cover image The Flight Attendant

The Flight Attendant

Chris Bohjalian. Doubleday, $26.95 (368p) ISBN 978-0-385-54241-8

Blackout drunk Cassie Bowden is used to waking up in strangers’ beds, but what she discovers one morning in a sumptuous Dubai hotel suite is instantly sobering—blood-soaked sheets and the dead body of the handsome American hedge fund manager she met on her flight over. Even worse for Cassie, the assassin who executed him already regrets sparing the passed-out flight attendant. It’s a killer set-up, and Bohjalian (The Sleepwalker) initially maximizes the dual plot lines: Cassie, flying on primal survival instinct, tries to stonewall investigators, testing the truth of the maxim that God looks out for fools and drunkards; hit woman Elena methodically closes in for the kill. Bohjalian’s less successful in avoiding clichés or in making an espionage subplot plausible. Then, with about 50 pages to go it’s as though the bell has rung for the final lap, with the author unceremoniously detonating a plot bombshell that triggers the frenetic, exciting, but not especially convincing sprint to the finish. Bohjalian’s fans will still have fun. Agent: Jane Gelfman, Gelfman Schneider/ICM Partners (Mar.)