Avid Reader. Aug. 2021. 304p. ISBN 9781982177881. $28. THRILLER
DEBUT An airline pilot faces a no-win situation in Newman’s debut thriller. Bill Hoffman has taken flight with his crew and almost 150 passengers when he receives a message informing him that his wife and two children are being held hostage; their kidnapper has chosen Bill for a task. Expecting a ransom demand, Bill is surprised to learn instead that he must crash the plane for his family to live. If he alerts the authorities or anyone on board, his family will be killed, and someone has been planted on the flight to make sure he follows through with the crash. Bill has not hope that he’ll see his family again. Falling is scary as hell and will make readers want to avoid flying anytime soon. The author’s background as a flight attendant provides insight into Bill’s world and adds realism to the scenario.
VERDICT Newman keeps up an extreme pace from the first page—a near-impossible task, considering that the hero is locked in a cockpit, unable to take action himself. This novel is like the films Die Hard and Speed on steroids, creating one of the year’s best thrillers.
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