A private jet takes off from Martha's Vineyard for the New York City area with a family of four aboard, plus another couple, a security guard, a crew of three, and a forty-something painter who was invited along on a kindly impulse. Eighteen minutes later the plane has crashed into Long Island Sound, killing everybody on board except for the painter, Scott Burroughs, who swims through the night with the only other survivor, a four-year-old boy, on his back. He is, of course, hailed as a hero.
There are ample reasons either of the two tycoons on the flight might have been targets. David Bateman is the head of an ultra-ultra-right-wing television news organization; Ben Kipling is an international funds manager who has fallen afoul of the SEC. As we follow the survivors, Scott and JJ, we are also allowed into the lives of the other passengers, as well as the crew. The more we learn about the passengers, the more is revealed about what motives might have existed for deliberate sabotage.
This character-driven novel is part mystery, part thriller--but somehow it all fits. Just when you think you’re getting answers for the reason behind the crash, the author switches characters on you. Hawley proves to be a master of weaving together pieces of a puzzle that he’s already solved in a way that teases the reader, so putting down the book before the reader is satisfied is simply out of the question. I really enjoyed Before the Fall, and expect it to be a huge summer hit!