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review 2018-12-10 00:48
Before the Fall
Before the Fall - Noah Hawley,Robert Petkoff

Disclaimer:  I am giving this book a "Goodreads" two stars; not an "Amazon" two stars.  This is a "this was fair" two stars.


Seven passengers, one bodyguard, and three airline crew members are on a private flight from Martha's Vineyard to New York City, when the airplane crashes into the ocean.  Somehow two of the people on the airplane survive:  an artist named Scott Burroughs, and JJ, the four-year-old son of David Bateman, who runs ALC News, a cable station that appears to be a thinly veiled version of Fox News.  Against the odds, Scott is able to swim about ten miles to the shore of Montauk, Long Island, with JJ on his back, rescuing both of them.


Scott immediately becomes part of the 24-hour news cycle, with most reporters wishing to know more about the "hero" story.  Going against the grain is one of the talking heads at Bateman's network, Bill Cunningham.  Cunningham has recently come under fire for obtaining illegal recordings of various high-profile people's phone conversations, and he is not chastened.  Cunningham goes into tinfoil hat mode, insisting that his friend David was most definitely probably murdered as part of an elaborate conspiracy, and who was this Scott guy anyway, and who cares if he saved JJ Bateman's life, even dogs can be trained to save lives.  Or maybe it's because Ben Kipling, David Bateman's friend and a fellow passenger on the flight, was about to be indicted for laundering money from "non-friendly" nations.


The narrative moves back and forth in time, filling in the backstories of the various people on the plane, which also include David's wife Maggie; a former preschool teacher; their nine-year-old daughter Rachel (who had been kidnapped at age two, hence the bodyguard); Ben Kipling's wife Sarah; the Israeli bodyguard, Gil Baruch; the pilot James Melody; co-pilot Charles Busch; and flight attendant Emma Lightner.


The plot held my interest, and I wanted to find out why the airplane went down.  But once it wrapped up, it seemed the author was rushing.  When the book ended, I said out loud, "that's IT?"  It felt as though it should have had at least one more chapter.

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text 2018-04-13 21:41
Reading progress update: I've listened 100 out of 400 minutes.
Before the Fall - Noah Hawley

Seeing as my eye-strain headache is back and I had the audio-version of this, I started it today. It's about a group of very rich individuals and a struggling painter who travel on a private jet together. The plane crashes and the painter and the son of one of the rich are the only one's who survive. The story leans towards issues of inequality, apparently and as I'm very interested in that, I've been eager to get to it for a while. 

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review 2017-09-10 00:00
Before the Fall
Before the Fall - Robert Petkoff,Noah Hawley imageAudibleheadphones_icon_1

A very well written thriller that made a thrilling audio book with an excellent performance of [a:Robert Petkoff|2889695|Robert Petkoff|https://s.gr-assets.com/assets/nophoto/user/m_50x66-82093808bca726cb3249a493fbd3bd0f.png].

A plane crash. Two survivors. A four year old boy and an unknown painter who swam 8 hours in the cold Atlantic at night with a boy on his back.

Is he a hero or the reason for this crash?

How did he get on the board of the private jet with two of the most richest and powerful people of the USA? Why his name is not on the boarding list? Does he tell the truth? And what happened on the board of the machine?

Aside from the investigation and a less spectacular outcome - too fresh the memories of the Germanwings Flight 9525, google if you don't remember- the book delivers a very important massage, IMO:

Journalism was meant to be objective reporting of facts; no matter how contradictory. You didn't make the news fit the story. You simply reported the facts as they were.When hat that stopped being true?

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review 2017-09-06 00:00
Before the Fall
Before the Fall - Noah Hawley 3.5 stars rounded up

Everyone in my book club enjoyed this one. It starts off with a plane crash and the immediate aftermath. It then delves into the lives of those on the plane, chapter by chapter, as the various agencies are investigating why the plane went down. As it unfolds, suspects are eliminated and everyone gets a bit closer to the truth.

Beneath it all, our hero is just trying to get back to life without becoming caught up in the media storm, all spurred on by one slimy reporter from one of those 24 hour news stations.

There were areas where it was a bit wordy but overall an enjoyable mystery laced with plenty of social commentary on the state of news media today. I could definitely see this play out as a limited run TV show.
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review 2017-03-29 05:15
Before the Fall
Before the Fall - Noah Hawley

This book was positioned as a thriller, but it didn’t really fit into that genre for me. While it seemed a bit “ripped from the headlines”, it was written with an intelligence that belied the occasional celebrity tell-all feel. To me, it was more intriguing than gripping, but while the conclusion seemed inevitable and unsurprising, this did not really detract from the story. Hawley is terrific at crafting his wealthy characters, but I found the ordinary, flawed ones more interesting. I especially appreciated that the artist living on Martha’s Vineyard is poor and relatively unknown despite living in what would normally be considered a high-end vacation spot. Hawley is deft at contrasting the flashy tabloid news with the human side of the story, and I found just as many parts deeply moving as completely despicable.


One reviewer ranted on and on about how bad this cover is – but as a graphic designer (who frequently judges a book by its cover), I am weighing in on this one. I was attracted to the type that was at once bold and ethereal; accurately, I think, evoking the tragedy and uncertainty to come.

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