Simon & Schuster is to publish Falling by TJ Newman, after a two-book global deal secured for a seven-figure sum.
S&S UK will publish the debut thriller jointly with S&S US division Avid Reader Press. The book was acquired from Shane Salerno.
The novel is set aboard a crowded red-eye flight from Los Angeles to New York, with passengers unaware that the pilot’s family has been kidnapped and the pilot must crash the plane to save them.
Newman is a veteran flight attendant who worked for Virgin America and Alaska Airlines from 2011 to 2021. She wrote much of Falling at 35,000 feet on cross-country red-eye flights. The idea came to her as she blocked the door for the pilot and she realised how vulnerable pilots and their families are to terrorist threats. She asked a pilot she worked with the question "What would you do if you had to choose between your family and your passengers?" and realised from the horror in his eyes that this was the worst question he could grapple with. After she was furloughed owing to Covid-19 travel restrictions, Newman completed her manuscript, and it was plucked from her agent's slush pile and then acquired by the first and only editor to whom it was submitted.
The synopsis states: "You just boarded a flight to New York. There are 143 other passengers onboard. What you don’t know is that 30 minutes before the flight your pilot’s family was kidnapped. For his family to live, everyone on your plane must die. The only way the family will survive is if the pilot follows his orders and crashes the plane. Enjoy the flight."
The publisher has said: "With her extensive professional training for hijackings, mid-air disasters, and every imaginable emergency on board, she brings an authority to the story that no other writer could."
S&S will be publishing in hardback, e-book and audio globally on 6th July.