This book surprised me and in the best possible way. In addition to being a compelling domestic suspense story, it turned out to be a super gripping heart-in-your-throat race-against-the-clock thriller that hooked me right from the start, leading me to devour it in only two sittings.
The story follows Claire Cook, who, after months of meticulous planning, is plotting an escape from her physically and emotionally abusive husband Rory Cook, who is part of the powerful and ruthless Cook dynasty and who is ready to announce his bid for the Senate.
Clare plans to disappear and create a new identity and a new life for herself. She knows that if she makes one mistake with her plans…one false step, one wrong decision, one neglected detail…. it’s all going to unravel. In a state of last-minute desperation and out of options, Clare has a chance encounter with a woman named Eva, who is also on the run from someone or something.
The two women make a last-minute decision to switch plane tickets, with Clare taking Eva’s flight to Oakland and Eva taking Clare’s flight to Puerto Rico. When Clare lands in California, she learns that Eva’s flight — the one she was supposed to be on — crashed, leaving no survivors.
Now that everyone believes that Clare is dead, she’s free to step into her new life and assume Eva’s identity. But of course, the huge question is: what was Eva running from? Well, we learn that soon enough, and let’s just say it’s not pretty, and it doesn’t take long for Eva’s dark past to smash head-on into Clare’s new life.
This was such a fascinating character study, and I enjoyed getting to know these two strong yet broken women and their motivations. The story is told in alternating perspectives, from Clare’s viewpoint before and after the crash/her escape and from Eva’s perspective leading up to the crash.
Both of their stories are heartbreaking and riveting, as both characters suffer from deep emotional scars, and we see just how dire each of their situations were and what lead them to make the decision to disappear. I felt that the transitions between the past and present were flawless, and the author did a phenomenal job of blending in the timelines.
This sucker-punch of a book was most certainly an experience as we, the reader, witness firsthand how Clare and Eva, two women who couldn’t be more different, each fight for survival. What also amazed me about this story was how fast-paced it was. There was not one dull moment in the story, and it placed me firmly on the edge of my seat, rooting for both of our characters as they both try to escape their tormentors and free themselves — to begin a new life with a fresh start. And as well learn, making a clean break is no easy task.
The author here succeeds in crafting suspenseful, tension-filled scenes, and flood you with his characters’ depth and their flawed, beautiful hearts.
So in this way, the Last Flight was not only thrilling and heart-pounding but also profoundly moving — a powerful, tightly-plotted character-driven story that caused me to feel a strong empathy for these two incredibly courageous women who find themselves in an impossible situation and decide to set themselves free.
Clark explores so many riveting themes in this richly imaginative story: ambition, failure, physical abuse, emotional abuse, privilege, social inequity, cover-ups, politics (and shady politicians), escaping an abusive situation, grief, drug dealing, loneliness, self-reliance, and second chances.
In some ways, the Last Flight is an honest and somewhat raw commentary on humanity. It certainly doesn’t shy away from hard truths and it kind of destroyed me for a couple of days.
The writing is sharp and edgy; the story raw and tragic; and the characters relentless and determined. The numerous ingenious plot twists kept me turning the pages resulting in a thoroughly addictive and hard-hitting story with a final twist that’s a real stunner.
And that epilogue…..truly heartbreaking. 💔 I did not see that coming at all.