You know that person you wanted to be when you grew up? There’s still time.
That’s the message of Chris Bohjalian’s latest murder mystery, THE FLIGHT ATTENDANT.
And it’s damned good news, too–for those of us who are old enough to know that one’s life is the sum total of one’s choices, good or bad. We may not be able to rewind the tape and get a do-over (apologies to younger readers who have never dealt with VCR, cassette or 8-track tapes) BUT any day we are fortunate enough to wake up above ground is another chance to make a change for the better.
Title is linked to Amazon and there are no spoilers ahead.
Cassandra Bowden never met a drink or a bar or a man she didn’t want to enjoy. It must be genetic–her father was a no-good drunk. So Cassie turned out to be an even better drunk. It was easy given that her mama was dead and her sister had moved on to marriage, children and the white picket fence thing.
No longer a young flight attendant, middle-aged Cassie never married or had children, unless you count boinking young men picked up at home and abroad. She lives a life conducive to hook ups and hangovers.
So when she flies to Dubai and chats up the hot man in her section, it’s not unusual for them to meet for dinner and an overnight date. Things get a little foggy when an associate of his stops by–an attractive woman. Cassie wonders if things are about to get kinky, but alas, Miranda leaves after the three guzzle the booze she brought.
Cassie and her man-candy go back to bed and it’s all good until morning. She awakes, hungover as hell, and realizes the man with whom she has just enjoyed toe-curling, tender sex is laying next to her, throat slit and dead as Saddam Hussein.
What to do? As Cassie navigates the next few hours of getting back to her hotel, and then to the airport, and then on her flight and then answering questions from the FBI awaiting her at the gate in the USA, the reader is caught up in a whirlwind murder mystery.
There’s no turning back from there. This is the kind of book you will devour in one or two sittings. It’s a stay-up-all-nighter.
Cassie is the kind of character you cheer for, but she just keeps making bad choices. And not in a jarring out of the text-way, but in a compelling “I’ve got to keep reading” way.
This is by far the best suspense book I’ve read in a long time. I love Chris Bohjalian’s writing–he knows how to spin a web and give us characters with pathos. I know some readers have not liked the fact that Bohjalian has delved into the current trend of mysteries with unreliable, flawed narrators a la The Girl on the Train or Gone Girl, but personally Cassie did a whole lot more for me than the dark, wacko Girls.
Yes, I enjoyed reading about a self-destructive alcoholic woman–it reinforces my decisions to be sober and mindful about the choices I make.
This book will make some readers say, “There but for the grace of God go I” and also “Things are not always as they seem.”
I love Chris Bohjalian’s writing style. Extra bonus points for the research he obviously completes–I learn something every time I read one of his books. Plus, his vocabulary is gorgeous.
My only complaint is a plot device at the end that jarred me out of suspending disbelief, and for that reason this book gets four out of five foxes. Still, a compelling page-turner worth the clams.