Before the Fall by Noah Hawley

Before the Fall by Noah Hawley

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.

When a book sets out its stall before the turning of a page, your expectations are high, and in this case fully justified. A plane has crashed minutes after taking off at Martha’s Vineyard with only two survivors, but that’s the only thing we know before we begin reading. What follows is a masterclass in plot weaving, tension building and a narrative that begs you to read until you drop. Before the Fall is arguably one of the best books of 2016 and we’re only half way through the year.

Slowly but surely we are introduced to the passengers on the plane, each one given the opportunity to tell their own story in their own unique voice. We discover why they are on the small plane and their connections to each other, what makes them tick and the skeletons they carry.

As you’d expect the main protagonist is Scott Burroughs a failed artist and a recovering alcoholic but the great thing is that he is so damned likeable! We discover what sent his life spiralling out of control and what it took for him to attempt to rebuild his life but you are left with no doubt at all, Scott Burroughs isn’t there quite yet. He’s damaged but it’s this fallibility, his weaknesses that make him so endearing, you want him to succeed at all costs. When you have a vested interest in a character like Scott then the author has clearly done what he set out to do, engage with the reader.

The other voices are introduced one by one and with each new addition we get to know a little more about what went on in those 16 minutes. The pacing is on point and incredibly well paced, I loved this approach. Along with the protagonist and passengers are investigating officers and journalists and it was one of these journalists that almost got the better of me! A close friend of David Bateman the news anchor is determined to attack Scott Burroughs in any way possible. A shock jockey he uncovers secrets and blends the truth with a rather sizable portion of fiction, make believe, and the viewer’s love it! Noah Hawley has created a character that you’ll find it rather easy to despise and that remained for the entire book. Job done!

Can’t fault this book, absolutely loved it, my only wish was that it didn’t end so suddenly, I wanted to keep reading and find out what happens in the future – you can’t have everything! A terrific read, superb plotting and a tension filled narrative, Before the Fall is a must read for 2016. Highly recommended.

  • Hardcover:400 pages
  • Publisher:Hodder & Stoughton (9 Jun. 2016)
  • Language:English
  • ISBN-10:1444779753
  • ISBN-13:978-1444779752
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