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Before the Fall
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Archive: Other Books > Before the Fall - Noah Hawley - 4 stars

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message 1: by Ladyslott (last edited Jul 28, 2016 02:12PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ladyslott | 1880 comments This is the story of a plane crash, perhaps the one thing everyone is always a little afraid of, especially while on a plane hitting turbulence. It is also the story of a man lauded as a hero and then turned into a scapegoat.

Scott Burroughs can’t believe his luck when a casual acquaintance invites him to fly on a private jet from their homes in Martha’s Vineyard to New York. Scott is a recovering alcoholic and artist trying to revive his career. He barely makes the flight, boarding just before the doors close. He happy to make the flight by the skin of his teeth. In eighteen minutes he will be swimming for his life. And then he hears a cry and finds the 4 year old son of one of the passengers. In a fight for survival Scott saves both himself and JJ by swimming throughout the night. Overnight he is a hero and hounded by the press.

Although there is the mystery of why the plane crashes a big focus of the book is how the media often turns tragedy into a circus sideshow. Scott and JJ are relentlessly pursued by cameras and reporters looking for a story. It is also an examination of how one particular news station (very Fox News like) and how the lead anchor on the show, Bill Cunningham (very Bill O’Reilly like), manipulates the story. Using all forms of innuendo he single-handedly turns Scott from hero to possible murderer or alternately accusing him of colluding with terrorists. No shred of evidence exists for these ‘news’ reports yet people eat it up and it turns Scott’s life upside down.

This was a very fast read, I couldn’t put it down because I needed to know what happened. There is a lot of backstory to the other 5 passengers, plus a security guard and three crew members; several of them become possible suspects in the crash. The book is fast paced, with fairly short chapters. The author is a screenwriter and producer so at times it felt like it was written for the screen, moving the story along very quickly. The ending while plausible was not what I was expecting.

If you are looking for a fast-paced mystery to read on the beach this summer you can’t do much better than with this book. I do not recommend reading this on a plane, that would be a mistake as the description of the crash and the ensuing investigation is graphic at times. I also recommend Hawley’s other book, The Good Father; it is quite haunting.


Anita Pomerantz | 6748 comments I can't wait to read this one - - yours is the first review I have seen, but I liked the author's book The Good Father so I've had my eye on this one from the get go. I have a real "bee in my bonnet" about today's media, so it sounds like this will be right up my alley.


message 3: by Denizen (new) - added it

Denizen (den13) | 1138 comments Ladyslott wrote: "Using all forms of innuendo he handedly turns Scott from hero to possible murderer or alternately accusing him of colluding with terrorists. No shred of evidence exists for these ‘news’ reports yet people eat it up and it turns Scott’s life upside down."

Interesting premise. I think this can so often be true. You've definitely piqued my interest so on the TBR it goes.


JoLene (trvl2mtns) | 1532 comments I just bought this because I had heard lots of good things about it. It makes me laugh because my husband and I just discovered the TV show Bones. We are watching the DVDs up at our mountain house because we don't have cable/dish. Noah Hawley has been involved in tv and I think movies as a writer for a while.


Booknblues | 6865 comments I'm hoping to get to this one soon.


Ladyslott | 1880 comments Noah Hawley has been involved in tv and I think movies as a writer for a while...."

He also writes for the series Fargo and The Unusuals


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