Before The Fall (Noah Hawley)

29467905The 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 everyone is talking about a book and stating that it’s one of the best thrillers of the year, the fangirl inside me gets incredibly excited. And although it took me a while to get to read Before The Fall, my expectations were as high as ever. The result? I’m afraid I was a bit disappointed.

Don’t get me wrong, I do believe this is a good book and the premise was more than intriguing. A private jet that crashes and there are only two survivors. But was it an accident or did something much more sinister happen? Is one of the survivors involved? This is the main idea and I thought it was a great one. I didn’t know what to expect from this book. Would it be a survival story? A thriller? A mystery? Turns out, Before The Fall was all of those things at once.

The first chapters were super engaging and I deeply enjoyed reading about Scott becoming a hero in a matter of hours. He was a great character and I also wanted to know more about the kid and how he would cope with this tragedy. I guess, this time, I was more interested in the aftermath and the consequences of the accident and what it would do to those involved.

There was a part of the book that focused on the investigation and the press and I found it realistic and fitting. It’s a shame how everything works nowadays. Someone does something heroic and he must’ve had his reasons. He’s surely suspicious. He’s probably after the money. He must’ve been sleeping with the mother. I thought the reactions were very sad but they were also a great portrait of our society.

So why didn’t I enjoy this more? Basically, I thought there was a lot of unnecessary information and the book could’ve been much shorter if focused on the main characters. At first, I thought the “before” chapters were a great idea that allowed us to get to know the passengers more in depth. However, after a few pages I was a bit tired of reading about their days prior to the accident, especially when those stories had little to do with the plot itself.

I believe I’m not the only one who thought the ending was a bit bland if you take into account the enormous potential of the story. Maybe it was meant to be this way, I don’t know, but I couldn’t help but feel it could’ve been even better. Based on the raving reviews I’ve read, I guess this was just not the right book for me, even though I did like it.

P.S I’m a big fan of Fargo and The Unusuals is one of the shows I still complain about being canceled way too early. So it clearly isn’t you, Noah Hawley. It’s just this book.

Other reviews:
It’s Book Talk
The Suspense Is Thrilling Me

Hodder, 2016 – Copy from publishers

Buy Here

26 thoughts on “Before The Fall (Noah Hawley)

  1. Clues and Reviews says:

    I was mixed about this one too. I initially really liked it but then I found there was too much “fluff”. I do think it would make a pretty good movie though! Apparently, the film rights have already been sold so I guess we will see…..


    • Annie says:

      Yes! And I also think I’ll like the movie much better, I just had this feeling. It has happened to me with some other books. I don’t know, I wasn’t that convinced by this one!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. mhmcneill says:

    I think the unnecessary information was included to throw off the reader. I really liked Scott and how he took a stand against the media and other hangers-on. I feel that if a writer can make me care about at least one character, the story isn’t a totally lost cause. 🙂


  3. Donna says:

    That blurb sounds so promising! I love the idea, too bad it felt a bit flat in the end, there’s a lot of potential. I hate when a story is cluttered with unimportant details that distract from the plot.


  4. Inge | The Belgian Reviewer says:

    I think I would share the same opinion if I were to read this book. I want scenes to be relevant too in a book, I don’t like fluff that really doesn’t add anything, and if you see that the ending isn’t all that great, I’m not going to pick this one up I think. Great review though!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Diana says:

    I really don’t like it when a story ends up being unnecessary long due to details that don’t add much to the plot. I have seen this book around and have been looking for it everywhere. Glad to have read your review though, I will adjust my expectations accordingly. Sorry this one didn’t work out for you.Enjoy your next read 🙂


  6. Amanda @Cover2CoverMom says:

    Blah! I’m sorry this came up short for you. This book has been on my radar ever since attending a book event for Stephen King and someone had asked what books were on his nightstand and he answered Before the Fall and The Girls by Emma Cline. As fate would have it, I was approved for both these books through NetGalley… I just have to read them ((hides in shame))


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