By T.J. Newman
I learned something new in this novel, right at the beginning. I love when I learn something new. There is a term called “ditching”, and no, it doesn’t mean what you think it means. It is an aviation term for emergency landing of an aircraft on water. Immediately, I clutched my kindle and became invested.
As a former flight attendant, T.J. Newman uses her knowledge to craft a plane disaster thriller. It has the kind of plot that you would see in one of Gerard Butler’s action movies. It does the job of satisfying those who want a thrilling drama, which doesn’t require much from the readers apart from attention span. Well, you might struggle with technical terminology as I did, but nothing to distract you away from the storyline.
So a plane crash right? Actually, it was much more than that. Aside from the obvious, it is also a story of how a group of passengers come together through a shared traumatic experience. From being total strangers, they steadfastedly become a team, working together to stay alive and to survive this. For me, their connection was the heart of this novel. We have a default leader in Will, who is stranded inside the plane with his young daughter, while his estranged wife (Chris) is on a much dryer land, working with the rescue team to excavate the passengers.
The team (on a dryer land) come to realise that this is not just a crash in the ocean, but that the sinking plane is sitting atop something rather dangerous. Chris’ mama bear mode kicks in and shows absolutely no patience for officials who come up with not so great rescue plans until she convinces them to try her way.
At the start of each chapter, readers are updated on how much time has passed since impact and how many hours of oxygen is left in the plane. This creates a sense of urgency, panic, and chaos, for both readers and characters in the novel.
I liked the ending with the group of survivors. The scene was quite tender and moving. It is a good popcorn novel for those who enjoy aviation thrillers and/or are partial to Gerard Butler action movies.