Cassandra Bowden is no stranger to hungover mornings. She's a binge drinker, her job with the airline making it easy to find adventure, and the occasional blackouts seem to be inevitable. She lives with them, and the accompanying self-loathing. When she awakes in a Dubai hotel room, she tries to piece the previous night back together, already counting the minutes until she has to catch her crew shuttle to the airport. She quietly slides out of bed, careful not to aggravate her already pounding head, and looks at the man she spent the night with. She sees his dark hair. His utter stillness. And blood, a slick, still wet pool on the crisp white sheets. Afraid to call the police—she's a single woman alone in a hotel room far from home—Cassie begins to lie. She lies as she joins the other flight attendants and pilots in the van. She lies on the way to Paris as she works the first class cabin. She lies to the FBI agents in New York who meet her at the gate. Soon it's too late to come clean—or face the truth about what really happened back in Dubai. Could she have killed him? If not, who did?
Chris Bohjalian is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of 24 books. His work has been translated into 35 languages and become three movies and an Emmy-nominated TV series.
The paperback of his new novel, THE LIONESS, roars May 2, and is already in development for a limited TV series. A luxurious African safari turns deadly for a Hollywood star and her entourage in this riveting historical thriller, about which the New York Times wrote in its spring preview, "Bohjalian steers this runaway Land Rover of a story into some wildly entertaining territory."
Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, and Booklist all gave it starred reviews.
Jodi Picoult said, "THE LIONESS feels like the best possible combination of Hemingway and Agatha Christie -- a gorgeously written story about the landscape and risks of Africa, whose edge-of-your-seat plot makes it impossible to put down. Bohjalian just gets better and better.”
His 2021 novel, HOUR OF THE WITCH, is now on sale as a paperback. It's a tale of historical suspense set in 1662 Boston, a story of the first divorce in North America for domestic violence -- and a subsequent witch trial. Diana Gabaldon in her review in the Washington Post called it "historical fiction at its best." Danielle Trussoni in the New York Times called it "harrowing."
His 2020 novel, “The Red Lotus,” is a twisting story of love and deceit: an American man vanishes on a rural road in Vietnam and his girlfriend, an emergency room doctor trained to ask questions, follows a path that leads her home to the very hospital where they met, and is also in development for a TV series. In the New York Times, Sarah Lyall called it, “Terrific. . .[an] elegant noose of a plot. . .Bohjalian is a pleasure to read. He writes muscular, clear, propulsive sentences. . .As suspenseful as it is, The Red Lotus is also unexpectedly moving — about friendship, about the connections between people and, most of all, about the love of parents for children and of children for parents. Bohjalian is a writer with a big heart and deep compassion for his characters.”
His 2018 novel, “The Flight Attendant,” debuted as a New York Times, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, Publishers Weekly, and National Indiebound Bestseller. It is now HBO Max TV series, starring Kaley Cuoco. Season two landed in April 2022.
He is also a playwright and screenwriter. He has adapted his novel, “Midwives,” for a play, which premiered January 21, 2020 at the George Street Playhouse, and was directed by David Saint. Broadway World said of it, “The fine playwriting by Bohjalian, the directorial talents of the Playhouse’s Artistic Director, David Saint, and the show’s accomplished cast make this play unforgettable.”
His first play, “Grounded,” premiered at the 59 East 59th Theatres in New York City in the summer of 2018 and is now available as an audiobook and eBook, “Wingspan.”
His books have been chosen as Best Books of the Year by the Washington Post, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Hartford Courant, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, Kirkus Reviews, Bookpage, and Salon.
His awards include the Walter Cerf Medal for Outstanding Achievement in the Arts; the ANCA Freedom Award for his work educating Americans about the Armenian Genocide; the ANCA Arts and Letters Award for The Sandcastle Girls, as well as the Saint Mesrob Mashdots Medal; the New England Society Book Award for The Night Strangers; the New England Book Award; Russia’s Soglasie (Concord) Award for The Sandcastle Girls; a Boston Public Library Literary Light; a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award for Trans-Sister Radio; a Best Lifestyle Column for “Idyll Banter” from the Vermont Press Association; and the Anahid Literary Award. His novel, Midwives,was a number one New York Times bestseller, a selection of Oprah’s Book Club, and a New England Booksellers Association Discovery pick. He is a Fellow of the Vermont Academy of Arts and Sciences.
I was really digging this, but the ending brought it down a notch.
Slow burn read about a self destructive flight attendant who awakens to discover her one night stand dead beside her.
Cassie became a flight attendant to run away from her past. She exists on alcohol, drunken exploits, and one night stands. After traveling on a flight to Dubai, she sleeps with passenger, Alex Sokolov. Barely remembering what happened between her and Sokolov due to a night of excessive drinking, Cassie awakens to find him dead. Did she kill him? Or is there something else at play?
After running from the scene of the crime, Cassie makes bad choice after bad choice. Her character is not very likable, but this didn't bother me. In fact, I was fascinated by her behavior. Her addiction to alcohol and men causes her to spiral deeper and deeper out of control. As the story progresses, Cassie’s choices become even riskier; as she is helping along the inevitable implosion of her life.
This is one slow moving read-if you are looking for a fast-paced, action packed thriller this is not the book for you. While it starts off on a really interesting note, nothing happens for quite some time. Tension gradually builds, leading to an explosive ending.
There’s some twists at the end that I didn't see coming. However for such a tightly wound novel, the ending gets a little out of control and a bit convoluted. And the epilogue made me roll my eyes--it just didn’t seem to fit the events of the novel or Cassie’s character. The Flight Attendant started out promising, but the ending turned it into a disappointing read for me.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher and Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.
