot of plot points that nearly tipped me into giving up. That's not to say that I cannot see how this novel would work for a lot of people, particularly in the world we're currently living in. The good are very good, and the bad are bad, but there's an attempt to humanise their plight and the good feel compelled to fight for the same people as the bad in the end, although to be honest by that point I was over the better than good good, and starting to see the attractions of team really really bad.  But there's lots of heroics, and some good old "we will not give in to terrorists" (although the reactions of the baseball players had me rolling my eyes and clenching my jaw). There were a few action scenes that were pretty good, and I guess at the end of the day, it's all a bit of a romp for anybody who likes their thrillers with a side of brilliant marketing.

 

Book Source Declaration
I received a copy of this book from the publisher or author.
BOOK DETAILS
BOOK INFORMATION
Author
ISBN
9781982177881
Year of Publication
BLURB

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.

 

Review Falling, T.J. Newman
Karen Chisholm
Wednesday, July 14, 2021

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