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Before the Fall Hardcover – May 31, 2016
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The Amazon Book Review
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An Amazon Best Book of June 2016: Noah Hawley’s new novel begins with the crash of a private plane carrying some very influential people on board. The only survivors are the young son of a media mogul and an obscure painter who, given his less than elevated status, seems like a wild card from the start. What happened on that flight? Why did the plane go down and if it was intentional, who was the target? With each chapter of Before the Fall, Hawley peels back another layer of the lives of those onboard that fatal flight meanwhile, the media speculation and accusations in the days after the crash threaten to overwhelm truth and decency. The end is surprising, even a little bit of a “huh.” moment at first, but it’s an ending that sinks in and starts the wheels turning on everything that came before it, which, to me, is the hallmark of an unforgettable story. --Seira Wilson, The Amazon Book Review
"This is one of the year's best suspense novels, 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."―Janet Maslin, New York Times
"BEFORE THE FALL is a ravishing and riveting beauty of a thriller. It's also a deep exploration of desire, betrayal, creation, family, fate, mortality, and rebirth. It's one part Dennis Lehane, one part Dostoevsky. I was spellbound from first page to last; I haven't fully recovered yet."―Michael Cunningham, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Hours
"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."―Kristin Hannah, New York Times Book Review
"[A] terrific thriller...an irresistible mystery.. a tale that's both an intriguing puzzle and a painful story of human loss."―Patrick Anderson, 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, "The Top Books of 2016"
"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 and winner of the National Book Foundation's 2015 Literarian Award
"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)
"A pulse-pounding story, grounded in humanity."―Booklist (starred review)
"BEFORE THE FALL is an astonishing, character-driven tour-de-force. The story is a multi-layered, immersive examination of truth, relationships, and our unquenchable thirst for the media's immediate explanation of unfathomable tragedy."―Karin Slaughter, #1 internationally bestselling author
"Savvy and absorbing... cathartic...BEFORE THE FALL is about the gulf that separates perception and truth, and the people who fall into it."―Sam Sacks, Wall Street Journal
"BEFORE THE FALL kicks ass. A surefire summer read."
―Justin Cronin, New York Times bestselling author of The Passage and City of Mirrors
"Like the successful screenwriter that he is, Hawley piles on enough intrigues and plot complications to keep you hooked."―Kirkus Reviews
"This isn't just a good novel; it's a great one. I trusted no one in these pages, yet somehow cared about them all. BEFORE THE FALL brings a serrated edge to every character, every insight, and every wicked twist."―Brad Meltzer, bestselling author of The President's Shadow
"Noah Hawley soon veers his highly entertaining novel into an insightful look at families, revenge and media intrusion...Hawley invests the same care with a soupcon of dark humor into BEFORE THE FALL as he does on the TV series 'Fargo'...superb and cleverly constructed."―Associated Press
"A riveting beach read."―People, "The Best New Books"
"[A] page-turner."―Vanity Fair
"A remarkable and memorable accomplishment by any standard...BEFORE THE FALL is brilliantly constructed and wonderfully told.... a tale that will haunt you long after you read the last page, even as you wish the narrative was twice as long, for all the right reasons."―Book Reporter
"Essential reading this summer for anyone who likes a good story well told...You won't read a more thoughtful page-turner anytime soon...irresistibly cinematic."―St. Louis Post-Dispatch
"Remarkably fun to read, filled with suspense, memorable characters and incredibly visual scenes...a compulsive experience."―Austin American-Statesman
"Compulsively written and involving, BEFORE THE FALL is a stunning inquiry into human drive and desire...A powerful and genuinely surprising work."―The Saturday Star
"Abundant chills and thrills...Noah Hawley's novel grabs you by the throat and won't let go...BEFORE THE FALL is storytelling at its best, as Hawley presents a range of diverse characters with rich histories... Seeds of doubt are cast in what is sure to be the summer book you won't want to miss."―The Missourian
"In the hands of a writer like Noah Hawley, who knows how to build tension from mundane moments, it is a remarkable thriller that most readers will find difficult to put down...it moves toward a breathless ending."―The Washington Times
"A complex exploration of human nature in an age of celebrity."―Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
"Won [our] hearts and minds...it will be the big talker of the summer."―New York Post, "Summer's Hottest Reads"
"[The] thriller of the summer."―The Baltimore Sun
"The crash and the flashbacks recall Lost and Thornton Wilder's Pulitzer-winning novel, The Bridge Over San Luis Rey, and Scott's travails are the lot of every hero in a conspiratorial thriller going back to The 39 Steps."―Slate
"BEFORE THE FALL will seize you on the first page and never let you go, as you follow the story of a plane crash and the complicated and confusing investigation about why it happened."―Vanity Fair, "The 5 Must-Read Books for the Last Five Weeks of Summer"
