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The Flight Attendant


The Flight Attendant

Jet setting sounds like such a glamorous job. Flying around for free. The airline puts you up at a hotel, no cost to you. With enough seniority, you can get the more exotic routes, say to London, Rome or Paris. But for one woman, the job is anything but glamorous.

Cassandra Bowden, a long-time flight attendant, is too self-destructive. She knows it, yet still gets blackout drunk and picks up guys in bars --- all over the globe. Cassie loves alcohol, and she loves sex. Most of all, she loves them together. She prefers picking up men on trips, away from home, so there’s less chance of a relationship forming. Anonymous sex works best for Cassie. No strings, no guilt, no exchange of phone numbers. One-night stands are her norm. That way, it’s all just harmless fun.

"Chris Bohjalian is a master of suspense and pacing.... [Cassie] is a sympathetic character who is hard to like, yet you want to root for her.... Brace yourself for a blockbuster ending!"

Predictably, one night it isn’t all harmless fun. Not in the least. In fact, it turns very bad. Not that this is the first one that’s turned bad. But none have ever turned this kind of bad. The morning after, Cassie wakes up next to a dead guy. Someone cut his throat while she slept next to him. There’s blood everywhere. And she's in his hotel room, in Dubai. What now? Well, besides her alcoholic sex binges, Cassie is famous for her dreadful judgment. So, of course, she makes matters far worse. She panics and skips out. All Cassie wants to do is get home, forget the awful scene in the hotel room and hope no one connects the dots. That won’t happen. Because someone out there knows. Someone out there murdered her one-night stand. That is, unless she did it. But she couldn’t have. Could she? The trouble is, she can’t remember.

Well, if this doesn't make her stop drinking, nothing will. Cassie promises herself: No more booze. That’s it; she’s done. She can’t trust herself when she’s drunk. But somehow, that doesn’t seem to matter. Her judgment is so impaired and her life is such a mess that she goes forward still guzzling the drinks and making bad decisions. If waking up next to a dead guy won’t shock her out of her ceaseless self-destruction, is there any hope for Cassandra Bowden? Amazingly, yes. There’s one thing that might get her to stop drinking. And no one saw it coming. So, from there, who knows what can happen for her? Better choices? That’s where hope comes in.

Chris Bohjalian is a master of suspense and pacing. In THE FLIGHT ATTENDANT, his main character is a beautiful woman named Cassandra. In Greek mythology, Cassandra was a beautiful woman cursed with not being believed. That is fitting because Cassandra Bowden lies at least as often as she tells the truth. And the truth here is very frightening. But no one will listen. She is a sympathetic character who is hard to like, yet you want to root for her. She’s her own worst enemy, and you can’t help but feel that she shouldn’t be punished for the kind of horrible judgment she exhibits if she’s guilty of nothing else.

Come on, Cassandra, get a grip on yourself. The rest of your life depends on it. Well, she might surprise you. Brace yourself for a blockbuster ending!

Reviewed by Kate Ayers on March 13, 2018

The Flight Attendant
by Chris Bohjalian