Save hundreds of lives, or the one that matters most: Hostage by Clare Mackintosh #bookreview #HostageBook #NetGalley #20booksofsummer

You can save hundreds of lives. Or the one that matters most.
A claustrophobic thriller set over twenty hours on one airplane flight, with the heart-stopping tension of The Last Flight and the wrenching emotional intensity of Room, Hostage takes us on board the inaugural nonstop flight from London to Sydney.
Mina is trying to focus on her job as a flight attendant, not the problems of her five-year-old daughter back home, or the fissures 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.

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Hi and welcome to my review of Hostage!

There’s a bit of an influx of stories set on a plane this summer, no idea what brought that about, and having read just this one, I have to say I’m quite happy I didn’t plan any holidays by plane this year. When boarding a plane, I find it’s best not to dwell on all that could go wrong, but I don’t think I’ve ever considered the possibility of a hijacking. I fear I will be from now on….

Hostage takes us aboard a Boeing 777 on the first nonstop flight from London to Sydney, and I absolutely loved this setting and the look behind the scenes at the jobs of the cabin crew. The events are told from the POV of flight attendant Mina, who boards the plane with an ominous feeling, which is only made worse when she finds a photo of her daughter among the things of one of the passengers. Still trying to figure out what that might mean she finds a note addressed to her, a note with instructions, a note that will force her to choose between the life of many and the life of the one that matters the most.

Meanwhile, we follow the situation at home from the POV of Mina’s husband Adam, who is struggling both at work and at home following some bad decisions and lapses of judgement, and things will clearly get worse before they get better – if they get any better at all.

Interspersing these perspectives are chapters from the POV of some of the passengers, giving us some other insights and some background, and while these may seem rather irrelevant at first, their purpose soon becomes clear.

As I’ve come to expect from Clare Macintosh, Hostage is a balanced combination of plot-driven and character-driven: while the plot is important and you want to know what’s going to happen next, characterisation is equally important, the characters are well-rounded and at times the plot slows while all the attention goes to the characters and their issues and backgrounds. To be clear: I’m not criticising, the pacing doesn’t feel off and I actually really like that approach. 

To be perfectly honest, Hostage is not the most likely nor the most unpredictable scenario out there and I did have to suspend disbelief a few times and I also had a few niggles (that will remain undisclosed cos spoilers). Did I really care though? Actually, I did not. I could easily overanalyse this story, pick it apart and find fault, but the fact is I binged it in little over a day, it was very entertaining throughout and I had a great time.

If thrillers laced with human drama are your bag and you’re looking for your next summer read, be sure to check out Hostage.

Hostage is out today, 22 June 2021!

Thanks to Sphere and NetGalley for the eARC. All opinions are still my own.

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