Before the Fall by Noah Hawley (Amazon)
Description: 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. (from Goodreads)
Why I Picked This Book: I really didn't expect to want to read this one but I had heard some great buzz from some trusted blogger friends and when I saw this laying on a table when I was visiting family I knew it was a sign!
My Impression: I'm not typically drawn to disaster books. They don't appeal to me in either fictional or nonfiction versions and when I first saw the blurb for this book I was definitely not interested. A plane crash? Involving 2 children? Absolutely not! However, then I started seeing the reviews for it and it started slowly climbing up the rungs of my TBR until one day I happened on a copy and could resist it no more and I'm definitely glad I took the chance!
There's a lot of back and forth and jumping heads but it never got confusing. While the characters were never really developed I did get a sense of their own back story and their place in the story of the plane crash. I also had no problem keeping track of whose head I was in and where I was in the story. I wasn't surprised to see that the author has been involved with a number of TV shows (including Bones) because the pacing was fantastic. It definitely kept me turning pages without feeling too frantic.
I liked that while we did get back story for all the characters I didn't feel too emotionally connected to them which meant what happened to them was tragic but not devastating for me. My heart did break for the little boy who reminded me a little too much of my own Tornado but I will say without too much explanation that by the end of the book I felt like he was going to be okay. I was also satisfied with the ending in other ways and felt like I got the answers I wanted.
I really enjoyed this one and am glad I stepped out of my usual comfort zone and picked this one up. There was a few subplots that I felt like weren't explored quite enough (especially Rachel's) I did feel like I was really getting a good feel of the people on the plane. This was a compelling read that didn't make light of the crash but didn't lapse into angst. This is definitely a good read for people who like compelling stories told in an unusual way though I don't recommend it if you or a loved one will be getting on a plane anytime soon!
Would I Read More of this Series/Author?: Absolutely! Loved the pacing and the twist of perspective. I was not surprised to see that Howley has worked with a number of television shows with all his quick changes.
Would I Recommend this Book?: I would to just about any reader. While it is a disaster story I don't think it reads like a typical disaster. If you're interested in media or public reactions or just interesting characters I think you'd enjoy this book.