I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
This post contains affiliate links you can use to purchase the book. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.Before the Fall by Noah Hawley
Published by Grand Central Publishing on May 31, 2016
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense
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BEFORE THE FALL begins on a foggy summer night, where ten people-nine privileged, one a down-on-his-luck painter-board a private jet in Martha's Vineyard. The plane never reaches its destination, and the only survivors are Scott Burroughs-the painter-and a six-year-old boy, the last remaining member of a very wealthy media mogul's family.In chapters that weave between the gripping survival story and its aftermath of Scott and his young companion, with the lives of the passengers and crew members before they board the plane, a picture starts to emerge of the mystery surrounding the crash. As the crimes and intrigues of the passengers begin to unravel, odd coincidences and suggestions of conspiracy arise. Could it be a coincidence that so many influential people died in one plane? Was it mechanical or human error, or could it be that there was something more nefarious at work? And what to make of the fact that Scott had spent years before the crash painting pictures of disasters?
Though quick-paced and suspenseful, at the heart of BEFORE THE FALL are the fundamental questions of fate and human nature. How any historical event, when examined in detail, yields suspicious facts. We are pattern-seeking animals seeing faces in clouds. Amidst all the conspiracists and sycophants alike, the book is ultimately about the relationship of Scott and the young boy. As the possibilities for the crash swirl around them, their fragile relationship glows at the heart of the novel, illuminating not only how we are all inextricably linked, family and stranger alike, but also how we seek to find meaning in even the most incomprehensible of tragedies.
I had no idea what I was getting into when I started reading Before the Fall by Noah Hawley. I was thinking it was a standard disaster tale but that is not at all what I got. I instead read a story that started with a plane crash but soon spiraled into a web of lies and assumptions. The plot took us back into the lives of the plane passengers and possible reasons behind the crash and then into the present where a vicious media firestorm paints the hero as a possible villain. Then throughout the book you understand how he could not be the hero, how one small act can alter many lives and how the obvious answer may not be the whole truth.
The plot of Before the Fall was a twisty turny wonder that took all of my expectations and threw them out the window. A tale of a heartbreaking disaster, the two survivors, the investigation and the media piranhas was itself a dense plot, but then when you add in the mental anguish and the truly unforeseen ending, it was immense. The writing of Noah Hawley was spot on. He was detailed, thoughtful and really kept the plot flowing forward at all times. The pacing had a few minor blips, but nothing that hindered my reading or enjoyment. The world built was not very detailed, but that did not detract as the emotions and characters built the scenes. Speaking of the emotions, this was not an easy read as the events setting off the story were truly tragic. The emotions mirrored this and really struck me as almost a character in themselves. The characters were, for the most part, great. I really liked Scott and his journey. However, there were a few characters that felt more like caricatures. It actually worked well in the scope of the story, but they left me underwhelmed.
Before the Fall is an intense read that will stay with you for days. Noah Hawley created a thriller out of a tragedy that left me guessing the entire time. I read this in the airport waiting to fly home from BEA and I do not recommend that. Every time the plane shook I wondered if we were going down. Hawley is an author I have not picked up before, but I really enjoyed his writing style and cannot wait to dive into another of his worlds.
Favorite lines – There is a moment in every horror movie that hinges on silence. A character leaves a room, and rather than go with him, the camera remains in place, focused on nothing—an innocuous doorway perhaps, or a child’s bed. The viewer sits and watches the empty space, listening to the silence, and the very fact that the room is empty and the fact that it is silent convey a dawning sense of dread. Why are we here, waiting? What’s going to happen? What will we see? And so, with a creeping fear, we begin to search the room for something unusual, to strain against the silence for whatever whispers live beneath the ordinary. It is the room’s very unremarkableness that adds to its potential for horror…
Biggest cliché – No one tells the truth, so we cannot believe you.
Have you read Before the Fall, or added it to your TBR?
Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
- 2016 New Release Challenge
- Mount TBR Reading Challenge
- Netgalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge
- The Goodreads Challenge