Posted in Book Review, Books I have read, Five Star Reads

Falling – Emma Kavanagh

Psychological Thriller 5*'s
Psychological Thriller

I really enjoyed Hidden by this author and pondered over both the plot and its execution so I was really keen to read her debut novel Falling which was published last year.

This book opens with us meeting Cecilia Williams a flight attendant based in Wales, a place she never intended returning to. That very morning she had packed her bags leaving her husband and young son. Without a backward glance, convinced she has made the right choice she prepares to board the flight, directing the passengers to their seats before take-off. And then both passengers, crew are in the terrifying scenario of a plane falling from the sky. As the plane comes to settle on a snowy hillside torn in two with only a handful of survivors, everything has changed, or has it?

Parallel to this story is that of retired Police officer Jim who on visiting his daughter’s home finds her missing. Jim visits the police station hoping to find his old friends and is instead confronted by a board duty officer more interested in his phone that taking down the details or being remotely interested in the disappearance of Libby, a Community Support Officer. Once the crime is finally reported the man who leads the investigation into her disappearance is Cecilia’s husband Tom.

We also hear from Freya, the daughter of the deceased pilot where she reflects on her life with a rather distant father yet at the same time supporting her younger brother and her distraught mother. There are secrets in this family too, some better hidden than others.

This book is populated by a wide selection of characters, some more likeable than others. I found it difficult to sympathise with Cecilia in particular but as the storyline progressed I came to understand, if not like her. But these characters don’t act in isolation they all have relationships with others and sometimes crossover between the individual stories that I found myself immersed in. Like the characters the relationships cover the range, from close and caring to distant and remote with a scattering in-between. The relationship between Tom and Jim was both authentic and touching, a lovely touch that is often overlooked in this genre of books. The richness of both characters and plots didn’t fail to engage me and I was desperate to piece together all the various elements.

And then there is a setting which in the depth of winter, those cold days that are currently thankfully behind us, gives an added chill to the various mysteries that populate the pages of this intriguing and fresh feeling novel.

This book is multi-layered, complex and deals with difficult issues but it does it so very well. The different viewpoints give a depth to the stories being told and lifts what could be one very confusing sets of episodes into a tautly and engaging read. It is billed as a psychological thriller and the psychological element is definitely present, I’m not quite so sure it fits into the thriller genre being one of those books to ponder over rather than one that gets your heart racing.

I’d like to thank the publishers Landmark who are publishing this book in the US under the title After We Fall on 2 June 2015, for allowing me to read this book in return for an honest review.


A book lover who clearly has issues as obsessed with crime despite leading a respectable life

29 thoughts on “Falling – Emma Kavanagh

  1. I’ve noticed with a lot of books recently that they are labelled ‘psychological thrillers’, when they are, in fact, with psychological elements of course but not a thriller. And that’s fine by me, no need to label everything as a thriller… but perhaps publishers believe it will sell better if they do?


  2. I rarely get to hear of authors from my home area (Wales) so of course your review got my attention. Regarding the psychological aspect I see that the author is a Doctor of Psychology and worked as a police and military psychologist. So the character insights you identified come from a good basis of knowledge


  3. I do like the sound of the Welsh setting in this one, Cleo. And it is interesting that so many books are billed as ‘thrillers,’ even if they don’t really have a lot of the elements of the thriller in them. Perhaps Marina Sofia is right, and it’s because publishers think they will sell better that way. Either way, a fine review, for which thanks.


    1. Thank you Margot – I do understand why the publishers market the books in this way but in my opinion it means that readers looking for endless action maybe put off reading a book without endless twists and turns but is nevertheless an extremely powerful read.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. So looking forward to reading this book and your description and the different ways the characters are inter-related was intriguing. As to thrillers, in my mind thriller used to conjure up spy novels and conspiracies and Jason Bourne type scenarios – very fast paced. Now, thriller seems to mean books that contain some sort of crime and crazy person/sociopath/serial killer, but are not necessarily police procedurals. Regular people who are involved in the story and the main focus is not on the policing aspect. Who knows what the ‘thriller’ genre will contain next? LOL


  5. I was worried when I saw another 5-star, but happily I don’t think this one’s for me. Glad you enjoyed it though, and thanks for another great review! 🙂


  6. Sounds topical given recent news events. That’s a sad comment isn’t it? Have you read FEARLESS? There was a film made based on the book. It’s the story of a plane crash and the aftermath for the survivors.


    1. I’ve not read Fearless and one of the reasons I didn’t read this one when it was published last year as I wasn’t sure I wanted to read about a plane crash – living on an island I have to travel by air more often than average… It was an unhappy coincidence that it reflects recent ‘real-life’ events and had an extra-sobering effect because of that!


  7. Hi Cleo,

    Like yourself, I have read ‘Hidden’ one of Emma’s previous books and I also have a copy of ‘Falling’ on my shelf, for when I have the chance to get to it!

    I enjoy Emma’s writing style and like the way her characters evolve and manage to make the story their own and work for them.

    I am finding that there are so many new genres and sub-genres being introduced into the reading chain just lately, that it is becoming difficult to keep up with them all, especially as they overlap so closely. I find myself tending to read whatever sounds good at the time, based on the premise rather than the genre.

    Nicely balanced review as always 🙂



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