When Flight 189 plunges into the Severn Estuary, Coroner Jenny Cooper finds herself handling the case of a lone sailor whose boat appears to have been sunk by the stricken plane, and drawn into the mysterious fate of a ten year-old girl, Amy Patterson, a passenger on 189, whose largely unmarked body is washed up alongside his. While a massive and highly secretive operation is launched to recover clues from the wreckage, Jenny begins to ask questions the official investigation doesn’t want answered. How could such a high tech plane – virtually impregnable against human error – fail? What linked the high powered passengers who found themselves on this ill-fated flight? And how did Amy Patterson survive the crash, only to perish hours later? Under pressure from Amy’s grieving mother, and opposed by those at the very highest levels of government, Jenny must race against time to seek the truth behind this terrible disaster, before it can happen again . . .

The Flight by MR Hall

The Flight by MR Hall

If you’ve ever sat through an episode of Aircraft Investigation or Seconds from Disaster on the Discovery Channel you’ll know how utterly addictive and compelling both shows are. I have to admit I can’t get enough of the documentaries – no it’s not morbid curiosity I promise – and whenever the opportunity arises I’ll sit down and watch the investigators work their way through each accident and solve the underlying problem. It doesn’t matter how big or small the cause, they somehow manage to detect the anomaly which in turn makes the aviation world a better place to travel, safety is paramount. The Flight is the literary fictional equivalent and I couldn’t wait to read it! Oh and one thing while I remember – if you were worried about flying before reading The Flight, I promise you’ll be doubly vexed after reading Matthew’s book!

The narrative is speedier than a fully functional Airbus 380, it flies along at a rate of knots – enough already! – but frankly I struggled to put it down. Taking only two days to read I couldn’t get enough of the immersive storyline. In the rare occasions when I found myself putting the book down, the cover art had me mesmerised and lured me back in for another session. I’m sure it wasn’t intentional, and I’m probably on my own here, but whenever I looked at the artwork I thought of Amelia Earhart. I couldn’t get the aviation pioneer out of my head, ironic as the doomed 189 flight was due to travel the Atlantic Ocean when it crashed into the Severn Estuary! Maybe that’s why!

The storyline is well delivered and solidly structured in a veritable multi layered format. Coroner Jenny Cooper – back for her fourth adventure – plays a pivotal role throughout and although no stranger to controversy she doggedly pursues each clue until she’s satisfied she has it all figured out. Along the way we learn a little more about her painful childhood and her troubled relationship with her father and I guess what makes her tick. One of the great things I loved about this book was her fallibility and the fact that she allows her personal life and feelings to intrude in her professional life. She’s not perfect and she doesn’t try to be. You never know what to expect and her fractious relationship with her assistant Alison serves to hinder her daily routine. On more than one occasion I found myself wondering why Alison was still working at the coroner’s office and perhaps more importantly why Jenny put up with her. I think I would have shot her after one day!

Williams smiled. ‘I don’t know why but there’s something about driving a vehicle that says “Gwent Police” through the middle of London that makes me feel like Owain Glyndower on his way to thrash Henry IV.’

Although I have no idea how much time Hall put into researching this project I can only guess it would have taken countless hours of sweat and toil but the payoff is certainly evident. When Jenny Cooper straps herself into a flight simulator having walked up the metallic steps to experience what the passengers of flight 189 experienced, I imagined the author sitting in the captain’s seat and experiencing the flight himself as he comments on the M4 coming into view to his left and the cars travelling along the motorway. He firmly places you in the middle of everything with such an intense degree of realism I had to remind myself that this was a work of fiction – someone’s vivid imagination at play – and not a real account of a disaster. Highly technical in parts, the author has a knack of making numbers and technical data fun – or does that mean I’m a nerd? – I never once tired of the enormous amount of technical detail I encountered throughout the book, Hall is an amazing storyteller.

If I was to be incredibly critical about this book it would be the fact that we didn’t spend enough time on board the plane in the early stages. I would have liked to have discovered more about some of the passengers and a deeper back story to those on flight 189. Like I said that really is nit-picking of the highest order, I enjoyed the book so much that this would have made it perfect! I simply lost myself for two days, you can’t ask for more than that.

With a realism I hadn’t expected and a plot that is hard to beat, Hall has created a terrific story in The Flight. Fast and furious this is one novel not to be missed. Does anyone know the number for cancellations, I think I’ll opt for a walking holiday next!

Published by Mantle, The Flight is available in Paperback & Kindle formats.

  • ISBN-10: 0230754910
  • ISBN-13: 978-0230754911
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2 Responses to “The Flight by MR Hall – Book Review”

  1. Wendy says:

    Looking forward to reading this one. I’ve read most of her other books and this one sounds like it will be good.

  2. Nikki-ann says:

    This sounds like an excellent read!

    I’m afraid of flying (I grip the seat with white knuckles and won’t look through the window during take-off!), but I am fascinated by the Air Crash Investigation programmes (which gives absolutely no help to my fear of flying!).

    Another one to add to my list, thanks :)

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