The Last Flight by Julie Clark
You ever have those days when you just want to stroll through the aisles of the library (or a bookstore) and just pick things up to take home. For me, it’s more financially responsible to stroll through the library, though I won’t say no to a visit to 2nd & Charles. It was on one of these library strolls that I came across The Last Flight by Julie Clark on the shelves. There was no risk in taking it home, so I added it to my stack!
Claire Cook has a perfect life. But behind closed doors, nothing is quite as it seems. That perfect husband has a temper that burns as bright as his promising political career, and he’s not above using his staff to track Claire’s every move. But what he doesn’t know is that Claire has worked for months on a plan to vanish.
A chance meeting in an airport bar brings her together with a woman whose circumstances seem equally dire. Together they make a last-minute decision to switch tickets ― Claire taking Eva’s flight to Oakland, and Eva traveling to Puerto Rico as Claire. But when the flight to Puerto Rico goes down, Claire realizes it’s no longer a head start but a new life. Cut off, out of options, with the news of her death about to explode in the media, Claire will assume Eva’s identity, and along with it, the secrets Eva fought so hard to keep hidden.
If I’m being completely honest, I think that I thought this book was actually The Flight Attendant by Chris Bohjalian. I have no idea why I thought that, but I think that is the connection my brain made when I saw it on the shelf. I had heard great things about the show and thought it would be a good book to read.
To be clear: These are two completely different books and completely different concepts. It was just me that made the very incorrect connection.
Once I got past my incorrect assumption, it was a pretty good book! Written in the standard formula for most suspenseful novels: two perspectives, one is real time, one is in the past leading up to present day. A woman seemingly has a perfect life, but her husband is abusive behind closed doors. The Last Flight did not break the barrier for trying anything new, but it also didn’t feel like every other suspenseful book.
This book was not long, but it felt a bit slow in parts. I read it in just a couple of days, so it did keep my attention. However, I would also put the “believability” caveat on The Last Flight. What are the chances, in real life, that two women would have a chance encounter at the airport and decide to switch flights all willy-nilly? Maybe I have just never been in such a desperate situation, but it feels like a very large leap to take.
I also wish that authors would avoid the drugs and alcohol angle. You can’t read a suspenseful book without there being something about substance use or abuse. There are scary situations in the world beyond drugs and alcoholism!
In the end, I’m glad this was a library book. It was low investment and was a good way to spend a weekend. If you’re looking for an easy read (probably not on an airplane), The Last Flight is perfect for a beach or the pool or a patio weekend.
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