Hostage by Clare Mackintosh

Today I am delighted to join the blog tour for Hostage by Clare Mackintosh to celebrate the paperback release of the book. My thanks to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for the invite. Here’s what it’s all about:

Source: Advance Reader Copy
Release Date: 23 June 2022
Publisher: Sphere

About the Book

Save hundreds of lives. Or save your child?

You’re on board the first non-stop flight from London to Sydney. It’s a landmark journey, and the world is watching.

Shortly after take-off, you receive a chilling anonymous note.

There are people on this plane intent on bringing it down – and you’re the key to their plan.

You’d never help them, even if your life depended on it.

But they have your daughter . . . So now you have to choose.


My Thoughts

Hostage is a book I’ve had on my radar for quite some time. No pun intended … I have to be honest, I’m not a fan of flying at the best of times but the idea of a non-stop flight from London to Sydney just leaves me cold. And that’s before you add in the terrorism factor and all of the other deliciously twisted aspects of this novel that Clare Mackintosh used to such perfect effect to keep me completely engrossed in the story from start to finish. Secrets, lies, deception and idealism with extremely deadly consequences, all surrounded by delightfully diverse and unexpected characters made this a book that was right up my street. Or should that be runway?

I don’t think there can be anyone who lived through and witnessed the atrocities of 11th September, 2001 and didn’t take a moment to wonder just what would you do if faced with similar circumstances? When you’re stuck 30,000 ft up in the air with no-one to turn to, it’s an almost impossible decision isn’t it? That is exactly the position flight attendant Mina finds herself in on the inaugural non-stop flight to Australia when an unknown entity makes a direct threat against her daughter Sophia, issuing Mina with an ultimatum. Let one of the passengers into the flight deck, or allow your daughter to die. Stuck mid-flight with no way of contacting your family, and powerless to help them even if you could, what decision should, could , you make? Risk every one of the 300+ passengers on board the flight, or risk losing your daughter. Either way, it’s a lose-lose kind of deal.

I love how Clare Mackintosh set up the premise of this one. She allowed us time to get to know Mina, husband Adam and daughter Sophia before the fateful flight takes off. We get a glimpse into their lives and it is safe to say that the flight is not the only area of conflict in Mina’s life. I’ll admit, I didn’t entirely warm to her as a character, as much as I could sympathise with her plight. At times she felt like a really strong character, but then she would be prone to some wobble that would make her appear a little flaky and which frustrated me. And yet I was compelled by her story. She was fiercely protective of her daughter, a child who has troubles of her own. And as for Mina and Adam, it’s not all peace and love on that front either, and for reasons that might surprise. It certainly adds a layer of jeopardy to the story, fuelling the conflict in more ways than one.

The story is told largely from Mina’s perspective but there are some scenes from Adam’s point of view too. He again is not an entirely sympathetic character, but the more I got to know of him, the more I warmed to him. He is flawed, in a very clear way, but he does love his family, even if he cannot always show it. Sophia was a wonderful character, quite delightful and clearly on the spectrum, but there are sides to her that really did make me smile. She has a strength of spirit that belies her age and she turns out to be quite the revelation. With some scenes told from the passengers point of view, and that of the ‘terrorist’, you really do start to build a clear picture of all the main players in this very tense game and I found myself fascinated by each of them in turn.

This is a high stakes situation, sometimes edging towards the unbelievable, but the very nature of the choices facing Mina felt very authentic. There is a very socio-political aspect to the novel as you might expect. People rarely engage in an act of terrorism on a whim – there is always a cause. And the way in which suspicion is cast upon the obvious ethnic passengers, the fear and anger that flies around the almost suddenly claustrophobic cabin all had an air of authenticity. The author maintains the suspense right to the end, hiding the perpetrator in plain sight – literally in this case. There is a finite list of suspects, as well as a very finite pool of potential victims, some far more sympathetic than others.

The pacing is quite fast, the story switching between the flight and the action back home as Adam and Sophia face an entirely different kind of threat. Despite the fact that nothing much happens on the flight until they are over half way to Australia, you still get that ongoing sense of threat, that undulating tension which prevents any chance of being overcome by a literary jet-lag. It certainly kept me focused on the page. And after that ending, I’m certainly not going to be looking at botany in quite the same way again … Recommended.

About the Author

Clare Mackintosh is the multi-award-winning author of five Sunday Times bestselling novels. Translated into forty languages, her books have sold more than two million copies worldwide, have been New York Times and international bestsellers and have spent a combined total of 64 weeks in the Sunday Times bestseller chart. Clare lives in North Wales with her husband and their three children.

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