Review: The Last Flight by Julie Clark

by Heather Caliendo
book review the last flight - book club chat

The Last Flight by Julie Clark is an engaging thriller/mystery combination that lives up to the hype and more. 

I kept seeing so much praise for The Last Flight that I downloaded it to my Kindle on a Tuesday night. Thrillers are very popular but so many are a let down. I can’t tell you how many I’ve read that follow the same formula: unreliable alcoholic women narrator. At this point, it’s almost a joke if you open up the book and that’s where the story goes. I’m so over those stories. And I know many of you are as well. 

But I will say, a good thriller/mystery deserves to receive all the praise! So I’m happy to report that The Last Flight is well worth your time! It’s such an interesting and unique story that will keep you guessing until the end. An ideal summer read

The synopsis 

Claire Cook has a perfect life. Married to the scion of a political dynasty, with a Manhattan townhouse and a staff of ten, her surroundings are elegant, her days flawlessly choreographed, and her future auspicious. But behind closed doors, nothing is quite as it seems. That perfect husband has a temper that burns as bright as his promising political career, and he’s not above using his staff to track Claire’s every move, making sure she’s living up to his impossible standards. But what he doesn’t know is that Claire has worked for months on a plan to vanish.

A chance meeting in an airport bar brings her together with a woman whose circumstances seem equally dire. Together they make a last-minute decision to switch tickets—Claire taking Eva’s flight to Oakland, and Eva traveling to Puerto Rico as Claire. They believe the swap will give each of them the head start they need to begin again somewhere far away.

But when the flight to Puerto Rico goes down, Claire realizes it’s no longer a head start but a new life. Cut off, out of options, with the news of her death about to explode in the media, Claire will assume Eva’s identity, and along with it, the secrets Eva fought so hard to keep hidden.

For fans of Lisa Jewell and Liv Constantine, The Last Flight is the story of two women—both alone, both scared—and one agonizing decision that will change the trajectory of both of their lives.

The characters 

How crazy is that synopsis, right?? Both women trying to get away from their current situation. I’ll tell you as soon as Claire gets to the airport and encounters Eva, this story really takes off. Claire and Eva are written very well and seem like real people— they’re flawed and make plenty of mistakes. They’re both in impossible situations and are desperate to escape. They’re quite different but feel a bit of a kinship with wanting freedom. I will say at first I was a bit unsure of where the author was going with the Eva character but I do really like the story choices that were made. 

It would have been easy to make these characters stereotypical, which is one of my biggest criticisms of thrillers lately. But they’re not. Yes, Claire is privileged but her life is hell and Eva is full of secrets but there’s more going on there. Both hope to change their scenarios and get away from the people taking advantage of them. 

A little women’s fiction

This isn’t your typical cat-and-mouse thriller and at times, it felt like reading a women’s fiction story. Especially when it comes to Claire and Eva’s backstories and how they came to this critical decision to change places. The supporting cast is pretty solid as well. 

This one shows that thrillers don’t have to fall in the same categories each time and it’s okay to allow for a bit more character development as opposed to trying to convey a lightening fast plot. I tend to fly through thrillers in one sitting but I actually spaced this one out and really spent time with this story. 

This is a great distraction reading during this crazy era! Although, between reading The Last Flight and Dear Edward, I might be good for a while regarding reading books about plane crashes. I’m not flying anywhere anytime soon but plane crash stories always freak me out a bit.

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