BEFORE THE FALL by Noah Hawley

When the New York Times calls this one of the year's best suspense novels, you know you are in for a really good, and it does not disappoint one little bit. The author is an American screenwriter, best known for the Fargo TV series, as well as a successful novelist. This is novel number five, no prizes for guessing what his next screenwriting project may be, and it will be perfect.

What a ripper of a novel. Eleven people board a private jet at Martha's Vineyard for the short hop back to New York one night. Three of the people are crew, one is a struggling artist, one is a body guard to a wealthy media mogul, his wife, and two young children, the remaining two a Wall St investor and his wife. Sixteen minutes after takeoff, the plane crashes into the sea, the only survivors being the artist, Scott, and the boy, JJ, who in an epic swim against the odds make it to land. Then the media circus begins.

Immediately an air crash investigator is called in, and the FBI is also drawn into the mix, firstly to find the downed aeroplane, then to hopefully discover what happened. There are red herrings galore as the back stories of each of the people on board the flight are revealed. The media mogul for example, has made a lot of enemies with his FoxNews style channel, and the investor is about to be indicted for fraud. What about the flight crew? How lily white are they? And really, why is Scott on board? Was he having an affair with the media man's wife? His presence and survival on the flight places him in a most suspicious light?

This is a cracking good read, well drawn characters, the reveal when it comes is unexpected, but also highly plausible. Gripping and realistic.

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