Before the Fall

Before the Fall

by Noah Hawley

Overview: On a foggy summer night, eleven people--ten privileged, one down-on-his-luck painter--depart Martha's Vineyard on a private jet headed for New York. Sixteen minutes later, the unthinkable happens: the plane plunges into the ocean. The only survivors are Scott Burroughs--the painter--and a four-year-old boy, who is now the last remaining member of an immensely wealthy and powerful media mogul's family.

With chapters weaving between the aftermath of the crash and the backstories of the passengers and crew members--including a Wall Street titan and his wife, a Texan-born party boy just in from London, a young woman questioning her path in life, and a career pilot--the mystery surrounding the tragedy heightens. As the passengers' intrigues unravel, odd coincidences point to a conspiracy. Was it merely by dumb chance that so many influential people perished? Or was something far more sinister at work? Events soon threaten to spiral out of control in an escalating storm of media outrage and accusations. And while Scott struggles to cope with fame that borders on notoriety, the authorities scramble to salvage the truth from the wreckage.

Amid pulse-quickening suspense, the fragile relationship between Scott and the young boy glows at the heart of this stunning novel, raising questions of fate, human nature, and the inextricable ties that bind us together.

Faith Bowers (09/12/16): The book is a fast read and I did enjoy the story. Though there are back stories of all the people who were on board the private jet, the characters in the story that are living are most interesting. Mr. Hawley keeps the book at 3 weeks of time after the fall, but he does set up future continued relations which make for a less problematic ending.
Rating: ***

Gail Reid (08/24/16): "Before the Fall" was a perfect summer read for me. It was intriguing and suspenseful in a psychological way but not a thriller. (No one got slashed!) Why does a private plane with no obvious mechanical issues and no unsettling weather conditions fall from the sky - 18 minutes after takeoff - on a short hop from Martha's Vineyard to New Jersey? And why does one man miraculously survive by swimming 8 hours to shore while injured and carrying the only other survivor, a 4-year-old boy?

The author, Noah Hawley has won an Emmy, a Golden Globe, and several other television awards so you know he can tell a contemporary story and hold a viewer's interest. And, he does that compellingly in this novel. The backstories of the 9 victims make for page-turning insight into whether the accident was more than the usual tragedy.

The writing is often thought-provoking and the dialog is fresh and snappy. Although this book screams bestseller, it does so in a way that is far more literary than you might expect.

Due to subject matter, not recommended for airplane reading!
Rating: *****

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