Published by Hachette Audio, Grand Central Publishing on May 31st 2016
On a foggy summer night, eleven people--ten privileged, one down-on-his-luck painter--depart Martha's Vineyard headed for New York. Sixteen minutes later, the unthinkable happens: the passengers disappear 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 a wealthy and powerful media mogul's family.
With chapters weaving between the aftermath of the tragedy and the backstories of the passengers and crew members--including a Wall Street titan and his wife, a Texan-born party boy just in from London, a young woman questioning her path in life, and a career pilot--the mystery surrounding the crash heightens. As the passengers' intrigues unravel, odd coincidences point to a conspiracy: Was it merely 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--all while the reader draws closer and closer to uncovering the truth.
The fragile relationship between Scott and the young boy glows at the heart of this novel, raising questions of fate, human nature, and the inextricable ties that bind us together.
#PlaneCrash #Artist #HeroicRescue #Martha’sVineyard @noahhawley @petkoff @HachetteAudio
Before the Fall by Noah Hawley will likely be on my short list of favorite listens for this year. It is one of those books that thoroughly engages your attention from the first paragraph and doesn’t let go until the final scene plays out. Eleven people board a private plane for a short flight. In 16 minutes the plane plunges into the water under questionable circumstances and there are only two survivors: one adult and one child. The adult, Scott Burroughs, is an artist who is down on his luck and is on the flight merely by chance. Despite his injuries, he swims to shore, saving the life of the child, JJ Bateman. From there the plot unfolds as the author tells us each passenger’s back story and makes a case for why any of them could have been either the perpetrator or a target. Scott finds himself rapidly going from hero to suspect in a fictional account that is disturbingly close to our current media climate. Listeners will run across some characters who sound vaguely familiar from the head of a Fox News type network complete with a scary news commentator to a flaky left-wing heiress with more money than sense who loves to collect artists. She reminds me so much of all the poor little rich girls who have too much free time and love to meddle in politics these days.
Robert Petkoff is a superb narrator and successfully portrays all the characters from the heiress, Layla Mueller, to the young child, JJ Bateman. Mr. Petkoff’s voice for Doug, the man who is married to JJ’s aunt Eleanor, perfectly portrays Doug’s slightly goofy, but greedy nature.
I highly recommend Before the Fall. The book is well-written and the narration is impeccable. There is a strong element of philosophical commentary on today’s society laced with the mystery of what caused the plane to crash. Listeners or readers will smile as they recognize qualities in the characters reminiscent of people you read about in today’s news. The ending is satisfying, but it won’t be a big surprise. It is rather like a period at the end of a sentence — merely a stopping point.