Recently, I picked up "The Flight Attendant" by Chris Bohjalian at the UCF library. I had added the book to my Goodreads "To Read" list about a month ago. The story follows Cassandra, a flight attendant who woke up one morning next to her one-night stand in Dubai. This was usual for her - sleeping with men in foreign cities and waking up in hotel rooms other than her own. On this particular morning, though, the man lying beside her was surrounded by a pool of blood and obviously dead. Cassandra had no clue if she had killed him because she had absolutely no recollection of the night before. She figured she didn't really have a reason to kill him, but she couldn't be sure. And even if her lover would have tried something she wasn't comfortable with, she admits she probably would have let him have his way and wouldn't have struggled.
Alcohol and blackouts are Cassandra's way of life. She loves the woman she becomes when she's had too much hard liquor. She would drink alcohol to the point of a blackout on a daily basis, so not remembering the previous night was a usual occurrence for her. That part wasn't new. But not remembering if you killed the guy you slept with? That's when you know you have a problem. Cassandra is in a foreign country where an investigation could take ages. Should she stay at the scene and call the police? That would mean she would miss her flight back home with the airline and be stranded in Dubai. Plus, she wasn't even sure if she was innocent! Cassandra felt innocent, but not undeniably, wholeheartedly innocent. She couldn't even trust her own judgment. All of the events of the previous night with this man were a huge blur, so what would she even tell the Dubai police if she were questioned? She decides to leave the hotel room, leaving the dead guy behind, and she gets on her flight back home to New York.
The book had me reeling after every chapter and I didn't want to put it down. Cassandra's waterfall of lies and self-destructive behavior had me hooked. Every time she made up another lie, I face-palmed. I mean, who lies to the FBI? This damn flight attendant was digging her own grave, but I couldn't stop reading. It was too good!
Throughout the novel, Cassandra endures investigations from the FBI and a lot of public shame (she was caught on hotel cameras leaving the dead guy's room). As the investigations and suspicions continue, Cassandra tries to piece together what might have happened that night at her lover's hotel. I don't want to spoil the ending for anyone who might read the book. But if you're someone who loves a good thriller/mystery/self-destructive-main-character type of novel, this book is definitely one to read.
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