Pretty sure I’ve mentioned that I’m a nervous flier before on this blog before. I wouldn’t call myself a bad flier, because I do it quite often (one of my life’s greatest ironies unfortunately), but I’m a white knuckler for sure. I care how big the plane is, I refuse to sit in the back few rows because I KNOW it is bumpier, and I absolutely hate turbulence. I most recently confessed to a friend that I would rather endure a non-life threatening surgery than get on a plane; yes, that is how much I hate flying. So why would I read a book about a plane crash you ask? Quite simply, I knew that Before the Fall by Noah Hawley would be good, and if I don’t let my fear of flying get in the way of my travelling, why would I let it affect the books I read? Luckily, I was right, I really enjoyed this book. Plus, the actual plane crash isn’t really described in detail, so I was spared that trauma.
I would call Before the Fall a perfect summer thriller-it’s a great beach read because most of the characters are either beautiful, rich, or both. Hawley is also a television writer, so his plot line is extremely tight. The pace of the book is fast, there is always something new and exciting happening, and there are great twists that kept the pages turning.
The book begins with the unexplained crash of a private plane carrying a few very wealthy people, two kids, and a random painter that befriended one of these rich gals and got on the flight last minute. He ends up surviving the crash with one other person, the 4-year-old son who inherits millions as he is the only surviving family member from the crash. The majority of the book details the last few days (and relevant backstories) of everyone else on board that flight, including the crew and flight attendant. We even get the perspectives of a few of the investigators working on the case, all in an attempt to explain what really happened because there are many theories: mechanical malfunction, terrorism, etc.
One of the spookiest scenes in this book is when the divers find the remnants of the plane on the bottom of the ocean, and they have cameras strapped to their heads that are sending the video feed back to the investigators on land. This situation perfectly highlights the benefits of Hawley’s television writing; he paints an extremely vivid picture for us, it’s like he’s beaming a screen right into the reader’s brain. That’s why I found this book so easy to read, it was like watching television.
But Hawley also made us care about the characters, and there are many of them. As we continue through the chapters, we realize that almost every person on that plane may be the reason it went down. So, it’s a wonderful thriller and whodunnit in one. Have I convinced you to read this book yet? It’s set to be made into a movie as well, so although I won’t be watching it (seeing a plane crash on screen is too much for me, I learned that by foolishly watching Alive), I know lots of people will be.