I’d been desperately looking out for a review copy of Hostage on NetGalley with eagle eyes, when surprise, surprise, I receive an email from the publisher with an exclusive link for early access. The reasons this review is posted 2 months later is because A. my reading list (which currently has a dozen ARCs pending) is ordered by publication date, and B. Covid-19 which, despite strict social distancing, managed to infect my family and me and we are still on the road to recovery. Even so, I did manage to get this review of Hostage to taxi to the front of the line and take-off without any unnecessary delays.
With every book, Clare Mackintosh brings something new to her narrative style. The events in Hostage are narrated by Mina, the flight attendant on Flight79, and her husband Adam who is home with their daughter Sophia. Then there are the passengers, identified simply by their seat numbers, introducing themselves. There is, of course, a hijacker on board who, for the time being, has chosen to remain anonymous. The clues to their identity and motive lie hidden in the stories bouncing back and forth.
The twenty hours to landing are counted down hour by hour. When the hijacker threatens Mina to co-operate or else, the hours seem to fly past which is impressively effective in amping up the tension.
In the beginning, keeping up with the passengers and their stories may seem confusing; a new one added every few chapters. But as you absorb them, the pieces begin to find their spot in the puzzle, slotting into place. Even so, Mackintosh refuses to hand over control of her story to the reader, keeping you guessing every step of the way. There are moments that make you gasp, shudder, pull the ground from beneath your feet, and yet you can’t bring yourself to stop reading. You’re completely hypnotised.
Mina’s past, her turbulent marriage with Adam, coupled with the challenges of raising a special needs’ child, adds a layer of unpredictability to Mina’s character. This, in making her a delightfully flawed protagonist, adds to the suspense.
You’re always in for a surprise with this author. Just when you think the mystery is solved, she throws in one last piece of the puzzle and pushes you off a cliff. I’ve come to learn that in Clare Mackintosh’s novels the game is over when her characters say so. Not a moment sooner.
I have enjoyed all books by this author though her debut I Let You Go has always been my favourite, one I recommend new readers of her work to start with. Well, let’s say it has now moved to second place.
Mounting tension and high drama at thirty thousand feet, with nowhere to go other than fall out of the sky, Hostage is by far the most intriguing suspense thriller I’ve read in a long time. I doubt I’ll find another one to match this anytime soon.
Book 25 of 2021.
Aquamarine Flavours Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟.
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