Maybe this is a personal shortcoming, but if I find a main / narrator-type character to be despicable, I don’t like the book. If I can find one quality in that person that is endearing, maybe I’ll like the book a bit. Unfortunately, the flight attendant (Cassie) in Chris Bohjalian’s aptly named book was not endearing. In fact, the book should have been named “The Shit Show.”
Cassie is a long-tenured flight attendant for an American-based airline. She gets to bid on routes that she really wants and sometimes gets them because she’s put her time in. One one of those highly sought after flights, she goes out to dinner with a passenger and then ends up in bed with him. Except he’s dead. Chaos ensues.
There were so many likable elements to this book, but Cassie isn’t one of them. I think I’d have been able to get past that more if the book was more focused. Was it trying to fit into the popular “unreliable female narrator” genre, or the international crime syndicate one? Is the reader supposed to sympathize with Cassie, whose sister won’t let her be alone with her kids and who gets a kick out of stealing stuff from hotels?
I found myself wanting the FBI to nail her for not telling the truth. I was fascinated by the female assassin who is dispatched to, well, dispatch Cassie. But all in all I was just happy when the book was over, if not disappointed that it could have been so much better if it didn’t try to be more than it was.