Title: The Flight Attendant
Author: Chris Bohjalian
Genre: Fiction, Thriller
One Word Review: Deluding
I’ve woken up to terrible hangovers a time or two (or three) in my thirty years. When reading this book, I tried to remember the worst ones to relate and empathize with Cassie. For instance, we spent my 21st birthday in Las Vegas, and, like a moron, I drank three Appletinis in the course of a few hours. My husband and I still joke about how he went on a quest the next morning for medicinal hangover remedies (aka french friends and greasy food) while I laid in a bed full of Appletini regret.
But luckily, I’ve never woken up hungover in a hotel room next to a slain man and wondered whether I killed him. That journey is one I’ve only taken alongside Cassie in The Flight Attendant.
Cassie Bowden is an international flight attendant who likes to party more than the average person. Often drinking to a blackout state and sleeping with men she meets while traveling, it’s no surprise that she spends the night with a stranger in Dubai. Cassie wakes naked in his hotel room, grateful that he’s still asleep beside her. But she finds a gruesome truth when she quietly rises out of bed and searches for her clothes. The man is dead. The wounds on his body and blood drying around him clearly indicate one thing to Cassie: he was murdered.
The story follows Cassie as she flees the scene and spreads self-preserving lies while she uncovers the truth about the man in Dubai and who killed him.
The Flight Attendant had elements I love in stories, including a complex female protagonist and a murder to solve. The first chapter hooked me and, for a long time, propelled me forward. But in the end, I rated this novel 3/5 stars because its strong opening was deceptive. The story fell a bit flat.
What I Liked Most
The main character, Cassie Bodwen, is amazing. I love her spontaneity and her carefree attitude, even though it’s often self-destructive and the result of her drinking problem. Cassie’s actions would otherwise cause you to face-palm if Bohjalian hadn’t beautifully developed her character. As a result, I accepted each time she broke a rule or did something ill-advised because it aligned with what I knew about her.
What I Didn’t Like
The big reveals and twists were not only obvious, but the delivery was stale and so matter of fact. One of the biggest revelations about Miranda was a small sentence that I missed altogether. I had to go back and re-read a few pages to figure out what I missed. But my most significant criticism is the ending. You are reading this big epic scene, wondering who will live or die, and it just ends. You learn the conclusion in the epilogue, but I wanted that final, action-packed scene. Failure to give me those details was like losing a bunch of money in the stock market. Why did I invest all my time to not get that return?
Should you read it?
You should read at least half of this book if you are planning to watch the TV version so you can better understand Cassie and the rest of the characters. But if you aren’t into TV, then I would skip this book as there are far better thrillers and murder mysteries.
But don’t just take my word for it. See what other readers thought: