Before The Fall by Noah Hawley

26245850On a foggy summer night, eleven people–ten privileged, one down-on-his-luck painter–depart Martha’s Vineyard headed for New York. Sixteen minutes later, the unthinkable happens: the passengers disappear 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 a wealthy and powerful media mogul’s family.

With chapters weaving between the aftermath of the tragedy 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 crash heightens. As the passengers’ intrigues unravel, odd coincidences point to a conspiracy: Was it merely 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–all while the reader draws closer and closer to uncovering the truth.

A chance meeting in a farmers market leads to Scott Burroughs being invited to fly to New York on the private jet of a woman he barely knows. Along with her family, and two of their friends, they take off on a foggy night…only for Scott to come to in the ocean 15 minutes later. Initially, he thinks he’s the lone survivor. Then he hears the cries of four year old JJ. The two are alone. It is cold, it is dark. Scott is injured. But he starts to swim.

The next morning, they are found – alive – on the beach, Scott having swum 15 miles. He is hailed a hero. At first. Then the questions start. The media aren’t convinced. Neither are the FBI. His story seems to good to be true. After being hailed, Scott starts to be hounded, hunted down as he tries to lay low and come to terms with what happens.

It’s uncomfortable reading, but very believable. I find it amazing that in this day and age, we find it so hard to believe people don’t have an ulterior motive or something to hide. But I think that that’s true. We are always waiting for the other shoe to drop…and the media, the 24 hour, instant access nature of it, plays a large part in this…as it does here.

In the meantime, Scott is trying to pick up the pieces. Suddenly things he thought were important aren’t and he isn’t sure of anything, including what happened. The accident is a blank for him. As investigators try to figure it out, searching for remains and the black box, you – as the reader – get to hear the stories of everyone else on the plane.

Chapters, which alternate with what is happening in the present to Scott and JJ, present snapshots of their lives, who they were (the good, bad, and ugly) and how they ended up on their plane. You see their hopes and dreams. And you slowly start to paint a picture of what happened.

It’s an interesting way to tell a story, and it meant this wasn’t a fast paced read. It was enthralling though and kept me engaged all the way through. I started to create scenarios in my head (none of which came to pass) and found myself really coming to like Scott and feel for JJ. The writing here is excellent, and the reflection of modern life and our obsession with social media and 24-hour news rang true. I really enjoyed this, from start to finish, and would definitely recommend it to any and everyone.

Enjoy!

Emma

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Source: Publisher
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Publication Date: 6th April, 2017 (paperback – first published 31st May, 2016)
Pages: 391
Format: paperback
Genre: suspense, mystery
Find on: Amazon UK / Amazon US

Note: I received a copy of this book in return for a fair and honest review.  All thoughts, feelings and opinions are my own

12 comments
  1. I have been eyeing this book for a while, and after reading your review, I have added it to my list. It sounds like a lot more than the “disaster story” I had imagined, and I love the idea of all the layers. Thanks for sharing.

    1. It is much more…the disaster is a catalyst. No Poseidon Adventure here!

  2. I am glad you liked it. I have heard good things and it’s on my shelf to get to some time. 🙂

    1. Me too. I hope you enjoy it when you get to it.

  3. I’ve got this one sitting on my bedside table to get to at some point!

    1. I hope you enjoy when you get to it.

  4. I’m glad you enjoyed this one! I really did too though it’s definitely not my usual type of read. JJ’s story broke my heart – especially for the first half because I didn’t trust his uncle at all. After reading this I started wondering if being so informed is really good for us. So much of what we’re constantly bombarded with as shown in this book is just hype and theory. Great review!

    1. I was a bit concerned it wasn’t my type of read at first but I am so glad I read it. I do think there is too much media noise out there…opinion masquerading as fact…scary!

  5. […] Wednesday, I reviewed Before The Fall by Noah Hawley which looks at the aftermath of a plane crash and the impact on the survivors.  A really clever […]

  6. […] Before The Fall by Noah Hawley which looks at the aftermath of a plane crash on the survivors and the all pervasive (can you say evil) nature of the press. […]

  7. I have just finished reading this book as well. I did enjoy it, though I went in with different expectations. Nevertheless a good read.
    You have written a great book review! Really enjoyed reading it. I have a review up on my blog as well if you fancy a read.

    1. No it wasn’t what I was expecting either but in a good way. Thanks for the lovely comments – I’ll head over and check your review out.

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