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.
Written by flight attendant turned bestselling author T.J. Newman, Drowning is her second novel and breakneck thriller, this time centred around a commercial jetliner that sinks to the bottom of the ocean with passengers trapped inside – still alive. We follow the rescue operation to save them.
Another gripping disaster procedural to keep you hooked, Drowning largely centres around twelve passengers aboard a doomed flight that crashes into the Pacific Ocean on its way from Honolulu. The aviation thriller moves between the passengers aboard the sunken plane, and the rescue team working around the clock to save them.
“The fire spread in every direction as razor-sharp pieces of the plane littered the water’s surface like fallen leaves. The air reeked of smoke and jet fuel. Passengers who had evacuated early and managed to swim away from the plane were huddled together, holding on to a portion of the wing tip that was still floating. They thought they were far enough out – but the fire was stalking them.”
Newman’s writing is direct and palatable. There is a surprising amount of emotion to the characters, bubbling under the surface of this psychological thriller. T.J. Newman has taken her personal experiences as a flight attendant and turned them into a really engaging, digestible story. And from what I’ve read, her first novel Falling is just as enthralling.
A lot of the story centres around Will, an engineer, and his daughter Shannon, who are both still haunted by the accidental death of Shannon’s sister years earlier. His estranged wife Chris is part of the rescue mission and coincidentally possesses a lot of skills that come in useful when trying to save the passengers. There are also a few other staple passengers inside the plan – pilot Kit, elderly couple Ruth and Ira, and another young girl around Shannon’s age.
Because quite a significant number of passengers survive the crash, and they’re involved in such a high-stake, tense situation, team work is one of the vital components to their survival. There’s quite a bit of conflict within the plane as Will tries desperately to rally the group and agree on methods of survival. With elderly and children amongst the survivors, that also heightens the stakes as the air starts to run out on the plane.
“Outside, the waterline rose against the fuselage until window views of blue water replaced blue sky for the twelve souls that were still trapped inside. As the last of the tail slipped into the water, bubbles whirled in the plane’s downward suctioning draft. Against the vast expanse of the open ocean, the massive commercial jet was like a child’s toy in a bathtub.”
The book does, naturally, require you to suspend your disbelief. Whilst the book is based on a very real, possible scenario, the stakes are certainly heightened for the purpose of entertainment. Personally, I would’ve preferred the line of communication between the passengers and the rescue team be completely severed – the phone calls seemed a little too easy, given the circumstances.
With quite a large number of characters that we’re following, both inside and outside of the plane, I did start to get confused by all of the names – it was a bit of a struggle remembering who was who, and even the blocking got a bit confusing. The movements in the plane and where people were located, and particularly the water level and remembering where people could and couldn’t go did get a bit overwhelming. The mechanics of the accident also flew over my head a bit and so at some point I just acknowledged that I was along for the ride and I had to let me scepticism subside.
“Will was holding his hand out to the little girl who was on her own when suddenly, a high-pitched noise came from outside. The loud mechanical whine because more and more deafening as the plane shook more and more violently until even the waterline on the other side of the windows was vibrating.”
Fast-paced and high-pressure, fans of thrillers, mystery and crime will enjoy T.J. Newman’s Drowning. Readership skews 20+
Thank you to the publishing company for mailing me a review copy in exchange for an honest review.
Simon & Schuster Australia