Before the Fall

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 Scott Burroughs-the painter-and a four-year-old boy, who is now the last remaining member of an immensely wealthy and powerful media mogul’s family.

With chapters weaving between the aftermath of the crash 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 tragedy heightens. As the passengers’ intrigues unravel, odd coincidences point to a conspiracy. Was it merely by 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. And while Scott struggles to cope with fame that borders on notoriety, the authorities scramble to salvage the truth from the wreckage.

How great is it to get back to FICTION!? As much as I love memoirs, especially those about mental health, I was so ready for a change. Hooray for planned ARC schedules!

When you start reading Before the Fall, you expect the plane crash and survival story to be the whole thing. That’s how it usually goes, right? It’s all about the drama in the air leading up to the crash, or how the people save themselves or are rescued.

So imagine my surprise when all that happens in the first few chapters! Wait…but the drama! The flash! The explosions! How do you make an exciting plane crash thriller if you don’t spread those things out?

Noah Hawley managed to do it. In this instance, the crash is the backstory–the foundation that the whole book is built upon. It sets the stage for what is to come–how every single character is changed by this tragedy–even those who see such a thing every day. How do they move on after?

Before the Fall is my favorite kind of thriller.This isn’t horror with a monster, or cop procedural, posing as thriller. This is true suspense. The kind that twists and turns and keeps you guessing until you don’t know what end is up. Hawley just keeps adding layers until all the pieces finally fit together at the end. You won’t put this one down.


NetGalley provided this ARC for an unbiased review. Releases May 31.


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