After enjoying quite a few of Chris Bohjalian’s previous novels, I was quite excited to have the opportunity to read his upcoming novel, “The Flight Attendant”.
Flight Attendant, Cassandra (Cassie) Bowden wakes up in a hotel room in Dubai. The first thing she realizes is that she’s not in her hotel room and the second thing she realizes is that she’s not alone. There is a man sleeping in bed next to her. She carefully tries to get out of the bed without waking him. The self loathing starts to hit almost as hard as the pounding in her head. Binge drinking and partying are a way of life for Cassie.
“She learned quickly that music sounded better, people were nicer, and she was prettier when life’s rough edges had been smoothed over with a little alcohol. Or, better still, with a lot.”
After reflecting on the little she could remember from the previous night, she finally turns to the sleeping man in bed. And although it’s not unheard of for Cassie to wake up next to a man she barely knows, this time is very different….
Because the man in bed next to her? He’s not sleeping…….
When Cassie realizes the man is dead, she’s shocked and terrified. And then she realizes that SHE has blood on her too. She can recall some things from the night before, but there are also huge gaps in her memory. She remembers his name – Alexander (Alex) Sokolov and that he’s an American. He was sat in her section on the flight to Dubai. She realizes that she has two choices. She can call for help or she can go back to her hotel, meet up with the flight crew and fly to her next destination. She wants more than anything to be back in the United States.
What will Cassie do? Did she murder Alex? She’s almost positive she didn’t. She's not a violent person. But if she didn't do it... Who did? And what could this mean for her own safety?
The story is told from two points of view, Cassie’s and another mysterious woman. We learn more about Cassie and some of the poor choices she’s made. There were also intermittent police reports/interviews which I found interesting. It gave me a bit of an idea of what the police were thinking, without giving anything away.
I enjoyed learning what life might be like working as a flight attendant. There were quite a few funny and/or interesting stories about the things that happen on different flights. Of course this is fiction, but I could see these things happening. For example: Someone allowing a child to urinate in an air-sickness bag…even though he has terrible aim! Or panic building all because a certain passenger is in the bathroom a little too long. And what do you do with the body of someone who had passed away on a crowded plane?
I guess you’ll have to read to find out.
Drawn in from the first page, I flew through this novel. I thought it was an exciting story with great characters and an interesting plot. A few things may have seemed a bit implausible, but I was so entertained that I didn’t care. I always find Chris Bohjalian’s novels original and I can always tell that he’s done his homework. Granted some of the stuff may go over my head sometimes, but I always end up learning something while still enjoying the story. Overall, this was an awesome read.
“Remember that person you wanted to be? There’s still time”
I can’t wait to read more from Chris Bohjalian!
I would like to thank Chris Bohjalian and Doubleday publishing for the advanced copy I received in exchange for my honest review.
YES YES YES!! Last page turned. Cue the slow clap. This is a phenomenal character-driven mystery WITH A TWISTY, SATISFYING ENDING I will not soon forget.
I don’t know who said “the devil is in the details” but if that’s true, then Chris Bohjalian is the devil himself. This plot is intricate and complex with well-researched details and data providing clues for the reader in this story of international suspense.
Yes, much of the story is set in cushy locales and sumptuous hotels, but the pull of the novel lies in our high-flying party girl. Our flight attendant, Cassie, is a psychologically damaged woman who single-handedly drinks more in an evening than I do in a year. She means well, loves her friends and family and volunteers at the animal shelter whenever she is at home in NYC. Awww, a detail that deff pulled at my heartstrings. Cassie, with all her flaws, is a human being as real as any fictional character can possibly become. She is endearing, maddening, and most of all, REAL! I loved her.
I don’t want to give away any of the story line, because it goes in places you will not expect. And you will love that. What I can say is... this is the book I wanted The Woman in Cabin 10 to be. It is a very strong and convincing plot with thoroughly fleshed out characters. Ruth Ware is a swell writer, but (forgive me for saying!) she could stand to learn a thing or two from Bohjalian when it comes to structure and plot.
You think you’ve heard all the gossipy stories about the crazy things passengers do on planes? Wait until you read some of the nuggets Cassie has to share about things she has seen in her career! I also loved reading about the flight schedules, the day-to-day life, THE DETAILS of what it's like to be a flight attendant. I found it riveting!!
An old-fashioned suspense thriller that reads as fast as an addictive domestic noir, it is simply terrific. All my respect to the brilliant Mr. Bohjalian! You will not want to miss this one. (Due to be released in US on March 13, 2018). You might want to pre-order your copy now.
Cassie is a flight attendant living the high life. She’s drinking way too much, punctuated by emotionless nights in beds of total strangers during her layovers. She knows full well this behavior needs to stop....only she can’t. During a stop-over in Dubai and a long night of heavy partying, Cassie wakes up with the worst hangover ever. Trying to slip out of bed silently, she notices the man lying next to her. And he’s quite dead. Her memory is spotty at best of the previous night, right before she blacked out. Did someone come in during the night and kill him or worse... did she kill him? And now can’t recall the event? She needs to make up her mind, and fast. Call the police and risk prison in a foreign country, or just fly away and pretend she was never there.
I found Cassie’s character to be shallow and not very likable. Her drinking and behavior are out of control through most of the book. But I must admit, at times I really did feel for her and found myself rooting for her. Even hoping she would find a way out of the mess she’d made for herself. Unfortunately, she kept digging herself in deeper and deeper...
This is not a fast paced thriller. The suspense builds slowly as the storyline is laced out. Only to come to a jaw dropping moment. (Seriously, my jaw physically dropped I was so shocked!). Great Job Chris Bohjalian!! I love when an author can draw me in only to pull the rug out from under me!! This was my first read from this author, but I will now be going back to find some of CB’s previous books.
