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Falling: the most thrilling blockbuster read of the summer Paperback – 2 June 2021
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'FALLING is the best kind of thriller (for me as a reader anyway). Characters you care deeply about. Nonstop, totally authentic suspense' JAMES PATTERSON
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.
***Praise for Falling***
‘Think Speed on a passenger jet - with the cockpit dials turned up to supersonic’ Ian Rankin
‘Stunning and relentless. This is Jaws at 35,000 feet’ Don Winslow
‘The best thriller I’ve read in years. Buckle up’ Adrian McKinty
‘Amazing . . . Intense suspense, shocks and scares plus chilling insider authenticity make this one very special’ Lee Child
'FALLING is the best kind of thriller (for me as a reader anyway). Characters you care deeply about. Nonstop, totally authentic suspense' James Patterson
‘A jet-propelled thriller that will have you in its grip from first page to last. A truly astonishing debut and an incredible work of pure suspense’ Steve Cavanagh
'T.J. Newman has taken a brilliant idea, a decade of real life experience and crafted the perfect summer thriller. Relentlessly paced and unforgettable' Janet Evanovich
'FALLING redefines the phrase roller coaster ride. It redefines the term edge-of-your-seat thriller. Falling is that rarest of things, a book that is even better than everyone says it is. T.J. Newman has delivered a stunning debut' Dervla McTiernan
‘Heart pounding. Heart-wringing. Heart STOPPING! A great book! One of those where you're afraid to turn the next page, but you can't stop’ Diana Gabaldon, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Outlander series
'...terrifying, heart-pounding and absolutely terrific ' Jill Mansell
'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' Library Journal
'Brilliant . . . Incredibly suspenseful . . . With abundantly human characters, natural dialogue, and a plot that unleashes one surprise after another, this could be the novel that everyone is talking about this summer' Booklist
‘A scorching thriller’ Evening Standard
'Newman’s [flight attendant] background means Falling brings a freshness and depth to the genre' The Guardian
'A superlative debut . . . This tense, convincing thriller marks the arrival of an assured new talent' Publishers Weekly (starred review)
'Fasten your seatbelt for a real thrill ride' Best
' ...full of the kind of authentic detail that comes from personal experience' Literary Review
‘Get set for a high altitude adrenaline rush' Candis
‘Gripping from the first sentence, this thriller is like no other’ OK! Magazine
'TJ Newman's gripping debut novel' Daily Express
'A remarkable debut' The Sunday Times
'This is a race-to-the-finish-line sort of read' Observer
'Gripping from the first sentence, this thriller is like no other' S Magazine
'... a tense and claustrophobic read, the fast-paced action zipping along at an astonishing rate' Refinery29
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About the Author
- Publisher : Simon & Schuster UK; Export/Airside edition (2 June 2021)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 304 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1398507253
- ISBN-13 : 978-1398507258
- Dimensions : 15.2 x 2.3 x 23.6 cm
- Best Sellers Rank: 5,432 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from Australia
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Another thrilling plane disaster story (the third I've read this year) with a great opening chapter and non stop action. However, the characters where ALL extremely annoying over dramatic wannabe heroes who have watched way too much Die Hard. The terrorist was also a stereotypical version of what most believe a terrorist would act like. It was all a bit cliche for my liking.
Once the plane is in the air, Bill receives a message: ‘You will crash the plane or I will kill your family.’ His wife and two children have been taken hostage. Who has taken Bill’s family captive, and why? What will Bill do?
Fasten your seatbelt, you are in for a bumpy ride.
Fast-paced and full of twists, Ms Newman’s first novel takes us through a near impossible journey as the hostage taker seems to have every possibility covered. Can Bill’s cabin crew help avert disaster without alarming the passengers? The action shifts between the cockpit, Bill’s family and the hostage taker. And then the FBI becomes involved.
This is one flight I definitely don’t want to take.
Note: My thanks to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster Australia for providing me with a free electronic copy of this
book for review purposes.
When pilot Bill gets a message showing his wife and son terrified, wearing suicide vests, shortly after his LAX-JFK flight takes off, he has to make the most terrible decision of his life. Crash the plane, sacrificing himself and almost 150 souls on board - or sacrifice his family. And the terrorists have a backup plan on board… just in case he makes the wrong decision.
