Guest contributor and voracious reader Carol Ritter Conley is back with a book review she considers worthy of our Beach Bag Book Club. Here’s her take on “Falling” by T.J. Newman, a novel she read from cover to cover ~ in one gripping and terrifying sitting.

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“I am not going to crash this plane, and you are not going to kill my family.” This becomes the motto of our protagonist, Captain Bill Hoffman, a dedicated, veteran commercial airline pilot who is faced with the unthinkable … crash his airplane into an as-yet unknown-to-him target with144 passengers on board, or his kidnapped family will be murdered.

Bill is asked by his boss to pick up a routine flight from LA to NYC that was not originally on his schedule. Unfortunately, he’ll miss his 10-year-old son Scott’s first Little League baseball game, which upsets his wife, Carrie. Tensions are high as he leaves for the airport as Carrie tries to deal with both their 10-month old daughter, Elise, and the cable guy who has just shown-up to fix their internet connection.

Shortly after Flight 461 is in the air, Bill receives a heart-stopping email and photo from the supposed cable technician. His wife and son are bound with hoods over their heads and a suicide vest is strapped to Carrie’s chest. ┬áHe is given the directive to kill his co-pilot, release poison gas into the passenger cabins and crash the plane into a hinted-at Washington DC target.

The tools he will need to accomplish these tasks have been planted in his on-flight messenger bag. He must not try to notify the authorities or tell the other crew members or passengers. He is told that there is another terrorist on board who will proceed with “Plan B” if he doesn’t choose to obey these orders, and his family will die.

Newman’s personal experience as a former flight attendant helps make the story feel plausible and authentic.

If you are afraid of flying, this is definitely NOT the book for you. But for anyone who appreciates a superbly paced, taut, gripping thriller with as many ups and downs and twists and turns as a roller coaster ( and or an extremely turbulent flight) FALLING will have you in its thrall from page 1.

I promise you will be clinging to your seat as tightly as the passengers and crew on this harrowing journey.

STP~News and the sisterhood of readers, always in search of the next great book thanks you Carol for sharing your time and endless talents, xoxo

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