Thank you to NetGalley, Doubleday Books and Chris Bohjalian for an ARC to review in exchange for an honest review.
Cassie Bowden, a flight attendant/party girl who boasts of her partying ways and many one-night stands.
A hotel room in Dubai. A murder. A memorable night for Cassie OR NOT..... she doesn't really remember much considering she was so drunk that she blacked out!
Told from Cassie and Miranda's POV we get to hear their thought processes as they ponder the details involved in the night of the murder and what went wrong! The author's skill in character building was perfect - creating unique characters with emotional depth. Each personality came alive giving me insight as I tried to predict their next moves. The author did an amazing job researching each aspect of the story making it both believable and authentic. The international setting was also exotic and enjoyable.
This novel is not fast-paced or edge of your seat, but chock full of mystery and intrigue with an intricate plot, boasting some HUGE surprises! Such a talented author , I will be reading more from him very soon! Highly recommend to fans of character driven mysteries with some unpredictable twists!
There are many things to like about this book, just as there are many things I didn't like. I wouldn't let these things stop me from reading it but I did feel that they took away from my overall enjoyment. (You can tell it's still a good book, otherwise these things wouldn't bother me so much.)
1. The first of these is that WE KNOW she has a drinking problem, you don't have to tell us (via EVERY character) all the time. When you start treating your readers like they're dumb, you lose them.
2. I'm so tired of "weird behavior" being written off as "maybe the character is a spy!" I know that international spy novels have their place, but seriously? When it's not believable, it's not enjoyable - and you don't have to actually be a spy to know that.
3. The pacing just wasn't there. I felt like we swapped around a lot between drama and the misery of not knowing whether someone's about to be arrested or not. There's no award for hitting 400 pages in a book - give us the good stuff and don't waste our time.
THAT BEING SAID, this book isn't terrible - in fact, I found it to be a pretty enjoyable read. However...
Should you buy it?: I have to go with no on this one. From what I hear, this isn't the best of this author's works and there are so many fantastic books out there right now that my honest recommendation would be to borrow or wait for a sale.
Update: Wow! Glad I gave the HBO show a chance. They really breathed life and character into this story. Made it much more tantalizing and fun. This is one of those awkward moments where the show IS better than the book!
My original thoughts from 7/25/2018:
Incredible opening chapter! Sadly, all went stagnant after that. Some surprises toward the end, but by then my patience had worn out and I was ready to read something else. Excellent writing, just didn't do it for me plot-wise.
SIDE NOTE: What's up with this literary trend of blackout drunk females?
4 “brace yourself for impact” stars to The Flight Attendant! 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟
Thanks to all my Goodreads friends who recommended this gem! The Flight Attendant grabbed me from the very first page, as I was introduced to Cassie, a flight attendant with a serious alcohol problem who wakes up to the dead body of the man she met the day before on her flight to Dubai.
Cassie doesn’t remember if she killed Alex, or if someone else could have entered the room. Retracing her memories from the night before, she recalls that a mystery woman, Miranda, shared a drink with Cassie and Alex. Was Miranda involved, or was it someone else entirely?
Told in alternating chapters from Cassie and Miranda’s perspectives, The Flight Attendant was a slow building, captivating read, ending with a most shocking surprise that was worth the wait.
I’ve read some other books by Bohjalian that were literary fiction, and this foray into well-researched espionage/mystery/suspense was pure genius.
Thank you to Chris Bohjalian, Doubleday Books, and Edelweiss for the complimentary copy. The Flight Attendant will be published on March 13, 2018.
You think YOU have problems. Imagine waking up next to a dead guy!
That’s what happened to Cassie, a flight attendant with a predisposition to blackouts and one-night stands. One minute she’s in a cute little uniform serving a drink to this hot cologned businessman high in the sky, the next minute she’s naked, sharing booze and body juices with him in a fancy-schmanzy hotel in Dubai. Same old same old to her, until she wakes up with a bloody corpse lying next to her.
Pop! I’m hooked! The race to find out what happened to the guy (a one-night stand named Alex) and what will happen to Cassie—maybe the last person to see him alive—is on.
What a great way to begin a book—guaranteed excitement from page 1. And Bohjalian continues to deliver, bigtime. Besides boozy Cassie, there are gossipy co-workers and Russian spies. There’s a frustrated lawyer, a sweet Italian bartender, the FBI, and one hell of a chase. Expect hangovers, interrogations, lies, and flights to Paris and Rome.
You would think that waking up next to a dead guy would make Cassie switch to Perrier, but oh no, she keeps swilling down the hard stuff. Oh, she frets. And frets. And lies. And lies. Which, yes, does get a little old now and then, especially since she keeps making a lot of really asinine decisions. I wanted to slap her upside the head more than once.
-Suspense out the ying-yang. Did Cassie kill Alex during a blackout? Was he really who he said he was? Is someone gunning for her, too? Is she being followed or is she being paranoid? Will she end up in jail? Oh so many questions I needed answers to! Now!
-Moved along at a steady clip. The story was well-paced; no blah blah stall-outs along the way.
-Good bones. Oh, hell, the whole body was good: Excellent muscle tone and hardly any fat. Well-written by a master storyteller.
-Great character development: I know you, Cassie. Even though you’re a liar, I don’t hate you. But lay off the booze before you get yourself in deeper shit, will you? Cassie is so well-drawn! I felt like I knew this half-lovable hot mess. I didn’t really want to be around her, yet there I was, following her every move and hoping she’d end up okay.
