Before the Fall by Noah Hawley
Before the Fall is excellent. Mr. Hawley is obviously a very accomplished and professional writer and this work proves it. I smashed through the last part of the book in 90 anxious minutes, staying up much too late to find out what happened. Those are the best kind of books, right?

The story starts off with the crash of a private jet where several people die and only a quiet, struggling painter (who really should never have been on the plane in the first place . . . ) and a 4 yr old boy survive. Who were the others on the plane? What were their connections to each other and the outside world? Where were the possible motives, explanations, volatile backgrounds? These questions and more are answered as the writer weaves together everyone’s stories, expertly mixing real time events and flashbacks.

The book reads like a popular, brilliantly made TV series or long movie. I think I read somewhere the TV and/or movie rights are sold already, so we will surely be seeing it somewhere soon. This may seem like a turnoff, but it’s actually not - the show-style writing is part of why Before the Fall is so great. We have all these real to life, highly intriguing characters desperately trying to put their lives back together after this tragedy. And the finger of blame constantly hovers over the crash investigation, searching for a spot to fall. Will it point to Scott, the seemingly hero painter, or to some outside force? The mystery builds very slowly and steadily until the final truth is simultaneously revealed to the government officials working the crash, to Scott and the whole world, and to us readers as well.

It’s this end, which is clearly subject to much debate here in the Amazon reviews, that really grips you. Mr. Hawley whips back and forth between two settings, constantly ratcheting up the tension, before unveiling all, and you can clearly picture every bit of the drama playing out on the big or small screen. I will admit the final close of the book does chop off a little abruptly, which makes it seem like he was aiming for the kind of show finale everyone talks about the next day. For me though, since this is a book, and you therefore always have the time and space you need, I would have preferred an epilogue or one more chapter to put a little more satisfying wrap on a few things. However, I realize the world is not always put together in nice little packages. And, in fact, you are faced with this truth quite often while reading this fine novel.

I definitely recommend this one for adults who like thoughtful, intriguing crime and mystery books. Of course it’s especially great for those who enjoy Fargo, Bones, or any similar show such as these for which Mr. Hawley has written. There is some foul language in the book (not a lot, which was nice) and a few bits of strong sexual content. If you start this novel, and find it a bit slow, be sure to keep swimming and fight for the tense, exciting end. Only then will you know exactly what happened . . . Before the Fall. (Yep, I went there. Deal.)

Happy Reading!

(I received an ARC of this book, free from the publisher, after requesting it via a promotional email. I have provided an honest review.)