High Flying

Kaylin McFarren
Creative Edge Publishing (2019)
ISBN 9781091374799
Reviewed by Paige Lovitt for Reader Views (05/19)

“High Flying” is the latest riveting psychological thriller by Kaylin McFarren.

Skylar Haines has led a difficult life. In addition to the pain of having lost both parents, she has also suffered the loss of close friends. Her father died before she was born, and she lost her mother after sharing a difficult relationship. Raised by a cold-hearted grandfather, Skylar learns to cut herself for emotional release. As an adult, she finally begins living her life according to her own terms. Trading cutting for an endorphin-releasing career as a stunt pilot, Skylar is finally living her dream. She is also attracted to another stunt pilot named Jake, who encourages her to push beyond what she perceives to be her limits.

This all changes one day during a stunt show, when Skylar experiences a strange storm while flying during a particularly dangerous stunt. Coming out of it, she discovers that she has been thrown back in time to eight months before her birth. Though desperate to try to change history, she quickly gains a greater understanding of why things ended up as they did. Readers follow along as Skylar works against time to change the future.

“High Flying,” is a fast-paced, suspenseful, psychological thriller. Readers will find themselves with their hearts pounding while they read this! In addition to addressing some sensitive topics such as self-mutilation, and suicide, the author also touches upon a serious subject that is near and dear to my heart. This involves the drug cartel and drug trafficking.

Living in the Imperial Valley, which was briefly mentioned in this book, I frequently see the results of the trauma caused by this issue. It is also interesting to note that the members of the drug cartel have homes on this side of the border so that they can keep their children safer. They take care of themselves while destroying the lives of others. This is well demonstrated in “High Flying.”

It was also fascinating to watch the protagonist’s character evolve as she gains insight into why her family was the way that they were. The knowledge made her stronger as she fought to try to create a new future for them. I appreciate that in spite of the new knowledge, the characters were still flawed. This made everything more believable. The time travel aspect added a greater dimension to this story. It was handled well in a way that made it seem plausible. The author also did a great job of smoothly going between the past and the present, so that readers will not be confused by where they are at in the story.

It was a pleasure to read another great novel by Kaylin McFarren. Her current fans and readers who enjoy suspenseful thrillers will enjoy “High Flying.” 

Also reviewed by Carol Hoyer for Reader Views - April 2019

“High Flying” by Kaylin McFarren is an action-packed, psychological/paranormal thriller that captures readers attention from the first page.

Skylar Haines life is less than desirable due to the loss of her mother and father. Given that she is unable to cope with past trauma and has low self-esteem she finds that participating in self-harm, specifically cutting, helps to relieve the emotional stress.

McFarren does an excellent job of stating at the beginning of the story that “People cause harm to themselves for various reasons. For the most part, it's to attempt to re-connect with their emotions. They want to feel something other than utter emptiness.” And for this reason, I would caution readers about the descriptive cutting behavior.

Skylar lives with her grandfather, Jessop Haines who is controlling, arrogant and often abusive. At the same time, it is her grandfather who took her in after her mother died, so she didn’t end up in foster care. Regardless of the verbal, emotional and sometimes physical abuse, she remains in his house.

At her wit's end, Skylar runs away and ends up in Nevada as a pilot doing stunt shows with her partner, Jake Brennen. During a high-risk maneuver, Skylar’s plane goes spiraling toward earth during a sudden storm. When she lands, it’s as if she entered a time warp finding herself in 1998 helped by Dylan Haines, her 25-year-old father. It is at this point in the story my thoughts are how great would it be to go back in time to meet your father before he knew you were his daughter? The author does a superb job of introducing each character at the right time and showing how each fit into the plot. Numerous individuals from Skylar’s past play an important role in her personal growth some of which readers will either love or hate.

While Skylar is figuring out how she traveled back in time and what it means, the author presents several characters, some of them very shady and full of revenge and they keep you on the edge of your seat.  It is hard to figure out how this story is going to end until the actual end. Clues are given, but the plot keeps twisting and turning so the reader will have to wait until the last chapter to know for sure who the bad guy actually is.

“High Flying” is one of the most unique suspense thrillers I have read in a while. I highly recommended reading Kaylin McFarren's story for intrigue, deception, kidnapping, and an excellent perspective of self-harm. The author provides readers with two stories in one while at the same time providing excellent research and information on self-harm.

Read the interview with Kaylin McFarren!