Before the Fall

Written by Noah Hawley

Review written by Amy Myers

Amy Myers is known for her short stories and historical novels featuring Victorian chef Auguste Didier and chimney sweep Tom Wasp. Her contemporary series features classic car detective Jack Colby, and she is currently working on a new 1920s mystery series featuring Nell Drury, chef at Kent’s Wychbourne Court.


Before the Fall
Hodder and Stoughton
RRP: £14.99
Released: June 9 2016
HBK

This is the fifth novel from the US film and TV producer and screenwriter Noah Hawley – remember the brilliant TV series Fargo?

Film rights in Beyond the Fall have already been sold, which is hardly surprising given its breath-taking scope. The fall of the title is the crash of an aircraft, which is not an unusual theme for a thriller. But the book has much more to offer than a straightforward crime story.

The crash was not due to accident or technical reasons or terrorist attack. So which of those on board, passengers or crew, was responsible for it?

Well-written, elegantly structured and well-plotted, it examines the lives and motivations of the eleven people who flew in a small private plane that left Martha’s Vineyard only to crash eighteen minutes later. There were only two survivors, struggling artist Scott Burroughs and four year old J.J. – the son of media and finance magnate, David Bateman, who against the odds reached safety.

The novel painstakingly scrutinizes not only the individual stories of all those in the aircraft, but the aftermath of the crash on the survivors and how outside issues such as the power of the media impact on the survivors. The author explores the emotions and actions and reactions of his characters, both the nine dead and the two survivors, with deep understanding and compassion, turning this into a novel that will linger long in the memory.

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