Before the Fall (★★★★☆)

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Noah Hawley  *  Grand Central Publishing  *  May 31, 2016  *  400 Pages

Advanced Reader Copy provided by Net Galley.

Before the Fall begins with a small private jet crashing into the ocean. (Reading the first few chapters, all I could think about was that first episode of Lost. And if you haven’t seen Lost, you should go jump off a bridge immediately.) Two wealthy, prominent families are on board the plane, and most everyone dies. Miraculously, though, two people live:  the young son of a media tycoon and a random, has-been painter who had zero business being on that flight in the first place. The two of them swim nearly 20 miles to land, and while the world rejoices at their against-all-odds survival, the obvious question remains:  why did that plane crash? It will take a team of investigators and a whole lot of backstory to solve that mystery.

This book reads like a John Grisham novel–and I mean that in a good way. Author Hawley knows how to write a good story, plain and simple. The plot moves along swiftly and efficiently (despite a few sluggish moments). Characters may play second fiddle to the Mystery of It All, but they are still unique, entertaining, light, and humorous, and the dialogue between them is funny, clever, and smart. After reading only the first few pages, I was desperate to know whodunnit.

Honestly, I wasn’t completely satisfied with the ending, but it still felt complete to me. I just so loved getting there. I loved being in this world. Before the Fall isn’t deep character study/high-brow fiction, but, gosh, it sure is fun. I was lost in these pages, oblivious to real life for at least a few hours–and I have to respect any author who can make me forget everything but the story so completely.

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