"Fast-paced, mysterious...reads like a great episode of TV."―The Tennessean
"A riveting summer read...the author manages to draw out beauty from the heartbreak embodied within the characters. BEFORE THE FALL poses ubiquitous questions about existence, while maintaining a fast-paced, fascinating, and ultimately life-affirming plot."―Woodbury Magazine
"A captivating study of human nature."―New Orleans Advocate
"[An] intelligent and majestically paced story... Hawley has provided his fans with the ultimate irony: a best-seller that is also a Marxist critique."―Dallas Morning News
"A taut and expertly paced suspense novel. Hawley's fifth book delivers in so many ways: a cast of well-drawn characters, feints, red herrings and dogged investigators who eventually uncover the truth...this one keeps readers guessing until the final, tragic unveiling....in nerve-racking and poignant detail."―RealClearBooks, "This Summer's Best Thriller"
"A thoughtful and compelling page-turner....Hawley's writing is taut and clear, his characters richly developed...Readers may be moved to stand up and cheer."―New York Journal of Books
"Excellent premise and clever plotting."―Florida Times-Union
"A literary suspense novel with both a brain and a heart, Before the Fall is a searing examination of the nature of truth. With masterful character development and a well-sculpted plot line, Hawley takes us on a thrill ride of a story while raising vital questions about the role and responsibility of the media today."―Powells, "1 of 10 books sent to President Elect Trump"
"A big-brained why-, how-, and whodunit."―GQ
"Brimming with three-dimensional characters, BEFORE THE FALL leads the reader down rabbit hole after rabbit hole in an electrifying mystery."―PasteMagazine.com, "Best Novels of 2016"
"Noah Hawley's BEFORE THE FALL isn't a typical mystery. Perhaps that's why I couldn't put it down."―TheAtlantic.com
"Mystery, conspiracy and a plane crash on a foggy night...juicy."―Parade Magazine
"The story's utterly engrossing plot that twists between past and present, ultimately heightening the mystery and suspense, is practically made for the big screen."―Domino Magazine
"The best mystery I have read this year...extremely intense...a page turner...a carefully crafted character study...[that] delivers far more than a plot driven thriller. We get an insight into the workings of the minds of all the characters, and indeed, the workings of Noah Hawley's mind as well."―Cyberlibrarian
"[A] soapy, scary, ripped-from-the-headlines story...The answers are ultimately satisfying and heartbreaking."―The Plain Dealer Online
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Top Customer Reviews
The chapter that follows this terrible crash is one of the most exciting and well written I've read. Scott's disorientation is palpable as he comes to consciousness. The sea is dark, the sky is foggy, no stars can be seen to guide him. And then the whimpering cries of the boy reach his ears. I'm not giving anything away to say that they survived. But why should the plane have crashed? Many authorities believe it to be sabotage. One of the other passengers was about to be indicted for some big financial crime. Speculation runs wild amount the investigation agencies and the press.
We get short chapters defining the personal histories of all the passengers and crew on board. Okay, fine. This device isn't new and usually serves to let the reader have some investment in the outcome. As I stated, the "escape" from the sea was a thrilling bit of writing. The supporting players bios began to get a little tedious as the info was parceled out sparingly. I was losing interest in the outcome at about 70% but stuck with it anyway.
And then, what happened? Suddenly we're at the end and rather than giving the reader a unique and original ending, the author wrapped up the mystery with something ripped right from the headlines. I felt cheated, duped, in fact. So you may want to wait for the price to drop before committing to purchase this book. I will say that the writing is fine but it seems to me that the author merely tacked on an easy ending that took no thought at all.
I am a big fan of the author's "Fargo" TV series, so I was sold on this book before reading a Patrick Anderson review in the Washington Post. A quick glance at the Amazon page for the book will reveal that early on there is a crash of a private jet with eleven on board and most are killed. The plane was heading from Martha's Vineyard to Teterboro Airport in New Jersey near Manhattan and 'falls' into the sea. Now the investigation begins to determine what happened and who is responsible. Hawley's story telling skills are excellent and in this book he interweaves investigation chapters with chapters on each of the people on board. Hard to put down.
As the end approaches, two climaxes, each on a separate track, are building. It has a satisfying ending and lots of interesting characters and I hope to see another from Hawley soon. However, "Before the Fall" is not without its flaws. I really doubt that anyone could have survived the crash. Secondly, the responsible party's actions are just too much of a stretch for me. And finally, a 26 year old, attractive billionaires, naked, slips into bed with a middle aged guy who hasn't had sex in five years, and you're never going to believe what happens next, perhaps the most incredible scene of all. So put it all together and it spells four star, but a good fun read.