Before the Fall by Noah Hawley

Eighteen minutes after takeoff a plane crashes into the Atlantic and only two people survive, a middle aged man and a four-year-old boy. As rescuers search for wreckage and bodies, an investigation into what happened is just beginning.

Narrated in the present, in interconnected chapters, we learn the back story of each of the characters and their lives up until this moment. One is a multi-millionaire media mogul, travelling with his wife and two young children, plus their Israeli bodyguard; there is the financier — also extremely wealthy — and his wife; there is the recovering alcoholic painter who is piecing his life back together. Then there is the pilot, the first officer and the flight attendant.

As the plot develops it seems that there are plenty of people with axes to grind against the passengers and that this was no random accident, a fact that the ruthlessly opportunistic anchor man on the media mogul’s populist news channel exploits to the limit.

As we know from our own current news coverage, the media loves to jump on a story and twist according to taste. This is a brilliantly sharp and intelligent thriller from the writer of the Fargo TV series. A must read book!

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