Hostage – Clare Mackintosh

Published By: Sphere
Pages: 416
Released On: 23/06/2022

You can save hundreds of lives.
Or the one that matters most . . . 

The atmosphere on board the first non-stop flight from London to Sydney is electric. Celebrities are rumoured to be among the passengers in business class, and the world is watching the landmark journey.

Flight attendant Mina is trying to focus on the passengers, instead of her troubled five-year-old daughter back at home – or the cataclysmic problems in her marriage.

But soon after the plane takes off, Mina receives a chilling anonymous note. Someone wants to make sure the plane never reaches its destination. They’re demanding her cooperation . . . and they know exactly how to get it.

It’s twenty hours to landing.
A lot can happen in twenty hours . . .


I was a bit wary of reading this as it sounded exactly like Falling by TJ Newman, which was a book I devoured in hours as I thought it was excellent. But I do like Clare Mackintosh books so thought I’d give it a go. And the same thing happened. Read it in a matter of hours.

Whilst I found Falling very plot heavy, for me, this is more character focussed. Yes, you’ve still got a lot of plot happening, but it focusses more on how the individual people deal with. Clare had given us their background, their emotions, their loved, their motives, so that when the emergency does happen, we’re fully invested in them and you’re willing for them to win.

As expected, it’s full of twists and turns and revelations that I just didn’t see coming and suddenly the story goes down a different path. You start questioning everyone, can you believe who they say they are? Can you trust them? Who is hiding in plain sight?

This book perfectly encapsulates the claustrophobia that being on a plane brings. I don’t think any flights I’ve taken have exceeded 3-4 hours; I cannot imagine what it’s like to be on a plane for 20 hours straight, hijackers or no hijackers.

What I really liked was the mixture of viewpoints. We get to see how different people react to this situation. We hear from Mina, our cabin crew protagonist, Adam, her husband on the ground, and then from the hijackers themselves. You start to see things from everyone’s perspective and it’s an uncomfortable read at times. I think by having the multiple viewpoints, we see the ripple effects of an attack of this nature.

I found it really emotional. And not necessarily in the obvious way. As you can imagine in a book about plane hijacking, there is a certain amount of collateral damage, but it wasn’t those bits I found moving. Yes it’s a story about a plane hijacking, but it’s also a story about overcoming your fears, about realising who you love, and about what you would be prepared to do for your family.

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