A Thousand Steps

A Thousand Steps
A Thousand Steps by T. Jefferson Parker

Monday, September 26, 2016

Before the Fall by Noah Hawley- Feature and Review


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.



Before the FallBefore the Fall by Noah Hawley
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Before the Fall by Noah Hawley is a 2016 Grand Central publication.

This is a very original novel, atmospheric and mysterious, multi-layered and suspenseful, but is also a scathing look at the media, which is clever, but caustically, woven into the story.

When a passenger plane, carrying nine adults and two children, crashes in the ocean, the only survivors are Scott, an artist, and a last minute addition to the flight, and J.J. the son of a prominent media mogul. Scott saves the child, miraculously swimming to shore, thus becoming a media sensation and labeled a hero.

The author introduces us to each passenger on the plane via flashbacks, while we watch the FBI try to determine the cause of the crash. On a more poignant note, we look on as poor, orphaned, J.J. is sent to live with his aunt and the adjustments she must make, and how Scott suddenly finds himself a media darling, and also the object of much scrutiny by the FBI and others who are chomping at the bit to make him a scapegoat, examining every tiny inch of his life, hoping to dig up any dirt they can find.

Determining the cause of a plane crash is always tedious, and leaves us all feeling disquieted and concerned. Was it mechanical? Pilot error? Was there an altercation during the flight? An act of terrorism? The search for remains and wreckage is harrowing and very tense, as well as emotional.

I enjoyed this story, and all the various insights into human nature, the various walks of life each person involved came from, their way of dealing with the cards they were dealt. It’s an interesting juxtaposition, which makes this novel more than just a mystery or crime drama, but perhaps it falls more into a literary position, as well.

I can’t say too much more, but I can say I really loved the last bit, even if the story ended too abruptly.

Overall, this is a very compelling mystery, is sad, emotional, but also has it’s uplifting moments, which, despite the horrible expose’ on the dark side of humanity, gives one hope, knowing there are good people out there, and hopefully those characters will inspire a little something in all of us.





Noah Hawley is an Emmy, Golden Globe, PEN, Critics' Choice, and Peabody Award-winning author, screenwriter, and producer. He has published four novels and penned the script for the feature film Lies and Alibis. He created, executive produced, and served as showrunner for ABC's My Generation and The Unusuals and was a writer and producer on the hit series Bones. Hawley is currently executive producer, writer, and showrunner on FX's award-winning series, Fargo.

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