Book Review

Drowning by T. J. Newman | Book Review

Drowning by T J Newman
Release Date: 30th May 2023
Genre: Adult, Thriller
Source: Publisher, NetGalley
Rating: ★★★★

Flight attendant turned New York Times bestselling author T. J. Newman—whose first book Falling was an instant #1 national bestseller and the biggest thriller debut of 2021—returns for her second book, an edge-of-your-seat thriller about a commercial jetliner that crashes into the ocean, and sinks to the bottom with passengers trapped inside, and the extraordinary rescue operation to save them.

Six minutes after takeoff, Flight 1421 crashes into the Pacific Ocean. During the evacuation, an engine explodes and the plane is flooded. Those still alive are forced to close the doors—but it’s too late. The plane sinks to the bottom with twelve passengers trapped inside.

More than two hundred feet below the surface, engineer Will Kent and his eleven-year-old daughter Shannon are waist-deep in water and fighting for their lives.

Their only chance at survival is an elite rescue team on the surface led by professional diver Chris Kent—Shannon’s mother and Will’s soon-to-be ex-wife—who must work together with Will to find a way to save their daughter and rescue the passengers from the sealed airplane, which is now teetering on the edge of an undersea cliff.

There’s not much time.

There’s even less air.

With devastating emotional power and heart-stopping suspense, Drowning is an unforgettable thriller about a family’s desperate fight to save themselves and the people trapped with them—against impossible odds.

When I saw that T J Newman was releasing another thriller book based on a plane, I knew I had to pick it up. I read Falling by her last year and very much enjoyed the anxiety it gave me – I’m not the best with flights – so I wanted to have those same feelings again with this one. Because I don’t read synopses for thriller books to avoid being potentially spoiled, I didn’t actually know this was about a plane that sank to the bottom of the ocean. Guess what? I’M TERRIFIED OF OPEN WATER.

I felt such tension throughout this entire book. From the very first page you know there’s no hope for the plane and that it’s going to crash into the water, and you know the rescue teams are going to struggle to reach the survivors. I was holding my breath the entire time as I tried to conserve air alongside the trapped passengers.

I liked how Newman utilised various points of view in this one. If she had only focused on the one main character, I think it would have been a very, very short book because this character, Will, only had about five hours of air left before he suffocated. Newman also chose to focus on Will’s wife, Chris, as she tried to help in any way she could from the surface.

There are some truly horrific moments in this book, which is exactly what I seek out in survival thrillers. A couple of these scenes in particular will stick with me for years to come. Did I mention I hate the ocean?

Overall, I highly recommend Drowning by T. J. Newman to anyone looking for a heart-pumping thriller that will keep you up late into the night. I literally stayed awake until 4am reading this, partly because I couldn’t sleep during the UK heatwave but also because I was so concerned about the characters.

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