Book review: Falling by TJ Newman

Wednesday, May 26, 2021 Permalink

Falling by TJ Newman opens with a bang and does not release its readers until the very end.

In fact I must confess I skimmed far more than I meant to here, but it was only because I felt the urgent need to know what would happen. I could not turn the pages quickly enough. I’m fairly sure I held my breath on a number of occasions and steeled myself (several times) for the worst.

Book review: Falling by TJ NewmanFalling
by T.J. Newman
Published by Simon & Schuster
on 04/06/2021
Source: Simon & Schuster
Genres: Thriller / Suspense
ISBN: 9781398507258
Pages: 285

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.

Newman is (or was) a flight attendant and obviously knows her stuff. I’m not usually a fan of excessive detail but the various procedures she shares that the pilots and other crew of the Coastal Airways flight undertake were riveting. It didn’t feel as if she was knowledge-dropping for the sake of it, rather it was integrated into the narrative in a way that made it all matter.

Newman develops a few great characters. Bill – the pilot – in particular felt very real. When we first meet him we’re told everyone describes him as nice, and it’s true. He’s a good guy. And I loved that he remained steadfastly determined he would NOT make the choice being asked of him.

Of course there are several others playing key roles, including Bill’s wife, co-workers and an ambitious FBI agent.  There are certainly several ‘heroes’ (and antiheroes) but the characters and the prose take a backseat in this novel as it’s the constant breathtaking action that keeps readers on the hook.

It’s a fairly short novel at less than 300 pages and the pace doesn’t let up. At all. Newman is efficient with the narrative and doesn’t waste time or or our attention on extraneous detail. There are no irrelevant side plots on offer. No backstories we don’t need. This is streamlined and sleek.

The motivation behind the kidnapping is – in some ways – a little anticlimactic but I suspect that’s the point. The kidnapper’s actions seem random but their passion is such that – despite our sense of their humanity – they see no other option. Readers may be sympathetic. Or perhaps not.

This is an excellent debut. I think it would make an amazing movie. God forbid of course, it give anyone ideas…

My best friend spent several years as a flight attendant and she’s visiting this weekend. BECAUSE she’s not still in that job I think I’ll give her this book to read. She won’t love the plot (because she has many former colleagues still working the skies) but I’m sure she’ll relate to the realism Newman is able to bring to this.

Falling by TJ Newman will be published in Australia by Simon & Schuster in early June 2021.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes. 


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