Title: Vor dem Fall
Original Title: Before The Fall
Author: Noah Hawley
Published: September 2016, Germany | Mai 2016, USA
Format: Audio Book
Narrator: Matthias Koeberlin
S had downloaded but not yet read it. I had looked it up, thought it sounded good and so I checked it out.
“A private plane sits on a runway in Martha’s Vinyard, forward stairs deployed.”
The book tells the story about a plane crash and what happens to the only two survivors in the aftermath.
A private plane starts from Martha’s Vinyard. Destination NYC. On the plane, apart from the pilot, co-pilot and a flight attendant are David Bateman, the very rich and powerful owner of a huge TV news station in the USA, his wife Maggie and his two kids, daughter Rachel and son JJ and the familie’s bodyguard Gil, an Israeli. Also a friendly couple, Ben & Sarah Kipling. Ben is an also very rich businessman is in the finance business and has currently run into problems because the officials have gotten wind that he may or may not be washing money for war countries. Lastly, there’s Scott Burroughs, an unsuccessful painter who had befriended Maggie a short while ago. He was invited by her to join them on the fight when she learned that he had appointments in NYC.
15 minutes after take-off the plane crashes into the Atlantic. And the only two survivors are Scott and little JJ.
Instead of celebrating him as the brave hero that he is (or is he?), Scott finds himself in the center of all kinds of interests and investigations. Why was he even on the plane? He, the unsuccessful painter seemed a bit like the odd one out among all the rich business people. What has Ben’s money-laundry business and the FBI investigations to do with it all? And then there’s Bill Cunningham (an US reviewer said, this would be a stand-in for Bill O’Reilly, the American readers might know who he’s talking about and also get an idea of what Cunningham is like), the star anchor of David’s TV station who has a big interest in sensationalizing everything to the max because that is what draws in viewers. Who cares about the truth when spreading conspiracy theories is so much more profitable and dirty? Also, the FBI and NTSB have their own theories and everyone favors theirs.
Along with the actual plane crash and what happens in the aftermath to Scott and JJ, we learn in the single chapters about each and every passenger’s and crew member’s background, about their life and what exactly happened during the last two days or so that lead up to the crash. All that adds more to the mystery but it takes until the very end that we learn what was really behind it.
I can’t say that I’m 100% happy with the ending, but it didn’t take away from liking the book as a whole. I liked the story very much. It was not so much about the actual tragedy of the crash but a big part was looking at how the modern media machinery works and what it can do to people. How finding out the truth is not so important as making up things to draw in viewers and to satisfy an audience that craves for sensationalism. It was for me not so much a thriller but more a psychological study.
The author takes his time and the whole picture only slowly gets clearer. At times I would have wished for a slightly faster pace but overall I was very happy with that book. Except for the ending. The author was obviously inspired by some halway recent real life events and I’m not sure if I really liked that and if it wasn’t a bit… unoriginal. But that may just be me.
Matthias Koeberlin’s narration was absolutely flawless!
My rating: 4 out of 5 stars