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  • Published: New York : Grand Central Publishing, 2016.
  • Year Published: 2016
  • Edition: First edition.
  • Description: 391 pages ; 24 cm
  • Language: English
  • Format: Book

ISBN/Standard Number

  • 9781455561780
  • 1455561789


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Before the fall

by Hawley, Noah.

There are currently 10 available

Where To Find It

Call number: Fiction / Hawley, Noah, Express Shelf

Westgate call number: Adult Book / Fiction / Thrillers / General / Hawley, Noah

Available Copies: Downtown 2nd Floor, Pittsfield Adult, Traverwood Adult, Westgate Adult Books

Additional Details

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. With chapters weaving between the aftermath of the crash 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 tragedy heightens. 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. Amid pulse-quickening suspense, the fragile relationship between Scott and the young boy glows at the heart of this stunning novel, raising questions of fate, human nature, and the inextricable ties that bind us together.

Community Reviews

total waste of time, don't read it

Definitely one of the worst books I've ever read for two main reasons. No real story, and superficial cliché characters that don't evolve and never really go anywhere.
I only finished it because I thought the author would somehow miraculously bring it all together in the end and there would be some sense to it. But that's not the case.

I bought this while on vacation at a bookstore where I've had past success with trying new books. The summary had promise, and it has many good comments in the “praise” section at the beginning. This should have been a tip off. If it's a good book, why would it be necessary to include 58 comments on how great it is? And going back and reading these, all were partial quotes about things like “will seize you on the first page and not let you go.” But none of them went into any depth, and none about if it's a good story. Would be curious to see the complete reviews as I'm guessing it wasn't all positive.
This one sums it all up, “I started and finished BEFORE THE FALL in one day.” The guy probably couldn't take it any more, skipped to the end, and tossed it in the trash.

Here's the thing. The main event, a plane crash in the ocean, is at the beginning. The rest of the book is backstory on people who died in the crash. But since it already happened, it's all irrelevant. These individual stories are interspersed with what's going on in the present after the crash with the two survivors. The summary on the back cover alludes to a relationship growing between the two survivors, that it “grows and glows at the heart of this stunning novel, raising questions of fate, morality, and the inextricable ties that bind us together.”
But that relationship doesn't happen. They have some contact at the end, but it doesn't drive the story at all.

The characters are a collection of cliché people that have no depth and don't go anywhere. Yet the author spends the bulk of the book trying to tell their stories with no relevant role in the story. The men are all hyper successful wealthy power brokers. Except for one guy who's a total deadbeat. The women are trophy wives or something irrelevant. I mean, none of these people seem to be able to think or have anything useful to say. Lots of empty dialog.
The main family's security guard has his own chapter. It seems like a big ego trip for the author as this character is not only former Israeli special forces and can (and has) do about anything like a superhero, but he beds beautiful celebrity women whom he's tasked with protecting.

The (seemingly) main character doesn't evolve after the crash and the aftermath. He did all his growing before the story started.
I find it hard to have a story without any character arc or something changing because of an event, especially a tragic one.

I will agree with some of the reviews that the book does make some attempt at pointing out the state of commercial tv news and vilifying it. But again, since it's such an obvious subject, it's just another cliché story line.

The ending is, well, just plain stupid. It doesn't add up and has nothing to do with the rest of the story.

Seems like an author with the credentials of Noah Hawley could do better. This book is the written equivalent of using canned music as a soundtrack: you've heard it all before, except this version is played twice as fast and half as well.

The extremely weak writing, lack of a cohesive story, and cliche characters that don't go anywhere are all reasons to not even think about picking up this book. By the way, my evaluation is based on comparing the quality to books of similar genre and not against really great literary works.
Do yourself a favor and find something better.

good page-turner

I don't usually read thrillers, but I picked this up after a New York Times recommendation. I'm glad I did. It's a suspense novel that goes a little deeper into characters and it's not a bunch of macho weapons, womanizing and fighting. It's also got some social and political commentary going on.

That said, however, I have a couple of bones to pick with this book. The first is that the women are generally less than the men. There is the wife (former pre-school teacher now trophy wife) who is naive and beautiful and rich. There is the harlot, who uses our hero as a novelty, and is beautiful and rich. There is the sister, who is insecure and hesitant but has a good heart. Oh, and she's beautiful, and destined to inherit $100 million. And there is the stewardess who is not rich, but - you guessed it - stunningly beautiful. This, in contrast with the men who range from really bright and honest (Gus) to Big Money launderers who are not nice, but they're damn good at what they do. And there's FOX's Bill O'Reilly (oops, I mean the Bill O'Reilly-ish character) who is a monumental jerk, but is successful at what he does. Eventually, our shambling (male) hero prevails, but the only happy ending for a female is the hint that the sister might pair up with the hero - thereby having it all: beauty, money, and the good guy.

My second complaint is that the ending doesn't quite live up to the rest of the book. Really? The plane went down for that reason? And what ever happened to Gil's body?

Still, if you like suspense and pretty good writing, this will be a good summer read for you.


The dialogue reads like a screenplay but the plot and all are pretty clunky throughout

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