For nerve-shredding drama, go to Miriam Moss’s Girl on a Plane (Anderson, £7.99).
Based on the author’s experience of travelling on a flight hijacked by Palestinian guerrillas in 1970 when she was aged 15, this fine novel stretches over four days spent in blisteringly hot conditions with minimum food and water. Sitting next to Tim, a sprightly nine-year old, and David, a more lordly 17, Anna – Moss’s fictional alter-ego – still manages to find humour and understanding between feelings of rising panic. Her worst moment occurs when, after returning to the aircraft from a rare visit outside, she squeezes past a heavily armed guard and her buckle catches on his belt “crammed with bullets and hung with grenades”.
This incident actually happened: some of the rest has been re-imagined but the whole package hangs together seamlessly. Check where the tissues are before getting to the final reunion between loving mother and daughter after all the tension that has gone before.