Friday, April 1, 2022

Book Review: Hostage

By Becky Gulc

‘You can save hundreds of lives.

Or the one that matters most...

The atmosphere on board the inaugural non-stop flight from London to Sydney is electric. Numerous celebrities are rumoured to be among the passengers in business class and journalists will be waiting on the ground to greet the plane.

Mina is one of a hand-picked team of flight attendants chosen for the landmark journey. She's trying to focus on the task in hand, and not worry about her troubled five-year-old daughter back at home with her husband. Or the cataclysmic problems in her marriage.

But the plane has barely taken off when Mina receives a chilling note from an anonymous passenger, someone intent on ensuring the plane never reaches its destination. Someone who needs Mina's assistance and who knows exactly how to make her comply.

It's twenty hours to landing.

A lot can happen in twenty hours...’ (Synopsis courtesy of Amazon UK)

I have loved every one of Clare Mackintosh’s novels so far, so I couldn’t wait to read her latest thriller, Hostage. The build-up to its release, clever marketing, and a fun Facebook group definitely had me counting down the days until release. 

Hostage takes place over the course of a day, the length of the first non-stop flight between London and Sydney to be precise.  Highly experienced air hostess and mother Mina is faced with an unthinkable dilemma when she receives a sinister note which raises so many questions for her and for us as readers. We’re introduced to a range of passengers;  you’re soon questioning everyone on board and can trust no one! You soon learn to question Mina’s husband too, who we learn as readers is facing serious debt unbeknownst to Mina. Mina and her husband Adam are effectively both hostages within their own situations which added extra dynamic to the story. 

I felt anxious and claustrophobic, but enjoyed every moment and I didn’t guess what was behind the hostage situation, so I very much enjoyed the discovery. Whilst I haven’t always taken to such time-concentrated narratives, the setting of being on board a flight made this work; it added to the tension. It added to me being unable to put the novel down as I didn’t want to miss anything, as you were swept along with events and the clock ticking! The epilogue ending. . .well that was just spine-tingly good and left me open-mouthed. 

Others have said this and I definitely agree, it feels like you’re witnessing a film when you read this novel and I’d be surprised if it hasn’t been optioned as it would work so well on screen. Another fantastic thriller from Clare and I’m very much looking forward to reading her next novel. 

More by Clare Mackintosh:

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