The Last Flight: A Novel



Look for The Lies I Tell, the next novel from Julie Clark, coming in June 2022!

"The Last Flight is thoroughly absorbing--not only because of its tantalizing plot and deft pacing, but also because of its unexpected poignancy and its satisfying, if bittersweet, resolution. The characters get under your skin."--The New York Times Book Review

Two women. Two flights. One last chance to disappear.

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 bright and he's not above using his staff to track Claire's every move.

What he doesn't know is that Claire has worked for months on a plan to vanish. A plan that takes her to the airport, poised to run from it all. But a chance meeting in the airport bar brings her together with a woman whose circumstances seem equally dire. Together they make a last-minute decision.

The two women switch tickets, with 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 crashes, 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.

Praise for The Last Flight:

"The Last Flight is a wild ride: One part Strangers on a Train, one part Breaking Bad, with more twists than an amusement park roller coaster! Julie Clark is a devilishly inventive storyteller."

--Janelle Brown, New York Times bestselling author of Watch Me Disappear and Pretty Things

"The Last Flight is everything you want in a book: a gripping story of suspense; haunting, vulnerable characters; and a chilling and surprising ending that stays with you long after the last page."

--Aimee Molloy, New York Times bestselling author of The Perfect Mother

"The perfect combination of beautiful prose and high suspense, and an ending that I guarantee will catch you off guard."

--Kimberly Belle, internationally bestselling author of Dear Wife and The Marriage Lie

"The Last Flight sweeps you into a thrilling story of two desperate women who will do anything to escape their lives. Both poignant and addictive, you'll race through the pages to the novel's chilling end. A must read of the summer!"

--Kaira Rouda, internationally bestselling author of Best Day Ever and The Favorite

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288 pages

Average rating: 7.49




Community Reviews

Ali Nurmikko
May 14, 2024
1/10 star
This whole book was just like…don’t careeeeeeee….so much incredible potential for the switch-lives-in-a-crisis plot and it was so unbearably underwhelming. I truly don’t know how it’s rated so high when it was SO BORING. It took forever for something “thrilling” to happen, and even then it was anticlimactic.
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Feb 06, 2024
Amy Farah
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Feb 03, 2024
10/10 stars
The Last Flight is a story about two women, both of whom have been victimized by men under different circumstances and in different settings. But they have ended up in the same place. Each is seeking to run away from her past and start over.

Claire Cooke and Eva James connect in the bar at JFK airport. It is ostensibly a random meeting. Claire has planned and plotted for some time to escape her powerful, abusive husband, Rory. She was supposed to fly to Detroit to make an appearance, but Rory is posed to announce his candidacy for the Senate in one week and, at the last minute, it is decided that he will go to Detroit and Claire is dispatched to Puerto Rice. Because of his money and influence, and past experience, Claire has concluded that disappearing without a trace is truly the only way she can escape Rory's reach. When Eva approaches Claire in the airport bar, Claire is panicked because the plan she has meticulously devised has been foiled and she doesn't know what to do.

Eva was raised in foster homes and a San Francisco orphanage before enrolling at the University of California, Berkeley. She loved the school and her studies, but due to events that transpired while she was a student, she did not graduate. She has continued residing in Berkeley, working as a waitress, but is on the run from persons and events that, like Claire, she knows she cannot escape without disappearing in a manner that ensures she can never be found.

The premise of The Last Flight hinges upon Claire and Eva agreeing to trade boarding passes, clothing, handbags, wallets, and telephones after getting through security. And then boarding each other's flights. Claire follows through, but finds herself in Berkeley without money, new identification, or other resources. She proceeds to Eva's apartment, planning to hunker down there until she figures out her next move. She adopts Eva's identity but is stunned when she sees news reports and learns that the plane she was supposed to board crashed into the sea. Early reports indicate there are no survivors so Rory believes, like everyone else, that she is dead. Claire quickly realizes that, for her, the crash offers "not just a head start," but "a new start" even though Claire is not sure that Eva actually boarded the plane, suspects she may still be alive, and wonders about her whereabouts.

The Last Flight is a thoroughly engrossing story about two women who, at first glance, appear to have nothing at all in common. But author Julie Clark reveals that they are actually very much alike. Each is strong, resilient, and determined to escape a dangerous, desperate predicament in order to start a new life over. Each woman has been oppressed by different forces and events, but the result is the same. Both are driven to risk everything for a second chance. In Claire's case, the #MeToo movement has done nothing to make her circumstances less fraught with danger.

Eva has made very bad choices and done abhorrent things in order to survive. But she wants to put that behind her, and get away from the people who are fully invested in seeing to it that she furthers the enterprise and keeps her mouth shut. If she fails to cooperate, they will silence her. And they begin bearing down on Claire once they realize that she is residing in Eva's home. Claire begins to piece together clues Eva left behind about her life, activities, and associates. She realizes that Eva was involved with people who will use any means to continue their endeavor and by stepping into Eva's life and using her identity, she has placed herself in a new kind of danger. In the chapters devoted to Eva, Clark gradually reveals the forces that derailed her dreams and the things Eva did to survive, as well as why she ultimately concluded that it was time to disappear.

Clark employs alternating narratives. Claire relates her experiences and feelings in a first-person narrative. Eva's tale is told in the third-person. Both techniques are extremely effective. Clark pulls her readers into the women's lives at the outset and their tension-filled adventures unfold at an absorbing and unrelenting pace.

Each woman is flawed, but likable and empathetic. Some readers will find Claire exasperating, lamenting that she has been weak for too long and should have left Rory sooner. However, as Clark injects details about the past, including the way the loss of her mother and sister in a horrific accident effected her, Claire's beliefs and reasoning become apparent and plausible. Likewise, Eva, as noted, has made terrible choices but she felt that she had no other options after she was repeatedly abandoned and sold out. She gradually comes to believe in her own self-worth and develops the strength to extricate herself from her situation, in part because of her friendship with her next-door neighbor, a visiting professor who refuses to judge her, and unconditionally accepts and supports her.

The book's pace accelerates with shocking revelations and plot developments. The resolutions Clark gives her characters' stories are quite different. One is credible and satisfying, the other shocking and controversial. For that reason, along with the thought-provoking themes Clark explores, The Last Flight is an excellent choice for book clubs, providing plenty of topics for discussion.

Despite the surprising ending, The Last Flight is one of 2020's best thrillers. It is both entertaining and touching, featuring characters whose stories resonate long after the contentious ending is revealed.

Thanks to NetGalley for an Advance Reader's Copy of the book.
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Feb 02, 2024
8/10 stars
Loved how the characters come together.
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Dec 28, 2023
8/10 stars
4.25 ⭐️. Really enjoyed this book and was excited to get to the end to see how the two plot lines would intersect!
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