Before the Fall by Noah Hawley

Published: 2016

Genre: thriller

Length: 400 pages

Setting: mostly around NYC, present day

Interest: It’s one of the She Reads network summer reads (check out the link to see other reviews of this book and the two other books chosen for the summer). As part of the She Reads network, I was provided a copy to review, but my opinion is my own.

Summary: A private jet goes down between Martha’s Vineyard and NYC. On it are a network executive, David, and his family, Maggie, Rachel, and JJ, a financial advisor and his wife, and a painter, Scott. The only people to survive are Scott and JJ, a four-year old boy. Scott swam from the crash site with JJ on his back to the New York shore, which made him a hero in many people’s eyes. He didn’t want the attention, though, so he hides away. The top anchorman on David’s network, a news agency that isn’t above making the news, digs up dirt on Scott and eventually drives Scott out of hiding to defend himself. Interspersed with Scott’s story are chapters on all the people on the plane at the time of the crash. You get backstory on everyone’s life – just enough to realize they all had problems, and you really wonder what caused the crash. Was it terrorism? An accident? Something else? It’s not until the end that the FBI recovers the black box and we find out (via flashback) what happened to the plane. (I won’t spoil it – read the book and find out instead!)

Final thoughts: A gripping story, and I loved how the author interwove the current action with flashbacks on people’s lives. The writing style meant I was immediately drawn into the mystery of what actually happened to the plane, but I still got some history of each character. I loved the double reveal in the present and the flashbacks. Knowing that each of those characters die makes their story more poignant.

The book also includes a bit of commentary about the 24-hour news cycle and the need of the new channels to get the next big story. Scott didn’t want to play that game. He barely had an online presence , which led to speculation about what he really was doing on the plane. It didn’t help when it was discovered that he painted disaster scenes. In the end, Scott goes on TV on his own terms, and didn’t fall for the tricks.

Title comes from: Everything in Scott’s life was different before the plane came crashing down into the ocean.

Reading challenges fulfilled: #44 in my Maybe 100 This Year Challenge, a B in my Title Reading the Alphabet Challenge, and #3 in my New Books Reading Challenge

If you’re interested in purchasing the book, you can click on the cover image to follow an Amazon affiliate link to the book and thanks for supporting my blog!



Filed under Book review

3 responses to “Before the Fall by Noah Hawley

  1. Pingback: Summer Reading Suggestions – Thrillers | Fill Your Bookshelf

  2. Rachel Corbett Reece

    Glad you enjoyed it – I’ll post your review on the She Reads FB page this week.

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