Today’sFirst Line Friday is by an author who is a favorite of mine. Still Missing is Chevy Stevens debut and it’s one you can’t put down! I re-read it last year and reviewed it here. It is a difficult read, but well worth it!
You know, Doc, you’re not the first shrink I’ve seen since I got back.
On the day she was abducted, Annie O’Sullivan, a 32-year-old realtor, had three goals—sell a house, forget about a recent argument with her mother, and be on time for dinner with her ever-patient boyfriend. The open house is slow, but when her last visitor pulls up in a van as she’s about to leave, Annie thinks it just might be her lucky day after all.
Still Missing interweaves the year Annie spent as the captive of a psychopath in a remote mountain cabin, which unfold through sessions with her psychiatrist, with a second narrative following the events after her escape—her struggle to piece her shattered life back together and the ongoing police investigation into the identity of her captor.
Still Missing is a shocking, visceral, brutal and beautifully crafted novel.
The left is the US cover and the right is the UK cover. Most of the time I prefer the UK cover to the US cover! That is the case with Before the Fall. It seems like I live in the wrong country when it comes to books!
Author: Noah Hawley
401 pages in Kindle
Published: May 31, 2016 (US) April 6, 2017 (UK)
Dates Read: March 27- April 13, 2017
My Rating: 4 Stars
Book Summary from Amazon
On a foggy summer night, eleven people–ten privileged, one down-on-his-luck painter–depart Martha’s Vineyard on a private jet headed for New York. Sixteen minutes later, the unthinkable happens: the plane plunges into the ocean. The only survivors are Scott Burroughs–the painter–and a four-year-old boy, who is now the last remaining member of an immensely wealthy and powerful media mogul’s family.
With chapters weaving between the aftermath of the crash and the backstories of the passengers and crew members–including a Wall Street titan and his wife, a Texan-born party boy just in from London, a young woman questioning her path in life, and a career pilot–the mystery surrounding the tragedy heightens. As the passengers’ intrigues unravel, odd coincidences point to a conspiracy. Was it merely by dumb chance that so many influential people perished? Or was something far more sinister at work? Events soon threaten to spiral out of control in an escalating storm of media outrage and accusations. And while Scott struggles to cope with fame that borders on notoriety, the authorities scramble to salvage the truth from the wreckage.
Amid pulse-quickening suspense, the fragile relationship between Scott and the young boy glows at the heart of this stunning novel, raising questions of fate, human nature, and the inextricable ties that bind us together.
Before the Fall focuses on a private plane crash. There were eleven individuals on what ended up being a very short flight of only 16 minutes. All but one person on the flight, Scott Burroughs, are wealthy or well known. Only Scott and JJ, a four year old boy, survive the crash.
Before the Fall has a very strong opening! I was pulled in immediately with the plane crash and Scott and JJ trying to survive in the ocean at night. It is very intense and I like Noah Hawley’s writing style. I felt like I could see everything happening as I read Before the Fall.
There are two splices of time in the novel: Before and after the crash. There are multiple points of view (POV) in the story. If you follow my reviews then you know I love books with multiple POVs! Scott is the main focus in the POVs after the crash, and with good reason. He survived and many agencies including the NTSB want to know what happened. I never wanted to stop reading when the novel focused on Scott. We see all the emotions and feelings Scott goes through, and all of his experiences with the media that a plane crash survivor may go through, both positive and negative.
You also get a feel of what the investigations are like for plane crashes. It seems like Noah Hawley did his homework. I felt I learned something reading Before the Fall.
In the flashbacks before the plane crash we get to know each of the passengers, pilot, copilot, and flight attendant that did not survive. These were interesting as well and all are important as it all comes together for us to discover the cause of the crash. I found myself still interested in these stories, but not as intensely interested as I was in Scott and JJ’s stories after the crash.
What kept me from giving Before the Fall five stars is the ending. Yes, we find out the cause of the crash, but after all the buildup the ending was anticlimactic and not satisfying for me. With everything suspected throughout the novel, I was expecting something more than what we got which was a simple yet unexpected cause. I wish I could say more, but that would involve spoiling the ending.
Despite my disappointment in the ending, Before the Fall is recommended.
**Before the Fall had been on my TBR pile for a while and I happened across it on NetGalley as a ‘Read Now’. It said preferred for UK readers as it is a new release in the UK, but NetGalley still let me read it. Thank you for my copy NetGalley![Top]
Author: Sarah J Naughton
336 pages in Kindle
Published: March 23, 2017
Dates Read: March 13-31, 2017
My Rating: 2.5 stars
Book Summary from Goodreads:
For fans of Disclaimer and I Let You Go, Tattletale is the debut psychological thriller you can’t miss.
Once upon a time, there was a little girl who believed in fairytales. Now she is out to get your happy ending.
One day changes Jody’s life forever.
She has shut herself down, haunted by her memories and unable to trust anyone. But then she meets Abe, the perfect stranger next door and suddenly life seems full of possibility and hope.
One day changes Mags’ life forever.
After years of estrangement from her family, Mags receives a shocking phone call. Her brother Abe is in hospital and no-one knows what happened to him. She meets his fiancé Jody, and gradually pieces together the ruins of the life she left behind.
But the pieces don’t quite seem to fit…
As I started Tattletale, I was pulled into it from the beginning. There is some confusion as it just takes off without explanation as to what is happening, but you figure it out as you continue reading. Once you realize who the main cast of characters is, Tattletale gets easier to follow.
The characters that you need to know are:
Abe- in the hospital
Jody- Abe’s fiancé
Mags- Abe’s sister
Mira- Abe and Jody’s neighbor
I wanted to like Tattletale. The description intrigued me but the novel just wasn’t for me. Tattletale has multiple points of view, which I enjoy and those come from Mags, Jody and Mira. Also in the chapters are flashbacks of Abe, Mags, and Jody’s lives, which are relevant to the story.
***Be warned that there are graphic scenes of child abuse and also sexual assault in this novel.
I think novels with unreliable narrators may not be for me. I have had some that I have enjoyed and others not so much. You have no idea whose side to believe in Tattletale, which I applaud Sarah J Naughton for. I sadly found myself not attached to any of the characters. Mags was not likeable at all for me, I did begin to feel some sympathy for Jody as the novel progressed, I wanted to know more about Mira and her life, but the one character I would have loved to hear about and get to know was Abe, whom unfortunately we are unable to do.
I struggled around the halfway mark but continued, but then I almost gave up with Tattletale at 82%. What kept me going was the curiosity as to what exactly happened to Abe. It was good that I decided to continue as when I reach 85% then the novel went somewhere for me. From this point on I didn’t want to put Tattletale down. It goes in a direction that I did not see coming and I had no idea what was going to happen. Things do get unbelievable and unrealistic towards the end. I can’t really say why without revealing some spoilers.
Even though Tattletale was not for me I would be willing to read another of Sarah J Naughton’s books in the future.
Thank you to NetGalley and TBConFB for my copy.[Top]