cover image Falling


T.J. Newman. Avid Reader, $28 (304p) ISBN 978-1-9821-7788-1

Soon after Coastal Airways captain Bill Hoffman, the hero of former flight attendant Newman’s superlative debut, is airborne on a flight from Los Angeles to JFK Airport, he gets a blank email from his wife, Carrie. The attached photo shows her and their 10-year-old son, Scott, standing in their living room, their faces covered with hoods and bombs strapped to their bodies. Then he gets a FaceTime call from Saman Khani, who presents the pilot with a choice: Bill must crash the plane, or the terrorist will kill Carrie, Scott, and Elise, the Hoffmans’ baby. Telling anyone of the situation or sending anyone to the house will ensure their deaths. Determined to avoid choosing between the lives of his loved ones and those of his crewmates and the 144 passengers on the flight, Bill must use all his experience and smarts to achieve that impossible goal by trying to get help to his family via a crew member who has a trusted relative in the FBI and by taking the flight attendants into his confidence. Newman makes buy-in to the setup easy by ensuring every character, including Khani, is multidimensional. This tense, convincing thriller marks the arrival of an assured new talent. Agent: Shane Salerno, Story Factory. (July)