Before the Fall by Noah Hawley

Lots of hype for this one – the author has lots of friends in high places.  But that doesn’t mean it’s not good.  It is good – very good – or at least I should say I very much enjoyed it.

The plot premise is that a private jet crashes off Martha’s Vineyard and two people survive,  the protagonist (the most riveting of the later stories)  Scott Burroughs, a middle-aged painter,  and a 4-year old boy,  JJ Bateman.  That’s just the Prologue.   The other passengers were rich and powerful men and their families plus the crew.  How could this happen?

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*******
Before the Fall 
by Noah Hawley
2016 / 391 pages
read by Robert Petcoff – 12h 59m
Rating:  B+ / literary crime-suspense 
*******

The novel is structured around parallel threads  each one developing a character on board the jet,  their difficulties, their lives.  The suspense is built that way because the reader is thinking “could this person have caused the crash?”  There are no metal detectors on most private jets.

But along the way Hawley asks more literary questions about life and coincidences  and reality and these questions develop into themes.  Sad to say this meandering around takes the tension out of the suspense and it’s never terribly insightful – although there were a couple of very, very nice lines.  There’s another theme or sub-theme on the reality issue – what part does the media play in our lives –

But the best part of the novel is the relationship between Scott and JJ – that is simply wonderful in concept and execution – breathed all the life into the novel anyone could want.