On a foggy summer night, eleven people--ten privileged, one down-on-his-luck painter--depart Martha's Vineyard on a private jet headed for New York. Sixteen minutes later, the unthinkable happens: the plane plunges into the ocean. The only survivors are the painter Scott Burroughs and a four-year-old boy, who is now the last remaining member of an immensely wealthy and powerful media mogul's family.
Was it by chance that so many influential people perished? Or was something more sinister at work? A storm of media attention brings Scott fame that quickly morphs into notoriety and accusations, and he scrambles to salvage truth from the wreckage. Amid trauma and chaos, the fragile relationship between Scott and the young boy grows and glows at the heart of this stunning novel, raising questions of fate, morality, and the inextricable ties that bind us together.
Kristin Hannah raves, "Noah Hawley really knows how to keep a reader turning the pages... a complex, compulsively readable thrill ride of a novel."
Winner of the 2017 Edgar Award for Best Novel and the 2017 International Thriller Writers Award For Best Novel
From the Award-Winning Creator of Fargo Comes "One of the Year's Best Suspense Novels" (New York Times).
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Noah Hawley—the writer and producer behind the hit TV show Fargo—really understands how to set a scene and ratchet up tension. His spectacularly suspenseful thriller begins with a private plane crashing off the Long Island coastline, then weaves craftily between past and present to paint a picture of the passengers onboard. Only two people survive the wreckage: the four-year-old son of a media mogul and the stoic painter who ferries him to safety, only to be sucked into a whirlpool of suspicion. With its intriguing characters and jarring twists, Before the Fall is an A+ read.
Emmy-, Golden Globe , and Peabody Award winning television producer and screenwriter Hawley's fifth novel is a masterly blend of mystery, suspense, tragedy, and shameful media hype. When a corporate jet carrying 11 crashes into the ocean just 16 minutes into a nighttime flight from Martha's Vineyard to New York in August 2015, only two people survive Scott Burroughs, a middle-aged former drunk and minor artist, and a four-year-old boy. Scott saves the boy, swimming to shore and into a frenzy of media-shaped hero worship, federal investigations of terrorism and criminal activity, and sudden media-driven accusations of financial exploitation. Hawley cleverly uses flashback chapters for each of the passengers to reveal that one victim was a wealthy mogul, head of a 24-hour cable news network that didn't just report the news, but proudly manufactured it; one victim was a Wall Street financier about to be indicted for money laundering; and the other victims, including an armed bodyguard, also had curious pasts. Scott's life is an escalating nightmare of media hounding and federal suspicion. His only salvation is a thoughtful, deliberate NTSB investigator who focuses on facts, not speculation. This is a gritty tale of a man overwhelmed by unwelcome notoriety, with a stunning, thoroughly satisfying conclusion.
Generally good, but begged for a seasoned copy editor.
Many annoying and distracting errors that should have been caught in the editing process. i.e. A funeral takes place in a Jewish cemetery (Mount Zion), complete with a rabbi presiding, as the reader is instructed to notice the many statues of the Madonna, as well as a large Friar wielding a cross, all occupying the same space. Just a lot of small errors of characters contradicting themselves or behaving in ways that seemed arbitrary. I found myself paging back too many times to see if I might have misread, only to find otherwise.
Other times I felt, as many others have noted, that the author fell in love with the sound of own voice (metaphorically speaking), writing ponderous descriptions of relatively minor subjects or scenes.
This is a very good book. It could have easily have been a great one.
It was a compelling story but the writer is at times hard to follow. His characters all spoke in fragmented thoughts and sentences. ALL the time. It became a distraction for me.
Made it all the way to the end and thought “what”?? Why did I waste my time? I really hated this book. Unrealistic characters and the main character is not likeable. Story lines that didn’t make sense. A jummble of unrealistic plots that end with a thud. Don’t waste your time.