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 Scott Burroughs-the painter-and a four-year-old boy, who is now the last remaining member of an immensely wealthy and powerful media mogul's family.
As the passengers' intrigues unravel, odd coincidences point to a conspiracy. Was it merely by dumb chance that so many influential people perished? Or was something far more sinister at work? Events soon threaten to spiral out of control in an escalating storm of media outrage and accusations. And while Scott struggles to cope with fame that borders on notoriety, the authorities scramble to salvage the truth from the wreckage.
Before The Fall by Noah Hawley is a mystery-suspense story centered on a plane crash. Only two people survive, and the investigation reveals numerous dark secrets about the passengers, as well as the flight crew. As the backgrounds of the characters are revealed, there are several theories of why the plane crashed. The POV focuses mainly on Scott, the man who saves a four-year old passenger.
The writing style is brilliant and so unique, I'm not sure how to properly describe it. The backgrounds are presented as flashback biographies that not only summarize the life of each passenger, but the segments also uncover the circumstances that brought the characters onto that particular flight. I found it extremely riveting and read the novel in one sitting.
While there are a lot of characters to keep track of, Hawley does an amazing job of personalizing each life. There is not necessarily a lot of action, but the intrigue and interaction between the characters propels the story at a steady pace. The ending is quite a surprise.
I've never heard of Noah Hawley before, but I would gladly read more of his work.