Two women. Two Flights. One last chance to disappear.
Claire Cook has a perfect life. Married to the scion of a political dynasty, with a Manhattan townhouse and a staff of ten, her surroundings are elegant, her days flawlessly choreographed, and her future auspicious. But behind closed doors, nothing is quite as it seems. That perfect husband has a temper that burns as bright as his promising political career, and he’s not above using his staff to track Claire’s every move, making sure she’s living up to his impossible standards. But what he doesn’t know is that Claire has worked for months on a plan to vanish.
A chance meeting in an airport bar brings her together with a woman whose circumstances seem equally dire. Together they make a last-minute decision to switch tickets ― Claire taking Eva’s flight to Oakland, and Eva traveling to Puerto Rico as Claire. They believe the swap will give each of them the head start they need to begin again somewhere far away. But when the flight to Puerto Rico goes down, Claire realizes it’s no longer a head start but a new life. Cut off, out of options, with the news of her death about to explode in the media, Claire will assume Eva’s identity, and along with it, the secrets Eva fought so hard to keep hidden.
The Last Flight is the story of two women ― both alone, both scared ― and one agonizing decision that will change the trajectory of both of their lives.
What makes a really good thriller? I have read quite a number of thrillers varying in techniques such as the use of the unreliable narrator, red herrings, alternating timeline technique (The Silent Patient, The Wife and The Widow), to name a few. As readers, the myriad thrillers we’ve devoured have somehow turned us into detectives; solving the mystery and the killer’s identity as the novel progresses. That is the purpose of thriller novels, right? But what makes “The Last Flight” by Julie Clark different from the rest of the suspense books I’ve read is the effect it had on me long after I’ve finished the book.
To be honest, there is really nothing tricky about the plot that surprised me. Nonetheless, the book captured me as I found myself emotionally invested in the characters. Clark has created two strong female characters who have been struggling to free themselves from the choices they’ve made in life. The circumstances found in the novel are real as well as the unambiguous representation of domestic violence and the illegal drug trade underworld.
Told from Claire’s and Eva’s perspectives, the story takes the readers into their personal lives from their chance meeting in an airport, having switched their flight tickets down to their new lives from having swapped their identities. The genuineness of the dialogues and thoughts of both characters made the novel accessible to those who are curious to feel what it’s like to trade your life with a stranger.
I will never tire of expressing a palpable attachment to this book. The plot may seem mediocre compared to other thriller novels but its strength lies in its well-plotted dynamic characters. I wasn’t ready to let Clark’s characters go and for me, that is a sign of how good of a writer Clark is.
The Last Flight is a novel that lures its readers into the world of the characters, offering a glimpse into the lives of women trapped in domestic and social violence. A powerful narrative that derives its strength from complex concepts yet written in ways that will resonate at once to its readers.