Summer. Great for lounging by the pool or the ocean or on the sun porch, your nose in a good book. And of course what you want is a book whose thrills actually thrill, whose twists and turns cause whiplash, a book you really can’t put down.
Dear reader, I introduce you to Falling by T.J. Newman.
Imagine you’re an airline pilot, and you’re minutes into a long flight. You get a message: crash the plane or we’ll kill your family.
Already, this is a book that’s all but super-glued to your fingers. Right? And it only gets better from there — at least for the reader — as the pilot is forced to try and solve his no-win problem.
Newman was a flight attendant, and she wrote Falling during red-eyes, when her passengers were asleep. She knew she had an amazing plot, and she knew all about the real life of flight crews beyond the smiles and the sodas. It’s that real life that gives Falling its foundation, those scenes that bring you behind the scenes and inside the minds of the characters. It’s Newman’s knack for detail in Falling that makes you sort of forget you’re reading a book. Instead, you’re in the pilot’s seat, or in the stewardess’s shoes, or with the pilot’s wife, or with the terrorist who’s put the pilot in this horrific Sophie’s-choice position.
What I mean is, Newman knows that even with a good plot like this one, and even with her fast-read, crisp writing, in the end it’s the characters that make a book impossible to put down.
I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough, and neither could my mother. Usually, this isn’t her kind of book, but she devoured it in just two days. I happened to be in the room as she finished it, and her actual outbursts from scene to scene — and sometimes sentence to sentence — told me she was deep in it, captured by the suspense, the pace, and the characters. (Usually outbursts like this come from my father as he’s watching a football game.)
If Falling had bonus features, one would be the back story in which Newman submitted her manuscript to 42 agents. It was rejected by all but the last. The wait for the one who says yes is the kind of suspense that can kill an author’s drive. Thankfully, Newman saw it through. She landed the book and the deal. And my mom, me, and I bet you, too, as readers. ◊