Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Book Review: Before the Fall

Before the Fall
By Noah Hawley
Published by Hodder & Stoughton
Available in hardback and ebook
Paperback is forthcoming

From the creator and writer of the Emmy Award-winning series Fargo, Noah Hawley's latest novel, Before the Fall is a thriller which will pull you into the story, shake you round, dig its claws into you, and make you end up caring about dubious characters and find yourself fully invested in an intriguing plot.

On a foggy evening, a private plane takes off heading to New York from Martha's Vineyard, with two multi-millionaires, David Bateman a media mogul, and Ben Kipling a Wall Street banker, on board with their families, a painter, Scott Burroughs, and the crew. Everyone is happy, content, chatting to each other, drinking, watching sports as the plane takes off. The plane oozes wealth and success.

Yet, sixteen minutes later the plane crashes into the sea. Only Scott and JJ, Bateman's four year old son survive, after swimming to shore in the dark. It sounds like I'm giving away spoilers all over the place but I'm not - this all happens in the first third of the novel!

Hawley weaves together the events leading up to boarding the plane and the aftermath, planting red herrings along the way, as the reader slowly finds out why the plane took a dive to the bottom of the sea. Money laundering claims, hints of terrorism, families on the brink of collapse - was this a tragic accident or is there more lingering under the surface? Hawley ramps up the tension with separate chapters about each passenger, making sure that he leaves a cliffhanger to make sure the reader carry on reading way past their bedtime.

Hawley explores the behaviour of the media as it goes into overdrive clutching at every clue and rumour while the investigators take a step back so that they are not pulled into the rumour mill. This conflict between the two builds up the suspense - who will find out the answers first. There is also the question of privacy that both the media and investigators from FBI and Homeland Security seem to have a disregard for around the survivors.

This book also explores America's class system and the prejudices around people's status within society - is a life worth more than others? The media questions why a poor artist survives over a media mogul and Wall Street banker. The media seem set out to prove that Scott, the artist must have something to do with the plane crashing because of his financial status. How far with the media spin a story to get the ratings they want? Before the Fall reminded me of the TV show Newsroom as the debate on how far to push a story comes up each time a new rumour surfaces.

Before the Fall is a great thriller, and I'm sure this will be a big hit once it's published in paperback but go and buy it now and get ahead of the game. You can buy Before the Fall from from your favourite bookshop.

I was sent a copy by

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