Review: Falling by T.J. Newman

Falling

T.J. Newman’s Falling created a buzz in the publishing world, landing her a big-league publishing contract and multiple studios looking to adapt the novel for the silver screen. Newman’s background of working in a bookstore and then as a flight attendant made for a potent combination and I have nothing but respect for her tenacity in getting his novel published.

I just wish I’d loved it as much as many of the authors who provided a cover blurb for the novel did.

Pilot Bill Hoffman takes on a last-minute assignment to pilot one-hundred-and-forty-three souls from the West Coast to the East Coast. This move has created tension at homes, where Bill promised his son he’d be there for a critical baseball game. But little does Bill know that will be the least of his worries by the end of the day.

Seems that a group of terrorists has kidnapped Bill’s family and is holding them hostage. Bill now has a choice — sacrifice his family or the souls aboard his plane. And if he tries to tell anyone or call for help, his family pays the price.

The idea of a good man being put into an impossible situation and required to make a choice isn’t necessarily a new one. And for the first third of Falling it feels like Newman might be trying to explore this dilemma a bit. However, the longer the situation goes on and the more players she puts on the field, the less interesting the dilemma and the story become. By the end of this one, I was reading mostly to see if my guesses for what happens next would come true and less because I had any investment in the story or characters.

And that may be the biggest drawback to Falling — the lack of any characters to invest in. Each character feels more like a cliche than an actual person. And while I can see what the story is trying to do with the motivation of the terrorists (which takes far too long to come to light), I’m not necessarily sure I walked away feeling like the characters or this reader has necessarily learned anything.

Honestly, I’m not sure what all the buzz is about. This one has potential, but it never quite lived up to it.

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