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.
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.
This book kept me a bit off balance until the very end. In the first few chapters, I thought I knew where the story was going but the more I read, the less I was sure of anything. I enjoyed not being completely in the know until the very end.
Before The Fall has many of the ingredients of a great thriller – a steely NTSB officer with a troubled personal life, a reluctant socialite, a crooked billionaire, and the good-hearted artist. The fact that they are all on the small plane that mysteriously crashes off Martha’s Vineyard is kept me turning the pages when I should have been doing other things like sleeping and going to work. The novel reminded me of the Tom Clancy novels that kept me hooked for hours years ago. I think this book would appeal to fans of a good thriller, as well as fans of literary mysteries.
I wasn’t surprised to discover that Noah Hawley comes from the world of television. There is a strong visual aspect to the way After The Fall is told and the scenes cut from one character to another is a way that is more common in television than books. I enjoyed the way Hawley inserted short sections describing Scott’s paintings of disasters between the chapters describing the characters’ disastrous lives.
Thank you to Netgalley and Grand Central for furnishing me with a review copy of the book.