While Bill’s a heroic figure here, I honestly think it’s cabin crew chief Jo who’s the true heroine of the story. Perhaps it’s because of the author’s own career as a flight attendant, but I definitely felt more involved in the story every time we returned to what Jo was dealing with in the main cabin, as she tried to help while maintaining calm.
This is the kind of book you just can’t stop reading. I read the whole thing in a single sitting, and set it down feeling quite satisfied with the outcome. The villains were far from one-dimensional, there were a few hilarious moments of comic relief - flight attendant ‘Big Daddy’ calling an entitled passenger ‘Karen’ had me laughing out loud - and honestly, it all felt far too plausible, even though the author promises in her notes that she has made enough tweaks to real-life procedures that it can’t be used as a ‘training manual’.
A really good action thriller. Just don’t read it on the plane.
Disclaimer: I received a review copy of this title via NetGalley.
“The moment he had seen the picture, he knew his cockpit had been breached. He knew on some level that the plane itself was in jeopardy. Bill couldn’t feel his hands as they moved over the keyboard.
I’m not going to crash this plane and you’re not going to kill my family.
‘Wrong,’ the man said after reading Bill’s email. ‘One of those things will happen. You choose which.’
‘Let me repeat myself, son. I’m not going to crash this plane and you’re not going to kill my family. Period.’”
Bill Hoffman already wakes up regularly from a nightmare about a plane crash where the side of the plane rips open and people are sucked out. Not good for a pilot. This isn’t exactly what he’s dreamed – it’s worse. Bill is flying LA to NY, when he is confronted mid-air with an email demanding he crash the plane. Attached is a photograph of his kidnapped family.
He can’t tell anyone or signal anyone. He lets his co-pilot think he’s just answering emails or Facetiming his wife. It would be a dilemma for anyone, but even more so for Bill. He takes his pre-flight inspection more seriously than some, who consider it a necessary nuisance.
“To most pilots, it was just another FAA regulation. To Bill, it was church.“
He also took this particular lesson to heart when he began flying.
“‘Now, when we log a flight plan, do you know why we write ‘souls on board’ instead of ‘people on board’?’ his instructor had asked.
Bill shook his head.
‘We say it that way so that if we crash,’ he explained, ‘they know exactly how many bodies they’re looking for. Avoids the confusion of different titles like passengers, crew, infants. Just how many bodies, son. That’s all they need to know. Oh!’ He snapped his fingers. ‘And sometimes we carry dead bodies in the cargo hold so they need to know not to count them.’”
There are no dead bodies on this flight – yet. But there are some interesting characters, and when the terrorist mentions a backup plan, everybody looks suspicious.
I found this terrifyingly exciting in places and so dull that I skimmed a lot. The author has added back stories for many characters, which I usually appreciate and enjoy. I like understanding where people come from and how their personalities were formed. None of it really mattered in this instance (to me), because I just wanted to know what was going to happen.
Probably the best character is Jo, the senior flight attendant, who has to explain to the junior trainee what it is exactly that they do. The trainee wants to hand out snacks during a moment of crisis while Jo needs her to do something else.
“‘Kellie,’ Jo said. ‘That’s not our job. Service is just something we provide.’
. . .
First aid and self-defense. Drilling, over and over, the evacuation of hundreds of people from a burning aircraft, or from a water landing.
. . .
They’d learned about the different kinds of fires and the different ways to fight them. Hazmat, heart attacks, hijackings. Federal regulations and federal air marshals. Turbulence. Terrorists.”
There’s plenty to enjoy in this novel, but I never felt invested in the characters (although I liked Jo). I do, however, see this as a terrific screenplay that will no doubt be (maybe has already been) turned into a film or mini-series, where we will suffer the mounting tension and can’t skip the back stories.
I won’t give it more stars, because it didn’t hold my attention enough to stop me skimming to get to the end. Others have loved this, and you may, too, so read their reviews instead. 😊
Top reviews from other countries
Alas, it certainly is. Falling is a first draft by a first time writer with a half good idea.
The half good idea is the premise: a pilot must crash his busy plane or see his kidnapped family murdered. The strength of this premise is that it puts Captain Bill Hoffman's two great duties in life, as a husband and father and a pilot, into conflict, which is an intense emotional proposition as this all American hunk has both codes carved into his heart - and poses the unvoiced question of how he will get out of having to choose.
But the idea is also half bad. Cap'n Hoffman is stuck in the cockpit, which means he can't do all of the fighting to advance his cause. Newman has to get the cabin crew involved for more drama in the air. The problems start there.
