The Falling Woman: A Novel (Hardcover)
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June 2020 Indie Next List
“Imagine finding out that you have terminal cancer and are faced with the decision of whether or not to seek treatment. The next thing you know, you are the only survivor of a plane crash and no one knows who you are or how you survived. Well-written and plausible, The Falling Woman is a story about a woman who decides to take control of the rest of her life in an unconventional way for the benefit of herself and her family.”
— Lauren Zimmerman, The Writer's Block Bookstore, Winter Park, FL
“This is the kind of novel I like best . . . Great writing, great plotting, and a thoughtful plumbing of what makes us human.” —B. A. Shapiro, bestselling author of The Art Forger and The Collector’s Apprentice
First, it’s just a barely believable rumor: one person may have survived the midair explosion of a passenger jet on a cross-country course from Washington, D.C., to San Francisco. But soon she becomes a national media sensation when “the Falling Woman,” as the press dubs her, is said to have been taken to a Wichita hospital—and then to have disappeared without a trace.
As a dedicated National Transportation Safety Bureau agent joins the search for clues, he becomes drawn into the woman’s moving and personal fight to keep secret the story of her survival, even from her own family, and possibly at risk to his own career.
The Falling Woman is a novel that asks compelling and controversial questions about the value of life and what should be sacrificed in the name of love.
About the Author
Richard Farrell is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and a former pilot who holds an MFA in writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts. His work has appeared in Hunger Mountain, upstreet, New Plains Review, Potomac Review, Descant, and elsewhere. Originally from Worcester, Massachusetts, he teaches creative writing at Grossmont College in San Diego, where he lives with his wife and two children. This is his first novel.
"Former pilot Farrell’s skillfully written story of hope, love, and regret contemplated amid a fast-paced, high-pressure major airline accident investigation will appeal to readers who enjoyed Michael Crichton’s Airframe, Gregg Hurwitz’s The Survivor, and Noah Hawley’s Before the Fall."
“[A] mind-rattling debut mystery . . . Page after page, Farrell builds confusion and frustration into an incendiary debate between belief in the miraculous and the basic laws of physics . . . When he finally discovers the truth, what Charlie does with it will make for an explosive discussion long after the final chapter.”
—Shelf Awareness for Readers
"[A] solid debut . . . Farrell’s thoughtful novel calls to mind the heights of Rafael Yglesias’s Fearless.”
"An intriguing story given weight by its examination of what it means to be faithful."
“The Falling Woman is a thoughtful, intelligent, and meticulously crafted novel about expectations and choices, tragedies and miracles, limitations and freedom. I enjoyed every page; it is a gem.”
—T. Greenwood, author of Keeping Lucy
"A stunning debut, The Falling Woman kept me riveted to the very last page. Without sacrificing an ounce of suspense, Farrell manages to ask the big questions about life and love. This is a novel that is perfect for book clubs."
—Thomas Christopher Greene, author of The Perfect Liar and The Headmaster’s Wife
"The Falling Woman is the kind of novel I like best: a page-turning glimpse into a world I have always been curious about (an investigation of a commercial airline accident) combined with great writing, great plotting and a thoughtful plumbing of what makes us human—with a twist at the end. Highly recommended."
—B.A. Shapiro, author of The Collector's Apprentice
"What would you do if you were confronted with a miracle? That is the essential question posed in The Falling Woman, a surprisingly spiritual novel about a plane crash. Two people entwined in the investigation, both in desperate need of hope—and a true home—grapple with an answer, which may prove as perilous as the catastrophe. Part mystery and part prayer, this page-turner about mortality is iridescent. I loved it.”
—Robin Oliveira, author of Winter Sisters