Readers will fall for ‘Falling’

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Before you start reading “Falling” (2021) by T.J. Newman, make sure you’ve cleared the rest of your day. You’re going to want to keep reading until you’re done – all the way to the end.

Capt. Bill Hoffman took a last-minute call to pilot a plane from Los Angeles to New York. Just after take-off, he gets an email showing his wife Carrie, 10-year-old son and 10-month-old daughter being held hostage. The terrorist demands Bill crash the plane with all 144 souls on board. If Bill refuses, his family will die.

What would you do?

“Falling” is an insider’s view of what happens when a terrorist tries to take down a plane in the digital age. It is a commentary on our world right now, where people think they have the right to make anyone pay for the wrongs they perceive as having been done to them, and the others who stand in their way.

This debut novel is the perfect example of “write what you know.” T.J. Newman is a flight attendant who knows airline protocol and she takes the reader through all the nuances: what the pilots know, what the flight attendants do, how planes work, and how the industry responds. Newman knows exactly what happens inside an aircraft to prevent a catastrophic event and what happens outside it when a plane deviates off course, including how air traffic controllers re-act, what law enforcement and the military do and how the government prepares for a 9/11-like incident where no one is safe.

We’ve seen disaster movies set on planes, but “Falling” tells you what the crew is doing, the delicate tightrope they walk between their smiling professional demeanor and the seriousness of their real job – their single-minded devotion to making sure all their passengers survive.

Newman doesn’t stop the action for anything. The minute-by-minute story races at a breakneck speed, with no lulls, no dull moments, every second stampeding toward the ending.

The best novels combine fact with fiction and Newman balances the nuts and bolts facts with characters who are in a terrifying situation and reacting as humans do.

It’s about heroes: the ones that train to be heroes, the everyday heroes – and the ones who should never have to be heroes.

I think this book will be of interest to both men and women because it has a lot of practical information about the airline industry told in a character-rich story that takes you back and forth emotionally from anger to heart-melting tenderness.

“Falling” will leave you asking a lot of questions, not about the story, but about our world and what we can do to improve it.

For more information, visit simonandschuster.com, click on authors, then on “N”, and scroll to Newman, T.J.







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