Thursday, August 29, 2019

The Flight Attendant by Chris Bohjalian

When Cassie Bowden wakes up she is disoriented.  That's not anything new; as a woman who drinks too much she is used to waking up in unfamiliar rooms, often with a man she barely remembers.  As a flight attendant, she often can't even immediately place the city she is in. 

But something is even stranger this morning.  As she tries to orient herself, she realises something is very wrong.  There's a smell and a feel around her she has never experienced.  As the fog lifts, she sees the charming hedge fund manager, Alexander, she spent the night with.  But this is Alexander covered in a cascade of blood; his throat slashed.  What could she have done?

Cassie manages to get herself together, leave the hotel room and make it back to her own hotel before the flight out of Dubai leaves.  She is full of questions.  Could she have done it?  Why doesn't she remember?  Who was the woman who came by to have a drink with them?  How can she get by and keep the secret?

Inevitably, the story emerges.  Cassie is caught between her job and the police investigation.  The FBI are called in as the victim is an American in a foreign land.  Worse, it turns out the woman who Cassie barely remembers was an assassin.  That woman, Elena, is in trouble herself for not killing Cassie at the same time she killed Alexander.  Cassie is left to wonder who will get her first, Elena or the law?

Bohjalian has written an engaging premise and opening chapter for this book.  The reader cannot help but imagine what that scene must have been like and what they would have done in Cassie's place.  But, at least for me, I found Cassie's lack of personal engagement with others and her selfish self-destruction offputting enough that I had a hard time relating to her.  This book is recommended for thriller readers.

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