Drowning by TJ Newman, Book Review: Emotion-fuelled read

Drowning, TJ Newman’s highly anticipated second novel, is an emotion-fuelled read that will have you holding your breath with its characters. Read my full review.

Drowning Book Synopsis

From the world-wide bestselling author of Falling

Six minutes after takeoff, Flight 1421 crashes into the Pacific Ocean. During the evacuation, an engine explodes and the plane is flooded. Those still alive are forced to close the doors—but it’s too late. The plane sinks to the bottom with twelve passengers trapped inside.

More than two hundred feet below the surface, engineer Will Kent and his eleven-year-old daughter Shannon are waist-deep in water and fighting for their lives.

Their only chance at survival is an elite rescue team on the surface led by professional diver Chris Kent – Shannon’s mother and Will’s soon-to-be ex-wife – who must work together with Will to find a way to save their daughter and rescue the passengers from the sealed airplane, which is now teetering on the edge of an undersea cliff.

There’s not much time.

With devastating emotional power and heart-stopping suspense, Drowning is an unforgettable thriller about a family’s desperate fight to save themselves and the people trapped with them – against impossible odds.

(Simon & Schuster, June 2023)

Genre: Action-Adventure, Thriller, Drama

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Book Review

TJ Newman’s debut novel Falling was not just a very well-executed action thriller. It was a fantastic novel, period — earning a spot in my Best Reads of 2021 list. So, it was with some trepidation that I cracked the spine on Drowning. Could she overcome the second novel hoodoo?

Short answer is, she has. Will and Chris Kent, and their daughter Shannon, are a fabulously drawn feisty lead-character set and this novel’s plotting gripping. Only on reflection did I realise how many reflective sequences there were, so seamless was their execution. And somehow Newman maintains consistently strong emotional propulsion between the many intensity peaks and deeply shocking moments.

Compared to the standout narrative of its predecessor though, this novel does have its weaknesses. A couple of secondary characters felt a little thin and for me, some of the one-liners just did not drop quite as well as likely intended.

“Strong women know loving someone is easy. Respecting them is a choice.”

But I think what every reader will agree on, is that tissues are a must for this read.

“The life of a child is about firsts. The life of a parent is about lasts.” 

Drowning is not a story for the faint-hearted — Newman’s depiction of traumatic events unflinching. This novel is one you find yourself holding your breath while reading and its emotional impact lingers long after the final page.

I’ll gladly sign up for whatever TJ Newman pens next.

My Rating: Story 4 / 5 ; The Writing 4 / 5

Get your copy of Drowning from:

Amazon Bookshop US Booktopia

More Drowning reviews

“The readers who took a chance on her debut will find much of what they loved in this follow-up — brisk storytelling, masterful suspense and the chance to vicariously peer into a nightmarish situation from which heroes emerge.” — Washington Post

Drowning is The Poseidon Adventure meets The Martian. It is another can’t-put-down, edge-of-your-seat thriller from T. J. Newman, one of our most exciting new authors” — Adrian McKinty, New York Times bestselling author of The Chain and The Island

“I think I might have stopped breathing while reading the first 40 pages of T.J. Newman’s latest rollercoaster thriller, Drowning. But I loved it nonetheless.” — Sydney Morning Herald

About the Author, T J Newman

T. J. Newman is a former bookseller and flight attendant whose first novel Falling became a publishing sensation and debuted at number two on the New York Times bestseller list. The book was named a best book of the year by USA TODAY and Esquire, among many others, and has been published in over thirty countries. The book will soon be a major motion picture from Universal Pictures. T. J. lives in Phoenix, Arizona. Drowning is her second novel. 

* My receiving a digital copy of this novel from the publisher for review purposes did not impact the expression of my honest opinions.