-I loved living inside Cassie’s head. It’s a skilled writer who can let you in on what a character is thinking without slowing down the plot, and Bohjalian does just that. Understanding how characters feel and why they do things is what I live for. Maybe I was a shrink in a past life. Or then again maybe I was a cockroach. What do I know.
-Peeing in a plane: Weird and wonderful life-in-the-sky stories. Oh there are some doozies and I loved every one. Wait until you read the pee story! The next time I’m in the sky, I’ll be looking at everything and everyone differently, that’s for sure.
-Loved getting the inside scoop on flight attendants. Especially since my parents tried to pimp me out to the airlines. They dreamed of me meeting a rich guy in the sky, like Alex. And look at where that may have gotten me! Waking up next to a dead guy in Dubai! Bohjalian did his homework; he could be a job recruiter for an airline if he ever gets sick of writing.
-Liked being up close and personal with a boozer. Addiction fascinates me. Everywhere drunks go, they seem to stir up shit. And yet I can’t stop watching and wondering. Bohjalian does an excellent job describing, in detail, what alcohol does to both the addict and the world around her. Maybe in that past life as a shrink I specialized in addiction. And maybe in a past life Bohjalian worked in a rehab center. Maybe we were work buds.
-I love me a twist. And there’s a good one at the end. Every self-respecting thriller writer needs to hand the reader a big surprise, and Bohjalian doesn’t disappoint.
-I also love me a good Epilogue. Some reviewers say it was outrageous. I thought it was clever and fun. And I really don’t think there was a better way to end the story.
Complaint Board (in small print)
I know it’s totally weird to have a list of complaints for a 4-star book. The following things did bother me enough to want to list them, but they didn’t prevent me from loving the book anyway. Gonna go staccato (lol, if I can!):
-Oh, come on. You can’t be THAT stupid. Some of Cassie’s dumb-ass moves are hard to believe. But then again, drunks are known for their bad decisions.
-Okay, I get it. She can’t stop drinking. You don’t have to beat me over the head with it. Occasionally her behavior—and her subsequent guilt—seemed overdone and repetitive.
-Ears covered. Only tell me made-up stuff! There’s a little info on American politics, and there’s also a taste of Russian history. Spare me the lectures. I never like reality (or history) to barge into my fiction delight. Luckily I was only in the classroom for about 5 minutes, so it wasn’t a big deal. At all. (If I weren’t so anal I could resist the need to mention these stupid complaints!)
-Warning: Grammar Nazi in the room. I hate it when a writer uses TRY AND instead of the correct TRY TO, and it happens all over the place in this book. I know; I’m crazy. Don’t TRY TO tell me I’m not. Maybe it’s just the editor’s mistake, who knows. But it bugs me. Always.
-A sort-of-boring second narrator. Some chapters are told from the point of view of a Russian named Elena. I found myself chomping at the bit to get back to Cassie. I don’t think Elena’s character was developed as well. Not a big deal.
-Language funnies. Occasionally Europeans uttered some sentences in English that had a complex structure. It wasn’t realistic.
One fun fact for me. In Bohjalian’s Acknowledgments at the end of the book, he gives a “very special shout-out to Sarah Hepola.” He loved her “hauntingly beautiful” memoir, Blackout: Remembering the Things I Drank to Forget. I’ve read this and loved it myself; it was a runner-up favorite read of 2016. When I read his comments, something clicked. I realized that as I had been reading about Cassie, she had felt familiar. Now I see that Cassie was a lot like Sarah Hepola. Even a hotel scene was similar. Bohjalian channeled Hepola well! He said he kept a screenshot of page 214 of Blackout on his phone. Damn, I read the Kindle version of Blackout so there are no page numbers. I’m going to have to sneak into a bookstore and find a hardcover copy (or gad, did he mean the paperback version?)—and hide while I take a screenshot myself, since I might look a little suspicious. I have to know what’s on page 214. I have to!
I read that they may make this book into a movie. Please please please be true! Jennifer Lawrence is a shoe-in for Cassie. I’ve seen her get drunk on Stephen Colbert, so I know she has it in her. Question: Would they show the movie on an international flight? Would I watch it? Hell yes.
I loved this thriller, even though it’s not my favorite genre. It’s even weirder that I would like a spy thriller! But I’d call this a spy-thriller-light, since the spy stuff takes a backseat to our getting to know Cassie and figuring out what happened.
I went into this one blind, so I wasn’t signing up for spies anyway. The title had made me curious, especially since my parents had wanted me to work in the sky. And I had read Bohjalian’s Midwives (which I liked), so I assumed I was going to be reading contemporary fiction. Wrong. Bohjalian apparently is multi-genred. Of course I need to read his other books now.
I recommend this book to thriller readers, contemporary fiction lovers, and anyone who wants to see what alcoholism really looks like.
I've never read any of this author's books before which is why I gave The Flight Attendant a chance.
When I finished it, I'm glad I gave it a chance and now I'm over it.
** Lifetime spoilers ahead **
Cassie Bowden is a flight attendant and a high functioning alcoholic.
She drinks and she has one night stands and she drinks some more. Fine. No shame here.
When she wakes up after a booze filled night, she discovers her lover is dead.
And then the story, so far so good it isn't bad with the high potential to be suspenseful and thrilling, devolves quickly into a cheesy soap opera that a real life soap opera actually passed on.
Cassie splits the scene, spending most of her narrative fretting and drinking her way into a stupor and falling into bed with an actor she met at a bar.
She makes poor decisions, not because she's a drunk, but because she's an idiot.
While Cassie is being interviewed by the FBI, we discover that her lover was assassinated by a hit woman with a heart of gold. Yes! They do exist!
When she sneaked into the hotel room, she had a change of heart when she saw Cassie and let her live.
