Judith D Collins
Before the Fall
By: Noah Hawley
Publisher: Grand Central
Publication Date: 5/31/2016
My Rating: 4 Stars
From the Emmy, PEN, Peabody, and Golden Globe Award-winning creator of the TV show Fargo comes the thriller to read in 2016. On 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. 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.
A special thank you to Grand Central Publishing and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. From the award-winning and talented Noah Hawley, creator of Fargo, comes the next blockbuster, BEFORE THE FALL - Spellbinding! Hooking you from page one, and every heart-pounding riveting moment, to the final conclusion. A mysterious plane crash--the wreckage-the before and after the fall---with only two survivors. How do people end up in the same place at the same time? A small private plane, leaving a balmy Martha’s Vineyard, at a scheduled time of 10pm for New York. A nine-seat Ospry. A pilot, a first officer, a flight attendant. Everyone has their path and made their choices. None of them has any idea, sixteen minutes later, the passengers will crash into the brutal sea. Disappear into the ocean. There was a heavy coastal fog three hours prior to take off, creeping in. Eleven people are on board However, the only survivors are Scott Burroughs, the painter, and a four-year- old boy. He thinks there has to be other survivors. How can a plane crash and one person survive? What about the women and the children? Did it break up on impact or crack open—the water, what about sharks. He is a swimmer, (past story here) and no stranger to the sea. Martha’s Vineyard is seven miles from Cape Cod, but their plane was headed to JFK—how far are they from shore? He panics, and hears a child crying, clinging to a seat cushion thirty feet away. A boy, four years old. A toddler. Cleverly crafted, with vivid details, and alternating chapters (broken out by person, birth, date, and backstory) and events leading up to the crash, the aftermath, of passengers and crew - passions, and secrets. What caused the plane to crash and why this particular group of elite people? Criminal, or accidental? On board: David Bateman, President of ALC News and his family. Ben Kipling and his wife, Sarah. Kipling was a senior partner at Watt, Hathoway, the financial giant. SEC investigation? David chartered the flight and he and his family—wife Maggie and two children, Rachel (9 yrs old) and JJ (4 yrs. old) were on board. Security, Pilot, CoPilot, Flight Attendant: Gil Baruch, James Melody, Emma Lightner, Charlie Busch. The odd man out, Scott the painter. The media wants to know why Scott was on board? He had met them on the island a few weeks prior. He had to go to New York and Maggie befriended him---invited him to fly with them. He was a painter and lived on the Vineyard and was going to meet with his rep and discuss some gallery shows. (The flawed, Scott makes the story).
Was it luck? Was there anything lucky about surviving a tragedy? Is he a hero? He is now the story. However, all that matters, is the boy. A bond develops. The boy is an instant millionaire hundreds of times over who will never want for anything. Scott saved him. Is Scott a victim, hero, survivor, or all three? An accident. Sabotage? A terrorist attack? Each person had a life, a story. The crew members or the passengers. Motive? Scott, a simple man, penniless with a three-legged dog, a nobody painter who has not shown a painting in five years ends up on a luxury plane with two of the richest men in New York? A media frenzy. The prior week he was an ordinary man, anonymous. Now he is a character in a detective story. The Last Man to See the Victims Alive, or Savior of the Child. Each day he answers questions by the FBI, and NTSB, going over the details, and the headlines. A broken man with modest ambitions, a former blackout drunk who lives moment to moment, hand to mouth. He survived a plane crash and saved a kid, and people want to make out like he was a hero. No privacy. His life is front and center.
Scott and little JJ –the center focus of this extraordinary suspense (my favorite part). People have died-families and children, and possible murder. An FBI who wonders how many more years he can do this job, and how many more tragedies he can stomach. He is an engineer who is beginning to believe that the world is fundamentally broken. “Life is a series of decisions and reactions. It is the things you do and the things that are done to you. And then it's over." From the crew to each passenger, the investigators, and the media dissect Scott’s entire life even his paintings, searching for answers. Character-driven, an intriguing multi-layered look at truth, greed, secrets, and relationships. There are many takes on BEFORE THE FALL –an exploration of complex human dynamics, from fate, luck, betrayal, mortality, family, heroes, obsessed media—a compelling mystery tragedy suspense of humanity. The title is fitting with multiple meanings. Emmy, Golden Globe, and Peabody Award–winning television producer and screenwriter Hawley’s fifth novel is one to move to the top of your reading list!
About the Author
Noah Hawley is an American film and television producer, screenwriter, composer, and author. He wrote and produced the television series Bones (2005-present) and also created The Unusuals (2009) and My Generation (2010). Hawley also wrote the screenplay for the film Lies and Alibis (2006) starring Steve Coogan and Rebecca Romijn.
Noah is the author of three novels including A Conspiracy of Tall Men, Other
People’s Weddings and The Punch. He has a fourth novel, The Good Father, coming out spring 2012.
Noah began writing as a release from his job at the Legal Aid Society back in New York where he worked with abused and neglected juveniles. He then moved to San Francisco and met critically acclaimed author Po Bronson who invited him to join “The San Francisco Writers’ Grotto” an organization where writers, filmmakers and storytellers practice their craft. Read More Twitter