Book Review: Before the Fall by Noah Hawley

before-the-fallWhat’s it about?

The rich are different. But fate is blind.

Down-on-his-luck artist Scott Burroughs would usually take the ferry back to New York from Martha’s Vineyard, but he is unexpectedly offered a spare seat on the Bateman family’s private jet. Then just minutes after take-off, the plane crashes into the ocean and of the eight passengers and three crew, only Scott and the Batemans’ small son, JJ, are left alive.

The extraordinary nature of their survival, combined with the fact that David Bateman was CEO of a populist TV news channel, means that Scott will not be returning to anonymity. Along with the orphaned boy, he is engulfed by a maelstrom of speculation, which soon overtakes the official investigation into the tragedy.

Who else was on the plane? Was there a bomb, a missile? Who is Scott Burroughs?

As the chapters drive towards their heart-stopping conclusion, weaving with ever-increasing suspense between the shocking aftermath of the crash and the intimate backstory of each of the passengers and crew members, Noah Hawley creates a searching, thrilling novel of love, fame, wealth, art, entertainment and power.

My thoughts

This is a really solid human interest drama that’s a noteworthy read which will come as no surprise that it’s written by the same chap who wrote the TV series Fargo (which I loved).

The book is far more than just a plane crash, as this event happens quite early on, there’s obviously got to be more to it than that.  The prologue introduces us to the passengers, when they arrive, where they’re sitting, even down to describing what they’re wearing and carrying, so from very early on you already care about them – some more than others!

The scenes that are on the plane, the crash and the initial aftermath are obviously the most fast-paced and page-turning however what follows when we’re given detailed chapters on the passengers; their background in an attempt to guide us to who, why and how are just as intriguing but on a different level.  By giving us this in-depth info it’s like the author wants the reader to justify the deaths or their survival “oh yeah, he/she deserved to die/survive”.

But we also learn how Scott deals with the aftermath of the crash, being a victim, being a suspect but ultimately coming to terms with what’s actually happened and it’s in this thread we see how the media portrays victims/suspects and will hunt them down to get the story at any cost whether it happens to be true or not – shame this is so realistic!

Ahhh the ending; it was good and answers everything you’ve read up until that point but I didn’t love it as it seemed somewhat of a cop out.  If you read it you may remember a significant similar real event which happened in 2015 over The Alps.  Definitely a book I’d recommend , a solid 4.5* read!

Book Links: Goodreads | Amazon

Author Links: Website | Twitter

Small print for info
Source:  Purchased (2nd hand)
No of pages: 384
Publisher: Hodder

Talk of the Town

6 thoughts on “Book Review: Before the Fall by Noah Hawley

  1. luvtoread says:

    I just read this book for my book club, and I didn’t really care for it. I agree with you that the ending was a cop out – that was such a disappointing reason for the crash! But I loved the last three pages of the book – those last three pages made me rate it 3 stars instead of the 2 it was headed towards… 🙂 The majority of my book club loved the book!

    Liked by 1 person

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