This woman is part of the Russian oligarchy....blah blah blah Russians are bad...she's a double agent...more blah blah blah.
Cassie, being the intellectual she is, can't fathom why her lover was killed in such a methodical way.
When the authorities and her attorney hint that he was involved with shady investors, Cassie can't reconcile that fact because, obviously, since she only spent one night with him, she knows him so well.
And also because he washed her hair so lovingly in the shower, Cassie repeats this detail close to a dozen times, so, of course, he can't be a bad guy.
Yeah, that's how you know a good guy from a bad guy. He washes your hair.
Anyhoo, the assassin has to make amends because her boss and his associates aren't happy and her cover has been blown because, naturally, she's also a double agent.
Jeez, now its starting to sound like a bad episode of Alias because JJ Abrams would never have approved of this storyline.
Obviously, the actor/lover is not who he appears to be.
There's a showdown.
Cassie meets a handsome waiter for more one night stand sex. A gun is procured. Guns go off. The assassin dies. Deals are made.
Cassie stops drinking because...wait for it... she's a mommy.
Cassie's hair washing lover also gifted her with his high functioning, able bodied sperm and now she's got a little girl. HEA.
As the main character with the stereotypical problem of drinking too much and not remembering anything (I'm starting to see this trend more than I like) Cassie is blatantly unreliable.
I can't stay I hated her; I just disliked her because she was so stupid. She wasn't a bad person, she was just dumb.
She's obsessed that the dead man is a good guy because he washed her hair and becomes fixated on his shocking murder.
She goes online to search for details about his life and his obituary, imagines his pending funeral, walks into his office building claiming she had an appointment with him and continually makes one bad decision after another, while sober for the most part.
That's the basic gist of the book.
Nothing happens except Cassie whining and wondering about her dead lover, meeting the FBI for interviews, meeting her family for zoo dates, drinking, then drinking some more, traveling some more, calling her attorney to tell her about the stupid thing she just did.
Cassie is that character who is just lucky enough to not die from stupidity, from STDs, from drunken blackouts, from dangerous decisions, from being in the right place at the wrong time.
This was a well written book with one of the silliest plots I've read this year, and that's saying a lot because I love to read and I read a lot.
Most of the books I've been reading have godawful story lines but this one with Russians and assassins and a double agent really takes the proverbial cake.
How did this relatively slow-paced read manage to make me feel so very anxious almost the entire time? It was the build-up! Smartly written, clever, and gripping. This one kept me reading late into the night. The characters aren't immensely likable, but it works in this one. More complex than it looks from the blurb, it requires full attention.
The morning that will change her life starts out not so different from others. Cassandra wakes with an awful hangover, a sign that she's had one of those nights. Filled with alcohol, reduced inhibitions, and even black-outs. When she turns to peek at the man she knows is next to her, she's stunned. The man she slept with last night is dead. There's blood everywhere. There's blood on her. And she has no idea what happened to him, the American named Alex she met on the plane who has certainly met an untimely end.
Stunned, confused, and terrified, she is due back at her own hotel soon. As a flight attendant, it's important she arrive on time to return to the airport and continue on her way, back to her own country. It's a job she's enjoyed for years, allowing her to travel and meet all sorts of new people (mostly men) to have fun with. Here she makes a decision. Instead of calling the authorities or notifying anyone in the hotel there's a dead man in the lavish room, she takes off.
Even more worrisome than cameras or the watchful eyes of workers, there is the other woman. Sometime in-between their love-making, a woman named Miranda joined them for some drinks. Alex seemed to know of her, but they weren't completely familiar. She didn't stay too long, but she would certainly remember Cassie's face, right? How long could it be before she talks to the police?
Lies, lies, lies. When anyone asks Cassie a question about the last couple of days, it's all she seems to do. How long before it catches up with her? Who killed Alex? If Cassandra doesn't remember what happened... could it have been her?
I wasn't huge on the ending, for reasons I can't get into in a review. It just didn't fit the rest of the book. That kept it from being five stars, but this complex thriller is a strong four from me and highly recommended.
I received a copy of this book from Net Galley and Doubleday Books, thank you! My review is honest and unbiased.
I’m not sure what to make of this book. Cassie has a whole lot of issues. She became a flight attendant to escape her childhood. But like her dad, she’s a drunk. A blackout, sleep with anyone, kind of drunk. And one morning, she wakes up beside the dead body of a man she’d been partying with the night before.
For some reason, I felt very detached while reading this. I didn’t feel any connection with Cassie and found it difficult to even feel sympathy for her. She makes one dumb decision after another. She was so damn dumb I would have shaken her if I’d been in the room with her. The one I felt sorry for was her lawyer. “I’m not sure it’s possible to shame you, Cassie.”
Cassie’s story is juxtaposed with Miranda’s chapters. Miranda was also there that night, drinking with Cassie and the victim.
This Isn't a fast paced story. The tension, such as it is, builds slowly. It kept my interest wondering how Cassie was going to extract herself from this mess, or if indeed, she would.
I can’t say I found the ending believable but it did provide for a nice twist that I didn’t see coming.
Cassandra: Hi, I'm Cassie. Based on my extensive experience I see passed-out drunk and blackout drunk as two completely different categories. And, when will I ever learn that even three or four drinks and high heels are a poor combination? Now about that dead guy, I regained consciousness next to, the more I think about it I'm almost certain that I didn't cut his throat. But, no one is going to believe me.
Chorus: We're Cassie's friends and family. We always expect the worse of Cassie. It's odd the way she abuses herself and is so nice to the homeless kitties.
Kirkus Reviews: The moral overcomes the mystery in this sobering cautionary tale.
