Tag Archive | @ChrisBohjalian

“The Flight Attendant” Book Review

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Author: Chris Bohjalian

Publisher: Doubleday

Publication Date: March 13, 2018

Genre: Mystery, Thriller

Rating: ✈️ ✈️ ✈️ ✈️.75 out of ✈️ ✈️ ✈️ ✈️ ✈️

Description from the book jacket:

Cassandra Bowden is no stranger to hungover mornings. She’s a binge drinker, her job with the airline making it easy to find adventure, and the occasional blackouts seem to be inevitable. She lives with them, and the accompanying self-loathing. When she awakes in a Dubai hotel room, she tries to piece the previous night back together, already counting the minutes until she has to catch her crew shuttle to the airport. She quietly slides out of bed, careful not to aggravate her already pounding head, and looks at the man she spent the night with. She sees his dark hair. His utter stillness. And blood, a slick, still wet pool on the crisp white sheets.

Afraid to call the police–she’s a single woman alone in a hotel room far from home–Cassie begins to lie. She lies as she joins the other flight attendants and pilots in the van. She lies on the way to Paris as she works the first class cabin. She lies to the FBI agents in New York who meet her at the gate. Soon it’s too late to come clean-or face the truth about what really happened back in Dubai. Could she have killed him? If not, who did?

Set amid the captivating world of those whose lives unfold at forty thousand feet, The Flight Attendant unveils a spellbinding story of memory, of the giddy pleasures of alcohol and the devastating consequences of addiction, and of murder far from home.

Thoughts:

Earlier this year Chris Bohjalian came to Denver’s Tattered Cover Bookstore to read from and discuss his, at the time, latest novel, The Sleepwalker. During that discussion, the question that all authors are inevitably asked, “what are you currently working on?” came up. In answer to this, Chris shared that he was working on a book about a flight attendant who wakes up next to a dead body in a hotel room in Dubai. I couldn’t help but squeal when I hear this, turns out my squeal was quite loud as it caught Chris’s attention and I went on to share that I was excited because I am a flight attendant. This exchange resulted in not only email correspondence, but also a mutual following of one another on various social media platforms.

It was thus with much anticipatory breath that I waited for Chris to finish his book and for the galley’s to be produced, for I kept my fingers crossed I would get to read a galley of the book. Needless to say, my wish came true and I received my very own galley of the book. Thank you to both Chris and Doubleday for providing me with this wonderfully suspenseful book about a character with my same job.

Now for my thoughts on this book, both from a reader and a flight attendant’s perspective. As a reader, I found the book to be engaging right from the start as the reader is introduced to the main character, Cassie, and the body of the man she spent the night with lying next to her in bed. From those opening pages, I found that at no point did the story lag or lose my interest. I wanted nothing more than to keep reading, to see what would happen to Cassie and if her need for alcohol would be her inevitable downfall.

As much as I wanted to see what would happen to Cassie next, what she would say and do, I also feared what actions and decisions she would make. Cassie is perhaps one of the most complex characters I’ve read this year. At her heart she is a good person, but her drunkenness leads to such horrible decisions that I couldn’t help but want to reach into the pages and try to shake some sense into her as I feared both for her life and her career. Not wanting to give anything away, I will say that the climax of the book is like that final steep climb to the top of the tallest roller coaster and upon reaching its crest, you’ll find yourself wanting to throw your hands in the air and scream with the excitement of it all as it makes its final drop.

You’re probably asking yourself, if I loved the book so much, why the 4.75 airplane rating instead of a full 5 airplane rating? Well, this is where the flight attendant part of me responds to the book. Chris did a wonderful job in crafting and delivering this story, but there were some things about airlines and being a flight attendant that he got wrong. Although these few areas are ones that I know readers with no personal relationship to the airline industry (either work for an airline themselves or have a close relative who works for the industry) will pick up on these discrepancies, I unfortunately picked up on them immediately.

Despite this quarter point deduction, I still recommend this book and will even say that it’s my favorite of Chris’s books to date. This book is one that fans of Chris Bohjalian will not want to miss. It’s also great for readers who enjoy a good mystery packed with nonstop suspicion and thrills. For those who are going on vacation, whether it be to a beach or not, this is a great book to join you on your travels.

