Tuesday 6 July 2021

Hostage by Clare Mackintosh @claremackint0sh @BooksSphere #Hostage #BookReview


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 . . .

Hostage by Clare Mackintosh was published by Sphere in hardback on 22 June 2021. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review.
I read this quite a while ago, and publication date was originally in July, my review was scheduled for the first publication date, so I'm a little date due to the changes! 

Quite possibly one of the most anticipated books of this summer, it feels like a long time since the author's last psychological thriller. It has most certainly been worth the wait!  This is a story that draws the reader from the very first page, introducing character who we are never quite sure about. It's cleverly structured and is so much more than a mile-a-minute thriller. Whilst there are twists and turns and thrills a plenty, there's also such depth to the characters. It's a thriller with a message, it's a story that will raise questions .. the most important one is ... what would you do?

Mina is cabin crew for a large airline and is part of the crew for the much publicised, first non-stop flight from London to Sydney. This flight has been planned for years, and the passengers include celebrities and press. Whilst Mina loves her job, she wasn't really meant to be on the flight. Her relationship with her husband Adam is almost broken completely and getting a colleague to swap a shift with her felt like the easiest way to avoid pre-Christmas celebrations with Adam. 

Adam and Mina are parents to five year old Sophia. Sophia is highly intelligent, with challenging behaviour that has put a strain on her parents relationship. Mina is determined that she will do everything that she can to ensure that Sophia has a happy life. After years of desperately wanting a child, they were able to adopt Sophia, and her very early years were dysfunctional and traumatic, leaving emotional scars that are displayed in her behaviours. 

The author introduces some of the passengers throughout the narrative, spoken in the first person, and only the reader can decide if they believe these statements. It's a clever structure, giving a voice to each one, and then, later in the story, seeing how each of those people behave when the exciting flight turns into everyone's worst nightmare. 

Imagine you have a choice. You put a hundreds of people, 35,000 feet in the air, in mortal danger, in exchange for your daughter's life. This is what Mina has to decide. Does she put her professional training over her child's life?  What would you do?

There's also drama back on ground. Adam has a murky secret of his own and his life is slowly unravelling, violently. He is filled with shame, with anger, and with fear, and some of the scenes with him and Sophia are so tense that I bruised my lip because I was biting down so hard. 

The 'hostage' of the title does not only apply to the passengers who are travelling on the plane. Both Mina and Adam are held hostage by the demons in their head. Mina is traumatised by flashbacks to a time that she considers to be her biggest failure, whilst Adam's current situation and the potential fall out from what he has done threatens to drive him crazy. 

Hostage is a tense, perfectly structured story about ordinary people who find themselves in an extraordinary situation. It's a insightful look at how people can be manipulated by those cleverer than themselves, by people who play on their weaknesses to achieve their own goals.  Thrilling, addictive and totally entertaining. I loved it. 

Clare Mackintosh is the multi-award winning author of four Sunday Times bestselling novels. 

Her first three novels were all Richard and Judy Book Club picks. 
Translated into forty languages, her books have sold more than two million copies worldwide, have been New York Times and international bestsellers and have spent a combined total of sixty weeks in the Sunday Times bestseller chart. 

Clare lives in North Wales with her husband and their three children. 

For more information visit Clare’s website http://www.claremackintosh.com 

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