Release Date: 5/31/2016
Pages: 391 pages
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Ten people step onto a plane. Eighteen minutes later the plane drops out of the sky leaving only two survivors.
And one of those survivors, artist Scott Burroughs, wasn’t supposed to be on there. Who is Scott and more importantly. . . why did a perfectly operational plane fall into the ocean?
With a structure similar to Liane Moriarty, Before The Fall starts at the beginning of the end and spirals out to explore the lives of the victims and survivors. While the book gives a generous amount of focus on the two survivors, the real strength of this novel is the short slice of life vignettes about those who don’t make it.
The main narrative focuses on Scott, a middle-aged recovering alcoholic and artist, as he tries to answer some deep questions about truth in media, class and the 24-hour news cycle as he is forced into the limelight. Ultimately Scott’s narrative came across as a way to an earnest and slowed down many of the suspense elements.
Hawley has a background in television writing and is perhaps best known for writing FX’s Fargo and story editing seasons 1-3 (what I call the best seasons) of Fox’s Bones, Hawley writes dialogue that sounds the way people speak which works well when paired with Robert Petkoff’s performance on the audiobook.