Before the Fall - book cover
Thrillers & Suspense
  • Publisher : Grand Central Publishing
  • Published : 07 Dec 2021
  • Pages : 432
  • ISBN-10 : 1538709406
  • ISBN-13 : 9781538709405
  • Language : English

Before the Fall

One-time-only printing at a special discount price: the acclaimed, bestselling thriller about the only two survivors of a devastating plane crash from Noah Hawley, author of the forthcoming Anthem (GCP, 01/18/22).

On a foggy summer night, eleven people-ten privileged residents, 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.

Editorial Reviews

"A mesmerizing, surprise-jammed mystery that works purely on its own, character-driven terms....Mr. Hawley has made it very, very easy to race through his book in a state of breathless suspense."―New York Times

"Noah Hawley really knows how to keep a reader turning the pages, but there's more to the novel than suspense. On one hand, BEFORE THE FALL is a complex, compulsively readable thrill ride of a novel. On the other hand, it is an exploration of the human condition, a meditation on the vagaries of human nature, the dark side of celebrity, the nature of art, the power of hope and the danger of an unchecked media. The combination is a potent, gritty thriller that exposes the high cost of news as entertainment and the randomness of fate."―New York Times Book Review

"[A] terrific irresistible mystery.. a tale that's both an intriguing puzzle and a painful story of human loss."―Washington Post

"Imagine that Agatha Christie had set a closed-room mystery on an airplane and included Wall Street and entertainment executive types in her lineup of suspects. Now imagine that airplane crashing into the Atlantic before the story even gets going....Mr. Hawley, the expert TV showrunner, obviously had the skills to pull this off."―New York Times

"I started and finished BEFORE THE FALL in one day. That begins to tell you what kind of smart, compellingly dramatic read it is.

So read it."―James Patterson, #1 New York Times bestselling author

"A masterly blend of mystery, suspense, tragedy, and shameful media hype...a gritty tale of a man overwhelmed by unwelcome notoriety, with a stunning, thoroughly satisfying conclusion."―Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Savvy and absorbing... cathartic...BEFORE THE FALLis about the gulf that separates perception and truth, and the people who fall into it."―Wall Street Journal

"A pulse-pounding story, grounded in humanity."―Booklist (starred review)

"Like the successful screenwriter that he is, Hawley piles on enough intrigues and plot complications to keep you hooked."―Kirkus Reviews

"[A] page-turner."―Vanity Fair

Readers Top Reviews

Mr GrumpyGlasgow Dre
For anyone who loved both seasons of Fargo, there is the risk that discovering Noah Hawley's fiction will be a letdown. I'd go out of my way to watch his next TV project, but this novel lacks both the originality and the skilful crafting of his tv work. [SPOILER WARNING from hereon] Its strong points are that it's a genuine page-turner, as the central mystery of what led to the crash is very gradually revealed. It also taps into some key elements of general interest for its likely audience - the emergence of the super-wealthy class, the politicisation of 24 hour news channels, and the perils and problems of middle age. While these are enough to keep the reader engaged, the novel sadly doesn't have anything very interesting to say, as by the time we reach the rather lacklustre ending, it's clear that the main rightwing character in the story is a monster, that the Fox-type channel is wrong on all counts, and that our hero, despite all his grizzled flaws, really is as much of a hero as the protagonist of any other airport thriller. Mr Hawley chooses some very easy targets, and doesn't let any of them surprise us. Hawley's success in other fields might have got him the good editor he needed, or it might have exempted him from editing. Sadly it feels like the latter was what happened. The attempts to alternate perspective are jarring, with some characters unable to support the weight of their allotted chapter of individual focus - the Israeli bodyguard is especially underdeveloped. Although the book is in part an attack on sexist attitudes, the female roles in the likely movie will not be particularly interesting or challenging. Brief shifts into historical detail (Jack Lalanne and the Montauk monster) are bluntly inserted into the narrative. The prose style is efficient enough for plot development, but not subtle enough to develop some of the deeper themes that are attempted. Finally, a book analysing the impact of the news media on modern life is remarkably uncurious and unreflective about how the scenario it sets up would play out in reality: the lead character, having survived an incident that would be on all national media, is extraordinary not only in his skill at avoiding the media, but also in avoiding almost anyone (except the implausibly helpful crash investigator) giving him any sensible advice at any point about how to deal with that until the last few pages of the book. No local mayor or politician or colleague of the deceased executive takes the chance, which they would surely seize on, to be his friend or offer advice. And yet, for all his naivete, and unsuitedness, when he does finally decide to take on the power of the media - well, yes, you guessed it. There were two potentially interesting books here - the most prominent a pacy contemporary thriller with a touch of satire, the second a more reflective explorat...
I've had this sitting on my Kindle for a few months now. I decided to delay my reading of it because over the summer I read two other novels that depicted plane crashes (Sole Survivor by Dean Koontz and After The Crash by Michel Bussi). I was worried that the scenarios in those books would be similar and hamper my enjoyment of this one - shouldn't have worried though because Before The Fall was a totally different tale altogether. Like others, I found the story easy to read and I was particularly taken with the suspenseful opening chapters. It was an intriguing tale, though not the thriller I'd expected it to be. I did enjoy reading about the back stories of the different characters though and it was interesting to read about the course their individual lives had taken leading up to the crash. Within the story, Noah Hawley explores the media's (and the public's) obsession with certain news stories. The author makes some bang on observations regarding how 'news' is now broadcast and how the media, in many respects, actually makes and controls the news they are feeding to us - often proclaiming that the public has a right to know all the details. Although I had guessed the reason for the crash way before the 'reveal,' I did nevertheless enjoy the style of writing, and did find myself highlighting a number of passages throughout. Not quite worthy of five stars but I would still be tempted to read further works by this author.
I thought this was going to be a great book but was disappointed. I think the reviews had me expecting much more but after a decent start, I just couldn't get too involved in it. It was quite flat, actually. I would like to find the reviewers who said it was the best thriller of the year. I could hardly stay awake reading it. There was no tension whatsoever. I finished it just to see what would happen but it never really lived up to expectations. Too bad because 2 of his other books were terrific but I also felt the same way about The Good Father. I only made it through a third of that book. If you can find it "The Punch is a terrific book.
hawthorne woodRichar
The hype about this book leaves me scratching my head. Can't believe it got such huge reviews when the writing is clunky and, frankly, boring. The premise is great. It could have taken off like a rocket and kept you in thrall with such a good story idea. But it doesn't. I kept waiting to be psyched, page-turning like mad, but unfortunately, I found this way underwhelming and several chapters in began to wish I hadn't wasted my time to start with. The cliches, the dull descriptions, the lack of character development on any truly intimate, deeper level - not there. I've always read books for the interesting writing as much as the story. This one lacks both. Something tells me that because this writer is associated with "Fargo," he got green lights and nobody of any real taste in publishing read his book. They just figured "Fargo" was good, so this must be. NOT! Being a great novelist is a whole other bag than a good screenwriter. If you love good writing - or even a good yarn - don't waste your time.

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