Sunday Times top thriller read of the year 2016
The rich are different. But fate is blind.
Down-on-his-luck artist Scott Burroughs would usually take the ferry back to New York from Martha's Vineyard, but he is unexpectedly offered a spare seat on the Bateman family's private jet. Then just minutes after take-off, the plane crashes into the ocean and of the eight passengers and three crew, only Scott and the Batemans' small son, JJ, are left alive.
The extraordinary nature of their survival, combined with the fact that David Bateman was CEO of a populist TV news channel, means that Scott will not be returning to anonymity. Along with the orphaned boy, he is engulfed by a maelstrom of speculation, which soon overtakes the official investigation into the tragedy.
Who else was on the plane? Was there a bomb, a missile? Who is Scott Burroughs?
As the chapters drive towards their heart-stopping conclusion, weaving with ever-increasing suspense between the shocking aftermath of the crash and the intimate backstory of each of the passengers and crew members, Noah Hawley creates a searching, thrilling novel of love, fame, wealth, art, entertainment and power.
High-class entertainment. — John Williams, Mail on Sunday
This is one of the year's best suspense novels, a mesmerizing, surprise-jammed mystery that works purely on its own, character-driven terms...Mr. Hawley has made it very, very easy to race through his book in a state of breathless suspense. — New York Times
As a pacey whodunit...this is the perfect summer read. — The Times
There are some books...that stay with you long after you've read them. The characters are so real and because of this their fates matter. Before The Fall by Noah Hawley is one of these books. — Irish Independent
An addictive thriller whose thematic richness is reminiscent of Franzen. — The Sunday Times
A searingly told, multi-layered portrait of celebrity in the modern world with a tantalising mystery at its heart...Hawley's sublime prose glows on every page in this literary thriller of the highest quality, which never loses its grip. — Daily Mail
Noah Hawley really knows how to keep a reader turning the pages, but there's more to the novel than suspense. On one hand Before the Fall is a complex, compulsively readable thrill ride of a novel. On the other, it is an exploration of the human condition, a meditation on the vagaries of human nature, the dark side of celebrity, the nature of art, the power of hope and the danger of an unchecked media. The combination is a potent, gritty thriller that exposes the high cost of news as entertainment and the randomness of fate. — New York Times Book Review
I started and finished Before the Fall in one day. That begins to tell you what kind of smart, compellingly dramatic read it is. So read it. — James Patterson
A thriller of masterful precision...Hawley meditates on celebrity, modern journalism and timeless heroism, the rich American's psyche post-9/11 and messy politics, and he does it with nuanced, precise style. This is a thriller that has brains as well as balls. — Independent
This is an unequivocally excellent book, a literary novel, a thriller, a whodunit and a meditation about life and love. Each paragraph deserves a rereading, but is too exciting to let one pause. — Literary Review
Before the Fall is a ravishing and riveting beauty of a thriller. It's also a deep exploration of desire, betrayal, creation, family, fate, mortality, and rebirth. It's one part Dennis Lehane, one part Dostoevsky. I was spellbound from first page to last; I haven't fully recovered yet. — Michael Cunningham, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Hours
Before the Fall is an astonishing, character-driven tour-de-force. The story is a multi-layered, immersive examination of truth, relationships, and our unquenchable thirst for the media's immediate explanation of unfathomable tragedy. — Karin Slaughter
This isn't just a good novel; it's a great one. I trusted no one in these pages, yet somehow cared about them all. Before the Fall brings a serrated edge to every character, every insight, and every wicked twist. — Brad Meltzer, bestselling author of The President's Shadow
He has an intuitive understanding of human behaviour and an instinctive grasp of plot that make him a master storyteller — Hannah Beckerman, Guardian
Overall, it's hard to imagine a better marriage of genre and literary fiction. — The Sunday Times, Thriller of the Month, John Dugdale
This is a brilliantly sharp and intelligent thriller. Hawley has written four previous novels. If they're anything like this I'll be reading them all. — Evening Standard
A masterly blend of mystery, suspense, tragedy, and shameful media hype...a gritty tale of a man overwhelmed by unwelcome notoriety, with a stunning, thoroughly satisfying conclusion. — Publishers Weekly starred review
Like the successful screenwriter that he is, Hawley piles on enough intrigues and plot complications to keep you hooked. — Kirkus Reviews
A compelling combination of domestic drama and conspiracy puzzler. — Mark Lawson, Guardian
[A] Literary thriller of genius. — India Knight
A suspense story full of red herrings and tension — Woman & Home
Fast, compelling, gripping — William Leith, Evening Standard
It's a compassionate, insightful novel, as rich thematically as it is narratively, compelling... Hawley explores the discord between fame and reality, and the extent to which the media distorts the truth, themes that couldn't be more relevant in Trump's America — Hannah Beckerman, Observer
Hawley combines a thriller's tight structure and addictive narrative with characterisation and thematic richness reminiscent of Jonathan Franzen — The Sunday Times, Pick of the Paperbacks