Happy July! I can’t believe the year is already halfway over! Where did the time go? Anyway, my latest review is an extra book I had put in my June Book of the Month box. I recently found Book of the Month, and I absolutely love it. If you haven’t checked it out, please do! This book was also the choice of one of my favorite reviewers, Liberty Hardy from Book Riot. I listen to her on the All the Books podcast every week and she had plenty of wonderful things to say about this novel.
Before the Fall is about a small private jet crash off of the coast of Martha’s Vineyard. There are only two survivors, a four-year-old boy and an unknown painter. The story follows these characters in the aftermath of the crash and tries to solve the mystery of what caused the crash. Hawley very carefully traces the storylines of every person on the plane, and keeps you guessing until the end.
There are a lot of interesting themes at play in this story. A big theme is the media and their response to tragedy. The father of the boy, who died in the crash, ran a news network. The big personality on the news network seems to be a dramatic take on Bill O’Reilly. We see his conspiracy fueled outrage and explotation of the victims.
I think Hawley did a great job creating such intricate and fascinating characters that come together like a puzzle to solve the mystery. I was impressed by the detail in what would often be considered minor characters, like a family security guard or the flight attendant. He makes the reader realize that everyone matters not just the rich and powerful.
There are a lot of storylines that hit a dead end, and normally that would bother me but the structure of this story seemed to work well with it. You think that a certain storyline matters to why the plane crashed but when it’s clear that it doesn’t, the story moves on. It makes the reader feel like a detective looking at each detail of the case.
I found this to be a very inquisitive, suspenseful, and satisfying read. A great summer book to take to the pool, a great mystery that will also really make you think.