The plucky cabin crew - by far the best characters in the book - merely deal with an additional threat while Hoffman flies the plane and ponders his dilemma. It feels like padding. As do the flashbacks Newman deploys throughout what is a short book. This isn't all. Time spent in the air cramps time on the ground. The FBI search for Hoffman's family should feel desparate and ingenious, but it's just a frame or two of Saturday night TV car chases and the like. Worst of all, the bad guys screw up all the time.
The pleasure of such 'blockbusters' is seeing the heroes overcoming incredible odds and genius villains, not hapless depressives who show traces of humanity. The writer's attempt to give the bad guys an emotional grounding leaves us in no man's land. Do we want to see their asses handed to them or for them merely to be put out of their mysery? Are they entertaining, like Hans Gruber in Die Hard, or the shark in Jaws (which only needed that riff to give us the chills), or are they supposed to make us feel guilty and sorry for them? If so, what are they doing in a book being pumped hard as a beach read?
Oh yes, a beach read. But we have airplane terrorism here. The thing that caused 9/11, an event that set in train processes that resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths. Writers can write what they like, of course, but whether this is appropriate material for a 'fun read' is a question many will fairly ask. The same goes for using middle eastern characters as the terrorists. Some are saying this is just a wrong choice flat out. It isn't. But characters like that need to be handled with a lot of skill especially due to 9/11 and what followed, and in Falling the handling is amateurish and clunky.
It seems to be flying off the shelves, which reflects the marketing push, not the quality of the book. Good luck to the author and congratulations for pulling off a huge success first time out. Why they wanted to push this one quite so hard is the mystery yet to be solved.
It hits all the standard beats for a thriller of this type, square-jawed hero, kids in peril, Islamic terrorists (yes, really). Add in some all-American dialogue add in a direct plea to Mr President, and there you have it. Novel by way of algorithm.
I can't stop without mentioning the baseball game. By this point the book has gone full 'Airplane!' and it's genuinely funny. The only issue being that I don't think the author was going for funny.
In my experience you know when a book's not working (subjectively) when it seems to go on. Falling isn't a long novel, but it felt like one to me.
It’s difficult to believe this is a debut and T J Newman has clearly brought her knowledge and experience as an airline steward into play. But it’s more than that; her writing is assured and pacy and in addition to crafting a complex thriller, the characters are people in whom I felt totally invested. My heart was literally racing at times. Their lives hanging by a thread if demands not met and seemingly powerless. There are so many emotions bubbling throughout this story; fear, panic, bravery, people facing personal demons…It’s difficult not to give too much away, but it truly takes the reader on a roller coaster of disaster and emotion. If you’re a nervous flier, it’s not the book to pick up at the airport to see you through the trip! There’s frantic action at ground level too as FBI and other officials work desperately to resolve the situation. This is a story that’s likely to leave you literally breathless as you race to the end. A blockbuster of a story and it’s going to be the talked about thriller of the summer. Cant wait for her next one; an amazing new voice.
Having forgotten that I pre-ordered it, this book arrived unexpectedly in my Kindle inbox. I read an article about the book and I was intrigued enough to pay my money months before its release. This was not because I love thriller books. Far from it, this is a genre I would not normally read. I ordered it because of the author’s backstory: first time novelist, lots of rejections, flight attendant writing in her spare time about a clever twist on a hijack at forty thousand feet, rave reviews.
If edge of your seat, tension on every page, easy to read books are your thing, then this should be on your summer reading list (as long as your holiday does not involve boarding an aeroplane). The author has ticked most of the ‘must do’ things to get published. The characters are full of colour, there are unexpected plot turns (within context of a well-trodden story-line), a love story, enemies with a background to make them human and enough technical detail to interest but not bore the reader.
I really enjoyed this book having read it in two sessions. But, with the caveat of this being firmly in a genre I do not normally read, it is not a novel that left me wanting more. The prose is well constructed and easy to read, but never asks you to re-read sentences just to admire the skill of the writer. The storyline is at times very far-fetched, but again this is absolutely to be expected – Die Hard would never happen in real life.
Universal have won the bidding for the rights to the movie. This is one of those books that absolutely smacks of blockbuster Hollywood film
I have given this book five stars, not because it has gone into my top books list, but because it will with so many people who love novels that seem to turn the pages themselves.