Falling

Falling by T. J. Newman

A compelling read, this debut thriller is perfect summer reading; unless you’re on an airplane. Former flight attendant and bookseller Newman had many rejections when trying to find an agent, then ended up with an instant bestseller. Pilot Bill Hoffman of Coastal Airways has just begun a flight from Los Angeles to New York City with copilot Ben when he gets an emailed photo of his family, taken hostage. Expecting a ransom demand, Bill is instead told to crash the plane in order to save his wife Carrie, son Scott, 10, and baby Elise. Bill gets word to head flight attendant Jo, who has a contact with the FBI, and she agrees to try to protect the passengers. Chapters alternate between the points of view of Bill, Carrie, Jo, and the FBI, making the book increasingly difficult to put down. The author’s background makes the airplane setting and responses of the flight crew seem authentic. In a twist, the hostage taker informs Bill that he has a Plan B already on board the plane. Film rights have been sold. Readalikes include Airport by Arthur Hailey, Hostage by Clare Mackintosh and Airframe by Michael Crichton.

 

Brenda

September 2021 Book Discussion

Join the Tuesday Evening Book Group for our first in-person book discussion of 2021. We will be meeting in the 2nd floor Mahlke Meeting Room at 7 pm on Tuesday, September 28 to discuss Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes. This is a first novel set in small town Maine, about the unlikely relationship between a young woman who’s lost her husband and a major league pitcher who’s lost his game. My earlier review is here.

Please register online or at the Computer Help Desk. Copies of the book are available at the Circulation Desk; eBook and eAudiobook copies are available at Media on Demand/Libby and eRead Illinois. Hope to see you here!

Brenda

Cloud Cuckoo Land

Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr

The Pulitzer Prize winning author of All The Light We Cannot See has written another masterpiece. Set in an astonishing variety of settings and time periods, with a story within the larger story to keep the reader enchanted. In a modern day public library in Idaho, Zeno, a Korean War veteran, is helping several children produce a play he translated from the Greek. Young seamstress Anna and Omeir and his oxen are caught up in a siege of Constantinople in 1453. In the future, teenager Konstance is living on a spaceship bound for planet Beta Oph2. Doerr excels at storytelling, plot, and characters, although this is not a happy, upbeat story. Somehow, the storylines converge with the theme of the importance of story to inspire, cheer, and remember. Readalike authors include Elsa Hart, David Mitchell, Natasha Pulley, and Neal Stephenson.

Brenda

The Last Thing He Told Me

The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave

On their houseboat in Sausalito, California, Hannah receives a cryptic note from her husband Owen. All it says is “Protect her”. Her 16-year-old stepdaughter Bailey gets a longer note and a duffle bag full of money in her locker before Owen vanishes. Owen is a coder for The Shop, a technology firm. On the news, Hannah learns that Owen’s boss has been arrested for financial fraud.

Hannah is a talented and successful woodturner, crafting tables and other furniture, but struggles to connect with Bailey, who lost her mother when she was little. Hannah knows how important Bailey is to Owen, and they travel to Texas to follow up on some clues. The story goes back and forth a couple years in time, to show how Owen and Hannah met and fell in love, before Hannah realizes she knows very few facts about Owen’s past.

This is the fifth novel and first thriller by Laura Dave. I enjoyed Eight Hundred Grapes, so I thought I’d try her new bestseller. This was not the suspense book I was expecting, although it definitely lives up to the hype. The compelling story is intricately plotted, and I guessed wrong on a couple of plot twists, but this is primarily a book about relationships and priorities, focusing on resilient, quick-thinking Hannah and how her relationships with Owen and Bailey develop. Readalikes include The Expats by Chris Pavone, Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell and Watch Me Disappear by Janelle Brown.

Brenda