Author’s note: This article originally appeared on Online Book Club using my pen name as Rinoa469.
The Mystery of Flight 2222 by Thomas Neviaser has a subtitle that says, “What Goes Around Comes Around”. As a reader, this gives me the feeling that this is a mystery-thriller with a twist of karma. And true, the novel starts with a prologue about the law of karma.
The story centers on the main character, Frank Mason. He works as a stock analyst but he always forgets things. He is bound to a business trip in Buenos Aires, Argentina leaving his pregnant wife Kate alone.
Another character, Helen Hampton, is introduced. She’s divorced and works as a florist. Even though divorced, she would like to set up some closure with her ex-husband and his family. So she booked a flight to Buenos Aires to attend her mother-in-law’s funeral.
The two characters met on a plane bound to Buenos Aires on Air USA Flight 2222 and sat beside each other. To beat boredom from a ten-hour flight, the two play a game. They pick seven random people on the plane, guess their names, professions, and anything about their lives.
As with almost all stories involving planes, their plane crashed. Frank and Helen survive along with the seven people they played on. Hmm… this coincidence starts to bother me.
First, both Frank and Helen are not characterized as psychics or even intuitive. So how come they were able to guess the names of the seven strangers and their professions?
Second, Frank admits that he never checked if his guesses were correct on previous flights. But then again, the fact that they all survived a fatal plane crash is a divine intervention in itself.
So they all are aboard a raft with some food supplies and water hoping that someone will save them sooner than later. As soon as the supplies run out, the fight for survival starts. Who will be the first one to hit the wall? Who will die first? Those situations start to unravel as we read through the chapters.
The things the crew did to survive on the sea for fifty-two days are written well. This made the novel a good and easy read. It is entertaining in general. Although the incident of cannibalism almost grossed me out. (Oops, sorry, spoiler alert!)
While reading, I’ve noticed the inconsistent line spacing. Some paragraphs are single-spaced, while almost all paragraphs are double-spaced. On chapter 29, a few paragraphs show large fonts. This may have been overlooked by the layout artist or the editor. But for an OC reader like me, it could be bothering.
At the end, when the survivors are on their return flight home on a first class cabin, Frank should have noticed the déjà vu instantly. Instead, the author repeated a few scenes from chapter 3 to chapter 6. Then the last statements became a realization that they’re all going to undergo a Groundhog Day kind of situation.
If you’re not familiar with the movie Groundhog Day, this 1993 film starring Bill Murray was written and directed by Harold Ramis. It is about a news reporter who wakes up re-living the same daily grind over and over until he learns his lesson.
An epilogue follows explaining the backstory of each character and why they are in that ill-fated flight. These backstories should have been in the prologue or first chapter told in a foreboding tone to make the novel more effective.
There is no need for an afterword from the author explaining the theme and symbolisms he used. It should have been creatively woven into the novel to invoke that message rather than using an end chapter to lecture the readers.
Because of these reasons, I’m giving this novel 3 out of 5 stars. It is still satisfactory as there is a promise in its own premise.