I was truly looking forward to this novel as I have read and enjoyed some of Mr Bohjalian's novels. This one however, left me with a distinct sense of disappointment. I didn't like the main protagonist at all and thought she was a hot mess. So sorry to say, that this book for me rates a 3 star value. I always believe that when one goes into a book with much anticipation, that oftentimes we find ourselves disappointed and left kind of with a blah feeling.
This novel starts off starts off at a breathless pace and rarely lets up. It ends with a taut, exciting finale as well.
Cassie Bowden is a flight attendant who doesn’t believe in moderation when it comes to alcohol and sex. When she wakes up in a hotel room in Dubai with a pounding headache and only some memories of the night before, she discovers the man she’d been flirting with on the flight over is dead beside her in bed. Blood is everywhere. She’s pretty sure she didn’t kill him. Why would she slit his throat? He seemed like a nice guy. Because she has gaps in her memory, she decides to catch the flight to Paris rather than find out how they deal with drunken women and possible murderers in Dubai.
The mystery and twists and turns make this a fun, exciting read. Cassie’s behavior makes for an unlikely heroine, yet is understandable. After all, alcoholism is an inherited disease, and she’s only like her father in that she drinks too much. Oh yeah, and doesn’t make great decisions. Some of her choices made me cringe, but people making bad choices is what makes for compelling thrillers. I would definitely read more of this author's work.
Thanks so much to NetGalley and Doubleday books for the opportunity to review this book. For more of my reviews, please visit: http://www.theresaalan.net/blog
On a flight to Dubai, Cassie meets a very attractive man. As per her usual M.O., Cassie ends up having dinner with him, and drinking too much and she ends up in bed with him.
What happens next however is a first for Cassie: when she wakes up with him the next morning - she discovers blood on the pillow near her head and when she looks over at him she discovers that his neck has been slashed. She drank so much that she blacked out the night before and has no recollection as to what happened. Could she have? Did she? Though she is panicked, she knows enough to wipe everything down, removing evidence of her existence in the hotel room and before leaving. What’s her next move, you ask? Well, Cassie does what she does best... she drinks herself into a stupor and she lies. She lies about everything.
Are you intrigued yet? Well, you should be. This is a novel that keeps you guessing. It is captivating and completely engrossing. I liked Cassie a lot, flaws and all. She is who she is, no apologies. I had read a lot of mixed reviews about this novel and really had no idea what to expect - I’m glad I didn’t let them color my thoughts on this one as I loved it and I hope you will too.
Thank you to Edelweiss, Doubleday and Chris Bohjalian for an ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review.
Published on Edelweiss, Goodreads, Twitter and Amazon on 4.29.18.
Just a few notes on this book. Book was a struggle at times to get through, it felt forced for length. It’s main character, Cassie, is someone that I found annoying and not likeable. The storyline started out strong but fizzled. A lot going on at the end and it also had too much happening without enough background.
This is a thriller about a flight attendant that wakes up to find her one-night-stand date dead in bed next to her. This event triggers an investigation for the killer and what follows raises more questions than answers.
The book is narrated from alternating points of view and takes place (mostly) in Dubai and New York. I found the book intriguing, interesting, and character-driven.
The main character engages in self-destructive behavior and frequent alcohol binges. She reminded me a little bit of the main character of The Woman in the Window but with different motivations. If you like slower-paced reads then this book is for you.
Overall I enjoyed it and recommend it to readers of thrillers, mysteries, and contemporary fiction.
Regular readers of Chris Bohjalian have learned by now that you never know what you're going to get when you open one of his novels. Every single one is different. Because some of the enjoyment of Bohjalian comes with the surprise factor, I won't go into heavy detail about The Flight Attendant except to say that this book is more about the female lead character: Cassie than it is the overall plot line. Don't get me wrong, there is an intricate storyline to follow - one that is at once full of confusion and cleverness, but Cassie is at the heart of this novel. You will get to know every single thing about her...every flaw (and the flaws are significant) but I couldn't help but like her so much despite her epic poor judgement and self-sabotage tendencies because she is just so human.
The Flight Attendant is full of mystery, murder, sex, culture, and one hell of an unreliable narrator. It's full of other stuff too but I won't spoil the plot. My one criticism comes around the 72% mark (in the ARC edition) when Bohjalian segues into a political soapbox of sorts. It made me wonder if he wrote this book and focused on the countries he did just so he could include those narratives. It disappointed me a great deal to think there may have been a possible agenda with this book but it's Bohjalian's book and his platform. The opinions were confined to this chapter but I would have preferred them to be left out all together. Each reader will have their own opinion and perspective of current events. Let them take the settings and subject matter and draw their own. Regardless, I very much enjoyed The Flight Attendant overall and am very glad to have read it. It was engaging, very mysterious, and it created a hundred different avenues for how it could have ended. If you are a fan of character-driven mysteries, check it out!
My favorite quote: "Remember that person you wanted to be? There's still time.
Thank you to the following for permitting me access to an advance reader's copy (ARC) of The Flight Attendant. This generosity did not impact my honesty when rating/reviewing. Source: NetGalley Author: Chris Bohjalian Publisher: Doubleday Books Pub Date: 13 Mar 2018
D A M N !!!!!!! SO freaking good!!!! Not at all what I expected. I was expecting a "personal struggle" melodrama about an alcoholic flight attendant and what I got was a crackerjack international espionage thriller whose main character happened to be an alcoholic flight attendant (and she is something else!). I have only read a few Bohjalian books but I didn't think something like this was in his wheelhouse.
Mr. Bohjalian - MORE! MORE! MORE!!!!!!!!
A 4.5 for me. Thoroughly enjoyable. (I feel sorry for my next book......)
