Always one to enjoy a psychological thriller, I am thrilled with the work of Sebastian Fitzek. With stories that confuse the mind and keep the heart pumping, Fitzek has the reader guessing by layering ideas and dramatic twists into a strong narrative. When a man boards a plane, he plans to see his daughter give birth and support her. However, someone has another plan, as he is coerced to ensure the plane goes down, or his daughter dies. Which to choose…? Fitzek at his best and keeps the reader wondering throughout.
Mats Krüger may be a well-known psychologist, but even he has his secrets. Having fled his native Germany after the death of his wife, Krüger has agreed to return to witness the birth of his first grandchild. Living in Argentina now, Krüger will have to fly around the world to arrive on time. This would not be an issue if he weren’t terrified of flying. Krüger’s willing to make the sacrifice, with a few failsafes in place.
After crunching the numbers, Krüger learns the safest seat on the plane and chooses to purchase that one. His desire to protect others has him also obtain seat 7A, statistically the most dangerous one on the flight, thereby ensuring no one else can have it. Everything seems destined to work and he makes his way on board.
While the flight is in the air, Krüger’s daughter, Nele, is kidnapped in Berlin and held by a deranged man with a twisted sense of retribution. Krüger’s made aware of this in-flight and given an ultimatum; crash the plane or Nele dies. As Krüger comes to terms with this, he learns of the complexity of the plan and how there are others on board he knows from his past, including one whose stability could teeter with one wrong move. Krüger will have to decide who matters more, Nele, or a plane full of innocent passengers!
Fitzek pulled me in from the outset and I never looked back, enjoying the fast narrative and plot development. There’s something to be said for his books, which are never quite as they appear. Pushing the protagonist (and the reader) to the brink works well for Fitzek, as he is always able to bring out stunning twists to keep the story alive.
Mats Krüger did well as the protagonist here, working through many of his own issues to help the larger public. There is substantial backstory presented throughout, as well as some harrowing development on board this massive jetliner bound for Germany. Krüger must show this true colours, as well as use his psychological skills to assess the situation, all while trying to save his daughter and unborn grandchild. There are some oddities that arise in the latter portion of the book, but we’ll call that Fitzek being himself and keeping the reader guessing.
Each Fitzek novel I have read has been both similar (psychological to the core) and vastly different. Each handles a significant struggle, but uses different techniques and approaches to tackle solving it, which keeps the reader wondering. All stand-alones, the novels allow the reader to extrapolate about situations and characters effectively. The narrative clips along, adding twists where needed and utilising short chapters to constantly gain momentum. The different characters flavour the story effectively and keep the reader entertained. While there are some odd moments in the latter chapters, I suppose this can all be tired up into the larger drama, for the reader who is willing to keep an open mind. While this novel has not scared me away from flying, I will surely keep an open mind about what might be going on around me during a flight.
Kudos, Mr. Fitzek, for another great piece that kept me guessing.
Be sure to check for my review, first posted on Mystery and Suspense, as well as a number of other insightful comments by other reviewers.
A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: