Author: Noah Hawley
Narrator: Robert Petkoff
Published: May 2016, Hachette Audio
Length: 12 hours 59 minutes
Source: Personal copy via Audible
From the Emmy, PEN, Peabody, Critics' Choice, and Golden Globe Award-winning creator of the TV show Fargo comes the thriller of the year.
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.
My thoughts: This is one of the She Reads 'Books of Summer' selections and it is such a great pick! I'm sure I would have picked it up anyway, but this just made me pick it up sooner so I could get it read and reviewed during the summer reading time.
I loved the way this book was told. On the surface it's a mystery - why does this small plane with eleven people on board crash shortly after take-off? But as we get deeper into the book and it moves back and forth between the present and the past, we find that there is so much more than meets the eye. It's almost like we become part of the mystery as we find out about all the passengers on board.
There are so many unique parts to this book. The present parts focus not only on the investigation, but on the two survivors. The past parts give us snapshots on each of the deceased - and these were actually quite detailed at times, providing clues as to what would help the investigators eventually piece together what ultimately happened. And then there's the media...ready to pounce on any tidbit for their 24/7 news cycle. Are they really reporting on news or just spinning what they are told to sway the public?
This book kept me hooked from beginning to end and while the ending wasn't quite what I was expecting, I still enjoyed it completely. The storytelling, the layers, the mystery all combine for a good suspenseful tale.
Audio thoughts: I've listened to Robert Petkoff before, so when I saw he was narrating this book, I knew I was in for a treat. He brought this book to life...what a great job he did with all the voices and the story-telling. He was consistent with not only the voices but his pacing, his tones, and even his emotions were spot on. The whole production was great and I'm really glad I decided to listen to this book!
Before the Fall by Noah Hawley is one of the She Reads "Books of Summer" reading selection picks.
Head over to the She Reads website to read reviews and related posts of this book, as well as posts related to the other "Books of Summer" selections.