Before The Fall was a book I kept hearing about and was dying to read. Fate led a painter, Scott, to board a private plane that crashed into the ocean only minutes after taking off. He miraculously survived and saved the life of the youngest passenger, four-year old JJ. In the aftermath of the crash, the FBI and media have serious doubts as to Scott’s story of survival which launched the novel into an array of stories to explain how the plane crashed and how Scott and JJ’s lives were impacted by the catastrophe.
The author has a way words. The writing was the best thing about this novel. There was a rhythm to each sentence that kept me intrigued with each page. Before I knew it, I had devoured this in one day! He is adept at using imagery that created a tense aura around his characters. That wording made this feel like a crime thriller even though the plot didn’t quite support that. In reflecting about this book now, I wonder why it was getting the attention it was. It does not have a stunning ending, it does not have a powerful theme, it does not allow the characters to grow, and every chapter was not needed to support the ultimate result. Yet, I still liked this.
A portion of the book was devoted to each of the eleven characters aboard to fateful voyage. Those chapters presented thin options for what happened to the plane, but they hardly made this book a mystery. Instead, the lives of the passengers made this more of a drama. However, little was described that could be understood about how their deaths would impact others, which took away a little of the effect of the crash. JJ became a four-year old multi-millionaire when his media mogul father perished. His aunt became his guardian, but her husband was a greedy man who wanted to exploit the guardianship for his own benefit. I expected there to be more drama surrounding his seedy motives.
Overall, this was entertaining while I read it, but at the end, I felt like it was sort of pointless. The cause of the crash was, for lack of a better word, stupid. I also wanted more for the characters, especially JJ.