I must admit...When I read the book description before it was released, I was a bit put off by the cliched description of our protagonist Cassie,the “flight attendant”, a woman who drinks too much and has a “man in every port”.
But, the author does portray that she is the “exception” not the norm, so thank goodness we have made SOME progress since the 1969 book, “Coffee, Tea or Me”! (As a flight attendant, I know that this portrayal is MUCH more exciting than today’s reality)
The book is a “slow burn”, and the ending is pretty far fetched, okay, REALLY far fetched, but despite all of that, it was a fun read...especially for those who may have loved the short lived TV show, Pan Am, that was on a few seasons ago...
Or for those, NOW watching the NEW series on HBO, adapted from this book. (Review originally published March 21, 2018, updated on Nov. 22, 2021)
Is this really the same author that wrote The Sandcastle Girls? Really truly? I get that books like Sandcastle Girls and this one is very different in tone, content and pacing but if you are a skilled writer then you can manage the differences.
I also understand that books like this requires you to suspend your disbelief in favour of the cheap thrills offered but the Epilogue stretched credulity so far that it snapped. It was just so contrived that I decided to lower my initial 3 star rating.
Cassie is a mess, she drinks way too much (a fact that the author beats us over the head with), she is becoming more and more unreliable at work and she sleeps with a different man in a different country each time her plane touches down.
Elena could have been a very interesting character, but she came across as too cold and distant to allow me to feel like I got to know her.
As with The Guest Room this is a page turner with an unlikable main character. As with Guest Room the main character is put in an unbelievably highly stressful situation that they handle badly. As with Guest Room the main character has no real friends to depend on when everything goes to sh*t.
Will I read another book by this author? I don't know, but if I do I will need a REALLY big bottle of wine next to me.
This novel is a complex international thriller. Suspenseful and intelligent!
"I awoke beside a dead man. I may have gotten away with murder." It is not the first time Cassie has blacked out after a night of untamed drinking. Cassie wakes up in a dense fog. This place is not her hotel. She is in someone's room in another hotel. And she is in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Brace for Impact.
Cassie, a flight attendant, has just discovered that her Russian hedge fund date from row 2C is lying in a pool of his blood. She remembers another person in the room hours prior, Miranda. They all drank together. But now Cassie is not sure what happened. What did she do in her nebulous state? She tries to cover all her footsteps and fingerprints leaving no trace behind. But there is Miranda. But also Meghan, another attendant, who remembers Cassie's flirtation with Alex during the flight.
The Flight Attendant has a suspenseful and intricate plot. Told in alternating points of view, Cassie, and Elena (Miranda) both tell their sides after the scene which makes the narrative intriguing. Cassie's uncanny ability to lie coupled with her paranoia makes us suspect that she may be an unreliable storyteller. I love Cassie's thought process after Dubai, the pondering of each detail with the precision of a mastermind. After all, she can only rely on herself to determine what happened and what is to follow. Elena is a well-respected paid assassin and can cover the truth with a twenty-two. Her father taught her everything he knew from his former KGB days. Each of these characters carries a multi dimensional personality with a unique backstory and family members with quirks and personal behaviors. The author did not skimp out on the details which made the characters believable and relatable. Oddly enough, you sympathize with conflicting characters, which is an engaging twist. As the story unfolds, we learn more about who Alex Sokolov is and why he is dead. What is Miranda's involvement. And why the FBI is questioning Cassie.
The author did his research on several levels. With an international murder setting, the legal details of foreign and domestic law and protocols of the FBI are precise. The setting of Dubai boasts with Arabian pride, with grand hotels and the souk markets with omnipotent smells of spice. The author also had specific details of the role of an airline attendant, flight routes, the in-between arrangement, flight bidding and also of the preferred color of lipstick, red. The intricacies of the plot and narrative felt remarkably complete and created authenticity.
My only complaint about the novel is that the character building and the reminiscence created a time lag between the action of the plot. But it may be a reflection of my need for fast-moving plots.
The story moves at a metronomic pace creating a hunger in the reader. And then there is intermittent turbulence to make you gasp and the undeniable debacle at the conclusion that will leave you reaching for oxygen. The Flight Attendant is a great story that engaged the reader on many levels. I highly recommend The Flight Attendant by Chris Bohjalian.
Thank you, NetGalley, Chris Bohjalain, and Doubleday Books for the ARC in exchange for my honest review.
Readers of his work, by now, should just come to expect a literary surprise each time they open his newest book! The Flight Attendant is no exception.
What begins as a somewhat slow burning, character driven mystery soon escalates into an international espionage thriller. It happened so quickly I nearly wasn't aware of it.
Granted, Cassie, the flight attendant, is a train wreck waiting to happen. To say she is an alcoholic is like saying the Vatican is a small cathedral. She drinks a lot; she blacks out - not passes out - blacks out with no recollection of events. She has a guy in every port or maybe more than one guy. This time she has awakened next to a murdered man and she cannot recall how it happened. This guy has connections to Russians who now are very interested in Cassie. Cassie, being the bright mess that she is creates one debacle after another. Never have I read a book with such an infuriating main character! However, despite this insanity that is her life, Cassie is not unlikeable. No matter how hard I tried to loathe her, I simply could not.
This is very much Cassie's story despite a secondary voice every other chapter or so. What a story it is, too, and one that is told as only Chris Bohjalian can do - amazingly! This novel crosses genres from mystery to suspense, thriller to espionage...there is something for everyone.
Cassandra "Cassie" Bowden is a flight attendant and alcoholic. She binge drinks and is no stranger to black outs and one night stands. On a flight into Dubai she flirts with a man in the first class cabin and ends up spending the night with him. When she wakes up the next morning, she needs to remember where she is and hopes to slip quietly out of bed when she discovers the blood. A lot of blood, and quickly determines that the man she spent the night with is dead. Has she killed him? She doesn't think so. She has done some crazy things when drunk but never anything violent. If she didn't kill him. then who did? Could it be the woman they shared drinks with the previous night?
