Before the Fall by Noah Hawley

A private plane crashes shortly after taking off from Martha’s Vineyard.  Only two of the eleven people on board survive – a child and Scott Burroughs.  Scott was flying to New York in the hopes of turning his paintings, an outlet for his personal demons, into a source of income. Instead, he becomes a media-created hero when he saves the four-year-old son of the plane’s owner.  The NTSB’s investigator is inclined to believe Scott’s explanation for being a passenger on a mode of transportation clearly outside his financial means and social circle.  But there are many factors to consider.  The owner of the plane was a controversial public figure, another passenger was potentially involved in international money laundering, and even mechanical error cannot be ruled out until the crucial parts of the plane are located.

Meanwhile, Scott desperately avoids the media circus and tries to make sense of his life, the boy who will inherit a fortune is barely coping with the death of his parents and sister, and the cable news network keeps the story alive by floating baseless but sensational accusations.

Author Noah Hawley slowly builds tension by interspersing the fraught aftermath of the crash with back stories of each of the deceased, making the reader more and more certain that the cause of this tragedy started well ‘before the fall’.  A captivating, thought-provoking, and emotionally satisfying story ripped from the headlines and explored from all angles.

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