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Saturday, May 27, 2017

Before the Fall by Noah Hawley

Before the Fall by Noah Hawley


First Paragraph:

A private plane sits on a runway in Martha's Vineyard, forward stairs deployed.  It is a nine-seat OSPRY 700SL, built in 2001 in Wichita, Kansas.  Whose plane it is is hard to say with real certainty.  The ownership of record is a Dutch holding company with a Cayman Island mailing address, but the logo on the fuselage says GULLWING AIR.  The pilot, James Melody, is British.  Charlie Busch, the first officer, is from Odessa, Texas.  The flight attendant, Emma Lightner, was born in Mannheim, Germany, to an American air force lieutenant and his teenage wife.  They moved to San Diego when she was nine.


Blurb:

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 the painter Scott Burroughs and a four-year-old boy, who is now the last remaining member of an immensely wealthy and powerful media mogul's family.

Was it by chance that so many influential people perished? Or was something more sinister at work? A storm of media attention brings Scott fame that quickly morphs into notoriety and accusations, and he scrambles to salvage truth from the wreckage. Amid trauma and chaos, the fragile relationship between Scott and the young boy grows and glows at the heart of this stunning novel, raising questions of fate, morality, and the inextricable ties that bind us together.


My Thoughts:

Before the Fall won this year's Edgar Award (given by the Mystery Writers of America) for 'Best Mystery Novel'. Interesting. It is a mystery novel and yet, in my opinion, it's not. I did a listen/read combo and found Robert Petkoff's narration quite good. I liked the book and was absorbed in the story, but it doesn't work like a 'normal' thriller. It's about an airplane crash - a small luxury jet - with 11 passengers aboard. One family, father, mother, 9-year-old daughter, 4-year-old son - father is the head of a very successful news network. One married couple - husband about to be charged with financial crimes. One bodyguard for the family. Three crew members - two pilots and one flight attendant. One invited guest - a painter who is hitching a ride to meet with galleries about his latest work. The flight leaves Martha's Vineyard and, less than 20 minutes later, crashes into the ocean. The painter, Scott Burroughs, and the young boy, JJ, are the only survivors. Burroughs swims for many hours to reach land, saving the boy's life. The tale is told from many viewpoints - about all the passengers and their lives, about the investigation into the cause of the crash, and about how an unknown painter and a small boy (who is now extremely rich) become so very famous. It's about life and how we might make sense of senseless events - tragedies - horrible things. It's interesting and very different. And I think you can tell that the author writes screenplays - but that's not necessarily a bad thing here. I will recommend it, if the reader keeps in mind that this is not your everyday mystery/thriller/disaster story. Try it.

25 comments:

  1. Sounds like an interesting read!

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  2. I think the fact that this is not a "normal thriller" is why I liked it!

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    1. I suspect that's right, Sarah. I know that a lot of the books I read would not be good matches for you. However, I love it when our tastes coincide. LOL

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  3. I'm curious now just because it is different.

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  4. I read this novel and thought it was just ok. Maybe I was expecting more of a mystery/thriller as you said.

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    1. Probably so, Pat. I think that's how it was described, as so many are now - perhaps compared to another book.

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  5. I wasn't sure about this one. I wouldn't say it's a standard mystery, from all that I know about it, but still, it is kind of intriguing.. a plane crash and how the different people on board are affected. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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    1. Yes, I'm not sure I would have tried it if it hadn't won the Edgar award. But...that pushed it over the top for me. The story takes us into the lives of almost all the people on the plane and sets up various scenarios for what might have happened, due to things in their lives.

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  6. I've had this one sitting on my Kindle for ages and have seen so many mixed reviews of it, it keeps getting shoved up the list... and then shoved back down! The fact that it's not a normal thriller probably makes it sound more appealing... back up the list it goes! ;)

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    1. I couldn't possibly predict if you'll like this or not. I, too, had seen mixed reactions. It worked well for me.

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  7. I've read many good things about this book, as well as some not so good which I think I now understand having read your review - so thank you. If I do pick this one up I will bear in mind that this doesn't read like a conventional thriller.

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    1. Yes, I've also read some good and some not-so-good reactions. Glad I tried it.

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  8. This sounds really good. Something I would like.

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  9. I started reading this one, but didn't get past the first chapter or so. Probably the timing. I'll most likely pick it up again and give it another go. Glad you enjoyed it!

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    1. Well, it may just not be a good match for you.

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  10. I have heard mixed reviews about this one--particularly the ending. I am really interested in giving it a try though.

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    1. Yes, I had also read mixed reactions. It worked fine for me though.

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  11. When it first came out, so many people had issues with the ending but I didn't. I thought it was plausible.

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    1. I thought it was too. I just wanted people to understand that it didn't necessarily work like a typical thriller.

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  12. I liked this one too, but not as well as the rest of my book club did. I agree about it being a thriller/non thriller.

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Thanks for stopping by! I am so happy to hear your thoughts and will respond as soon as I can. Happy Reading!