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“The Night Strangers” Book Review


Author: Chris Bohjalian

Publisher: Crown Publishers

Type: Fiction, Mystery, Paranormal, Thriller

Rating: 🌸🌸🌸🌸 out of 🌸🌸🌸🌸🌸

Synopsis:

Chris Bohjalian’s creepy thriller tells the story of the Linton family: Chip, Emily and twin ten-year-old daughters Garnet and Hallie. The Linton’s have moved to New Hampshire for what they hope will be a fresh start for their family, following Chip’s tragic plane crash of his regional jet into Lake Champlain. For Chip, the day started off like any other, with a normal taxi and take-off; unfortunately, the flight quickly went wrong when the plane hit a flock of geese causing dual engine failure and the inevitable crash into the lake. Despite Chip’s best efforts to safely land the plane, a la “the Miracle on the Hudson”, the majority of the passengers and crew aboard his flight die upon the initial impact or shortly thereafter due to drowning.

While Chip works to cope with the crash and discern what the ghosts who now haunt him want, Emily and the twins find themselves the center and focus of a group of herbalist women who are viewed as being witches by others in the town. As the ghosts push Chip closer towards harming his own family, Emily finds that not only does she need to protect her children from the father who has become distant and a stranger in their own home, but also from the neighbors whom she kept telling herself were just a harmless group of herbalists, yet are showing themselves to be anything but.

Thoughts:

From the very first sentence to the final page of the book, I was hooked on The Night Strangers. I found the depiction of the crash to be both engaging and wonderfully described, so much so that it caused me to reflect on my training as a flight attendant the different scenarios I’m trained for, to think about what kinds of actions I would be performing in that scene as part of the cabin crew. As I followed the family in their journey to their new town and house, I couldn’t help but pick up on what I viewed as influences on the author from other pieces of literature. The haunted house with whispers in the dark to the father, slowly driving him mad and pushing him towards murder made me think of both The Amityville Horror  and The Shining; I further thought of The Shining in the depiction of the twins. Although Garnet and Hallie are in no way shape or form as creepy as the twin girls in The Shining, there was still something about them and the keen interest the women of the herbalist club took in the girls that made me feel that there was something possibly supernatural within the girls themselves.

Anyone who has read a book by Chris Bohjalian will tell you that he is an amazing writer who really brings his characters to life and has an unbelievable knack for writing the female voice, but of all the books I have read by him I think that this may be my favorite in how he tells it. Most authors will tell and entire story in either first person narration, or third person; in The Night Strangers, Chris not only utilizes both first and third person narrations, but he also incorporates the second person narrator which was a truly unique and enjoyable method of storytelling to encounter as the reader. For those who are not familiar with second person narration, it is typically encountered in how-to books and cook books, for it’s when you as the reader are told what to do. In The Night Strangers, the second person is used when the reader is alone with the father, Chip. In these scenes, the reader is made to feel as though they themselves are Chip performing the different actions throughout the house. These scenes were some of my favorite parts of the book as it made me more sympathetic towards Chip as I was literally placed into his shoes.

In the end I was very satisfied with The Night Strangers, in no small part because it was an interesting and unique read which held my attention, but also because of how it was told. The only thing I had to complain about, it you can even call it a complaint, was a brief section in the book when Chip is reflecting on how if he hadn’t had the crash, he was on track to go from being the Captain on a regional jet to one day flying a Boeing 777. The issue I had with this is that that’s not how it works. In the airline industry, regional pilots can only transition from a regional plane (United Express, American Eagle) to a mainline aircraft (Airbus A319/A320 and Boeing 777, 747, etc.) if they interview with a mainline carrier (United Airlines, American Airlines) and are hired by that mainline airline. This was such a minor issue, and one that unless the person works in the airline industry or has family who works in the industry, the average reader wouldn’t even pick up on this, which I do recognize.

Despite my nitpicking of a truly minor detail to the larger story as a whole, I continue to be an avid fan of Chris Bohjalian. I will continue to read more of his books, and I’ll probably even return to this story at some point as I know that there are things I will pick up on with future readings.