Freaking out, she cleans up the room and heads back to her Hotel to meet up with the flight crew. Hoping to cover her tracks, she lies to her friend on the crew. She lies to the FBI, she lies to her union but tells her attorney the truth - that she is a heavy drinker who does not know how or why the man died in bed next to her.
This book started out really strong for me. The premise is great : a woman wakes up next to dead man who has clearly been murdered. Why did the killer not kill the flight attendant as well? Initially the story really grabbed me and although it did keep my attention. There is also the part of the story where we learn about the killer, why she did not kill the flight attendant initially and her hunt for her after the fact. Somewhere along the path of this story it lost some of its UMP for me. It became a little flat. Cassie is not the most likable character and I found I really did not care what happened to her. Her attorney at one point even makes a comment about Cassie not having a rock bottom. The writing is good and this book started strong but lost me along the way.
I received a copy of this book from Doubleday Books and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Wow! Just finished this book last night and I could not put it down. The Flight Attendant features two strong female characters that I really felt drawn to. These are not your everyday likable, lovable heroines that everyone wants to read about. Instead, we are introduced to Cassandra Bowen who is a hot mess in every way. An alcoholic who sleeps around and makes unavoidably bad choices, Cassandra is someone most of us have known. How many times have we stepped in to take care of our friend and watch them self destruct when it appears that they have everything we have always wanted? The compulsive behaviors just add to Cassandra' addiction and now, it appears she has slept with the wrong person at the wrong time. Or maybe a right person at the wrong time..it is hard to tell with a dead body laying next to her.
All too soon, Cassandra's life is overwhelming chaos with the FBI, Union representative, other flight attendant's questions, a new lawyer, and someone else who seems to be after her.
Enter, Miranda...aka Elena who also has quite a bit of depth for being the bad guy... or is she? She doesn't kill Cassandra when she should and now she is having to track down the destructive flight attendant who may know too much for her own good. Her orders are to make her disappear...so Elena sets off to finish her mission.
I felt author Chris Bohjalian showed me what it was like to be Cassandra with powerful, evocative writing and a great suspense story that held my attention. I did like the ending very much and it surprised me! The book was more enjoyable with the character development and slow build. Even when I wanted to dislike the characters there was something in their story that made me want to find out more.
Review updated after rereading and binging on the HBO TV Show series The Flight Attendant.
The Flight Attendant was a great book. It had me from the get-go. It was an unexpected, ruthless ride I was glad to take. For one, I don’t live a life that takes me to all these amazing places, and two, it touches on the darker, dirty side that some of the ladies and gentleman in that profession witness or practice….in my wildest dreams of course!
Cassandra Bowden is the quintessential party girl. City to city, bar to bar, bed to bed. AND, she is a flight attendant. One morning, she finds herself waking up next to man she met on a flight to Dubai. To her horror, he is dead. His throat has been slashed and she finds the remnants of a broken bottle next to the bed on her nightstand. The problem: She can’t remember the night! It’s a blackout night for her.
Before she knows it, word gets out. Back on US soil, she tells herself, that this will not catch up with her. Of course in her mind…there are all kinds of explanations. She can spin it one way or another. But when the FBI comes knocking on her door, how long can she keep her cool?
This was amazing people! Simply put, it was fast, character driven, exciting, worldly, exotic, twisty, shamefully and ruthless. However, the ending might surprise you. I highly recommend…and I need more reads like this! Enjoy
You tell a lie, then another. And another. You need to tell the truth now, but it is far too late for that. A propensity for drinking mass quantities of alcohol and picking up strange men during flight layovers in foreign countries is going to work to a flight attendant's detriment. Bad decisions are made, one after another. As her mismanaged life spirals out of control, she finds herself suspected of murder, and is on a short list of targets for elimination.
Other reviewers have mentioned the epilogue not ringing quite true, and I agree. Other than that, I thoroughly enjoyed the ride.
The premise for this book sounded very exciting, a flight attendant waking up in a hotel room in Dubai next to a viciously murdered man. She is a binge drinker and passes out from over drinking often, she can’t remember what happened after she slept with the man. Unfortunately this book took until my Kindle location was at 70% to really get going.
Cassie Bowden is a veteran flight attendant, approaching early middle age, who is unhappy with her life and the way she lives it. All she remembers is that she attended to Alex Sokolov in first class on the flight to Dubai and then ended up in his room and that he was good to her and she liked him. After that she thinks that she had left his room to return to her own, but obviously she didn’t because she woke up next to him, right? She also remembers a woman coming into their room and sharing drinks with them, but there is no sign of anyone entering or leaving their room on the video footage of the hotel room. She is afraid for her life so far from home. She begins to lie, to her flight crew, the FBI which is investigating the case, even to herself.
What I didn’t like about this character is that she seemed to be so out of control of her life and that she has been so for many, many years. Even after this incident, while it is still being actively investigated, she engages with another man whom she has just met. This character did not grow in the least little bit throughout the book. I felt that most of the book was taken up with the investigation but nothing really exciting happened until three quarters of the way through the book.
I wish that Mr. Bohjalian would have made the rest of the book as interesting/exciting as the ending. I’m sure that his fans will probably enjoy this book but I couldn’t recommend it. None of the other characters in the book were well described and there was little said of the cities that she visited and the other people in her life with the exception of her sister. The premise is a good one and perhaps others will find it more fun to read.
I received an ARC of this novel from the publishers and NetGalley.