2022 Reviews · contemporary fiction · new release · suspense · thriller

Book Review: Hostage by Clare Mackintosh

Title: Hostage

Author: Clare Mackintosh

Published: June 29th 2021

Publisher: Hachette Australia

Pages: 400

Genres: Fiction, Contemporary, Suspense, Thriller

RRP: $32.99

Rating: 4.5 stars

Bestselling author and international sensation, Clare Mackintosh, brings her showstopping quality to this modern take on the classic locked-room thriller

‘FEELS LIKE A BLOCKBUSTER MOVIE’ LISA JEWELL You can save hundreds of lives.
Or the one that matters most . . .

The atmosphere on board the inaugural non-stop flight from London to Sydney is electric. Numerous celebrities are rumoured to be among the passengers in business class and journalists will be waiting on the ground to greet the plane.

Mina is one of a hand-picked team of flight attendants chosen for the landmark journey. She’s trying to focus on the task in hand, and not worry about her troubled five-year-old daughter back at home with her husband. Or the cataclysmic problems in her marriage.

But the plane has barely taken off when Mina receives a chilling note from an anonymous passenger, someone intent on ensuring the plane never reaches its destination. Someone who needs Mina’s assistance and who knows exactly how to make her comply.

It’s twenty hours to landing.
A lot can happen in twenty hours . . .


The initial idea for Clare Mackintosh’s Hostage started with a notebook with a handful of phrases such as flight attendant, hijack threat, save the child or save the plane? After putting these ideas onto paper, Clare Mackintosh read an article about the first direct flight from London to Sydney. With a long flight in her mind, along with a locked room style murder mystery, Hostage was born. Hostage heralds a successful return to the psychological thriller genre for author Clare Mackintosh. I was completed hooked from start to finish.

The inaugural first voyage of a long-haul direct flight from London to Sydney plays out for the reader in Hostage by British author Clare Mackintosh. With a passenger list encompassing of flight crew, journalists and celebrities on board this notable flight, everyone’s eyes are peeled on this aircraft. One of the crew of the world-famous London to Sydney flight is a cabin crew attendant named Mina. A woman plagued by marital and family problems, Mina is distracted, despite the excitement of being a part of an exclusive airline experience. However, once the aircraft takes off and makes its long journey to Australia, Mina discovers a note that will change her life and it will also place the passengers on her flight in immediate danger. Who wants to take the plane down and why? Will Mina choose to save the life of her family or the passengers on board this debut flight?

I love nothing more than an enclosed space style compression thriller, a modern Agatha Christie title of sorts and that’s what Hostage provided. Clare Mackintosh is a highly experienced and well-known psychological thriller novelist. It was great to see this talented author compose an airline based locked room mystery tale. I was glued to this one for a day and that’s all the time it took to soar through this one!

Clare Mackintosh’s latest release is told primarily from the core perspectives of married couple Adam and Mina. Adam is a police officer and Mina is a flight attendant. They have had fertility issues so after plenty of time and heartache they manage to adopt a little girl. Mackintosh ties in a range of conception, fertility, adoption, mental health and childhood health issues to her narrative which I found quite engaging. However, the real focus of this tale is the inaugural flight that Mina is on board, flying from London to Sydney on a direct route. When a passenger dies in the air and Mind discovers a fateful note with a life shattering threat. Mackintosh sets up a taut and tension filled atmosphere in response to these events. The sense of claustrophobia and entrapment is ever present in Hostage. The pace of this one is pitch perfect and the shared form of narration between the primary protagonists, along with the crew and various passengers helps to extend the sense of fear, uncertainty and hopelessness.

It is clear that the author has embarked upon a great deal of research to inform her narrative, which ensures that the overall storyline is authentic, real and credible. The operations of the crew, the regulations and practices on board this keynote flight felt very believable. It did put me off taking another flight in the future! In terms of the hijackers and bad people of this tale, Mackintosh puts up a clear case for their motivations for taking over this plane. I appreciated the counting down in time to the final destination of this tragic flight, it really compounded the whole situation for me! Mackintosh closes Hostage off in her signature style, whereby she issues her audience with a whopping final twist. This mind-blowing twist occurs in the epilogue, so make sure you pay attention to this killer final move by the cunning Clare Mackintosh!

Hostage by Clare Mackintosh is published by Hachette Australia on June 29th 2021. $32.99.


*Thanks is extended to Hachette Australia for providing a free copy of this book for review purposes.

To learn more about the author of Hostage, Clare Mackintosh, visit here.

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