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The Last Flight (2020)
Book Reviews

The Last Flight (2020)

A gripping, suspenseful look at two women willing to take the ultimate risk on an uncertain future.

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Some people have a past they want to escape. But what if that past is actually the present they need to leave behind? The extensive planning involved, the money set aside, the timing – everything comes down to strategizing about the minutiae in their lives. And when things go sideways, who can you trust? Because putting your trust in the wrong person could very well lead to your death.

On average, women have to take risks when trying to leave their significant other. For them, it’s similar to closing their eyes and taking a leap, not even knowing if their past will catch up to them. Julie Clark, author of The Ones We Choose, looks at what happens when two women take the ultimate risk on an uncertain future with her newest novel, The Last Flight.

From the outside, Claire Cook embodies the glamorous life. Married to the descendant of a notable political family, she lives a life of parties, handling work for her husband’s foundation, and is bedecked in designer clothing. Everything is perfect. Well, everything except for the physical abuse her husband doles out on a daily basis. Eva James is thrust into the life of a drug dealer due to the unexpected betrayal of her boyfriend which cost her the scholarship to university. Both are looking for a way out of their current lives.

The perfect opportunity for Claire to escape comes with help from her friend, Petra – a package with her new identity awaits her in Detroit while her husband flies to Costa Rica for work. Except plans change the day of her flight – he’s reassigned her to Costa Rica instead. At the airport, Eva bumps into Claire, bemoaning the need to escape her current circumstances. For anyone in a desperate situation, it would be a godsend to have someone switch places with you à la Freaky Friday. They change outfits and tickets, then board their respective flights.

For Claire, all she wants is a way to create a new life, one away from the beating hands of her husband. When she switches seats with Eva, she opens up a new pathway but doesn’t have much money or a clue of what she can do when she arrives in California, Eva’s hometown. Then the perfect cover materializes in front of her; the flight to Costa Rica crashes, killing everyone onboard.

It’s sad to think the only way a woman can usually escape her abusive husband is by disappearing or ending up ‘dead’. The terror, fear, and courage it takes to leave an abusive relationship can be a monumental undertaking – both emotionally and psychologically. All too often, women who try to leave abusive partners can end up hospitalized or dead. Clark seamlessly portrays the struggle for Claire and Eva – toggling back and forth between the two women as she rounds her way to a satisfying climax.

Truth tends to hide behind polished surfaces, presenting idealized reflections instead of what we’d like to see rather than what we need to. In The Last Flight, Julie Clark offers readers a harrowing firsthand account of what it takes for women to escape terrifying situations and the resourcefulness that’s required when things don’t go according to plan. There’s no need to be envious of people with a polished life, or what seems like one. When things seem a little too perfect, there’s usually more to the story than what you’re seeing.

About the Author: Evelyn Wong