The Reading Room- Falling by TJ Newman

Posted July 5, 2021 by stuckint in The Reading Room / 0 Comments

Hello everyone and welcome back to The Reading Room where I talk about the upcoming/recent releases I’ve read recently and am excited to talk about.

Today I am sharing my thoughts on one of the biggest thrillers of the summer, Falling by TJ Newman. I don’t naturally gravitate to thrillers, but I enjoyed this one and can’t wait to tell you all about it!

*I received a free copy of Falling in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own and do not reflect that of the publisher or author.

About the Book

Falling by T.J. Newman
Published by Avid Reader Press / Simon Schuster Pages: 304

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.

About the Author

T. J. Newman, a former bookseller turned flight attendant, worked for Virgin America and Alaska Airlines from 2011 to 2021. She wrote much of  Falling on cross-country red-eye flights while her passengers were asleep. She lives in Phoenix, Arizona. Falling is her first novel.

My Thoughts

Newman’s debut novel Falling promises to be one of the biggest thrillers of the summer and, quite possibly, of the entire year. With Newman’s own background as a flight attendant lends an authenticity to the story that thrillers like Falling have lacked.

On the surface, the novel follows pilot Bill Hoffman, who discovers shortly after the plane takes off that his family has been kidnapped and he has a choice. Crash the plan, killing himself the +140 and his family lives. Or, he can choose his family by landing the plane safely at JFK. It feels like impossible choice. If he tells anyone on board or externally, his family dies.

One thing I cannot stand about thrillers is how helpless the protagonist frequently turn out to be when under duress. That is not the case in Falling. Sure some decisions are a bit reckless and over the top. But I was happy to give them a pass in light of the circumstances.

The novel is told from many points or view, but the primary narrators are Bill the pilot, Jo one of the amazing flight attendants, and Theo an FBI agent and Jo’s nephew. The chapters are short and the jump between characters keep up the pacing and the pages turning.

What I didn’t expect from this novel, was discussion of issues like racism, white privilege and the problem with the culturally ingrained below of American exceptiomalism. As someone who has lived abroad I can attest to the damage the belief in America’s superiority can be. It was refreshing to see such heavy, difficult issues tackled in a novel that most will approach as a popcorn thriller.

Overall, I gave Falling by TJ Newman 5? and recommend it to all thriller lovers, but especially to those who enjoy their thrillers served with a side of social commentary.

What About You?

Have you read Falling? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments!

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