T.J. Newman returns with a novel that’s on par with summer movie blockbusters

May 30, 2023  -Time is a precious commodity and some readers need to be hooked from page one. T.J. Newman ’s 2021 debut novel “Falling” (Avid Reader/Simon & Schuster) begins with a sentence that blasts out of a cannon: “When the shoe dropped in her lap the foot was still in it.”

The novel — about a pilot whose family will be killed if he doesn’t crash the plane he’s flying — had an equally fast trajectory to the bestseller list. With Newman’s second book, “Drowning: The Rescue of Flight 1421,” out Tuesday, she again starts with a bang: “Will Kent opened his eyes just to see the engine explode.”

In “Drowning,” a plane crashes into the ocean shortly after takeoff and its survivors, including a father and his young daughter, race against the clock to be rescued before the plane sinks. The events unfold from various points of view because, as Newman says, “every person is the lead character in their story, you put them in an enclosed environment on a plane, add a central conflict, and you’ve got a rich, fully fleshed-out (narrative).”

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