Sunday, September 3, 2017

Before The Fall by Noah Hawley

Nine people get on a private jet for a short half-hour trip.  Four are a family; the father the head of a news channel, the wife staying home with the children who are a girl who is nine and a son, four.  The father is the person who owns the plane.  Two are a couple who knows the family.  The husband of this couple is big in investment banking and maybe about to be indicted for shady practises.  Then there are the crew; pilot, co-pilot and stewardess.  There is security man who travels with the family at all time due to threats.  Then  there is Scott, a painter who has met the wife and taken her last-minute invitation to ride with them and avoid the ferry.

Just a quick trip.  But sixteen minutes out, something goes wrong and the world changes forever.  The plane crashes.  Scott somehow survives and after minutes of searching, finds that the son has also survived.  He manages to get them both to shore by swimming all night with the boy on his back.  A hero, everyone says.

Now the craziness begins.  No one is sure what happened, not even Scott.  His memories are piecemeal and come in small flashes.  Several government agencies are involved in the investigation and without the plane and bodies, their work is just guesswork also.  With the father being a huge media presence, there is even more publicity and press than would usually happen.  With no facts to be had, speculation and rumors are rampant.  Will the truth emerge?

Noah Hawley has written an amazingly readable novel.  It received the Edgar Award for 2017 for the Best Novel as well as the 2017 Thrillers Award for Best Novel.  Most readers will know the author best as the creator of the hit TV series, Fargo.  The interplay of the characters and slow revealing of the mystery through the backstory of each individual character draws out the tension and suspense.  This book is recommended for mystery readers.

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