The Seed for a Thriller
by Rick Mofina, author of Free Fall
“Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”
So Leo Tolstoy, the great Russian novelist and philosopher, opens his classic novel Anna Karenina. Most people know that line but few know the one that followed it: “Everything was in confusion in the Oblonskys’ house.”
What a beautiful and compelling way to open a story.
After pondering Tolstoy’s observation, I thought, “But no matter if they’re happy or unhappy, every family has secrets.”
This is how I came upon the seed that evolved into Free Fall, my newest thriller featuring Kate Page, a reporter with a worldwide news service. It was Tolstoy’s two sentences that inspired my contemporary tragic opera of one California family.
In this story we meet Robert Cole, an aeronautical engineer, his wife, Elizabeth Cole, a doctor, and their daughter, Veyda, a brilliant student attending MIT. During a break, Veyda comes home from school to see her parents, but in a heartbeat, their idyllic lives are irrevocably shattered.
Elizabeth is killed in a tragedy that was Robert’s fault.
Veyda and her father grapple with the destruction of their happiness, reeling as their worlds spin out of control horribly, gradually evolving into secret and monstrous forces.
Through her dogged investigation of two seemingly unrelated and frightening airline incidents, Kate Page finds a common thread behind the mystery surrounding them. Little by little Kate’s journalistic work leads her to Robert and Veyda.
About Free Fall:
Pilots with no control…
High above the Adirondack Mountains, a commuter flight to New York City turns into a rolling, twisting nightmare, plunging from the sky before the crew regains control. Then, in London, a jetliner crashes into the runway, killing fifteen people.
Investigators with no answers…
Reporter Kate Page believes something beyond mechanical—or human—error is behind the incidents that have air investigators baffled. But the mystery deepens as teams scramble to pinpoint a link between the tragedies, and Kate receives an untraceable message from someone boasting responsibility and threatening another event.
A looming disaster…
As Kate, the FBI and the NTSB race to find answers, the shadow figures behind the operation launch their most devastating plan yet, and time ticks down on one of the greatest tragedies the world has ever known.