Before the Fall Audiobook by Noah Hawley (REVIEW)

Posted by on Jun 16, 2016 in Reviews | 36 comments

Review of: Before the Fall Audiobook
Noah Hawley

Reviewed by:
On June 16, 2016
Last modified:June 16, 2016


Before the Fall Audiobook

By: Noah Hawley

Narrated by: Robert Petkoff

Published by: Hachette Audio 05/31/16

Before the Fall Audiobook by Noah Hawley

4.5 stars rating

12 hrs and 59 mins

Genre: Thriller

Before the Fall Audiobook Sample

Before the Fall Audiobook

4.5 Hearts

When I was looking at a list of new release audiobooks coming out, this one caught my eye. First thing I noticed was the narrator, Robert Petkoff, who is one of my favorite narrators. So, I read the synopsis, and thought that the story sounded interesting and decided to give it a go. I’m really glad I did. Not only did I get to listen to yet another book narrated by Petkoff, I also found a great story that I probably would’ve never picked up on my own.

This is the story about how a private plane crashes down and only leaves two survivors, a starving artist type painter and a four-year-old boy, son of the man who chartered the plane. Everyone else dies. That includes the entire flight crew, a wealthy man who owns a Fox News type TV station, his wife and their daughter. This is the family of the lone surviving son. They also had a couple they were friends with. The main was a financial broker who had worked on Wall Street and was known to launder money through some less than legal countries and was under some investigations. They also had a bodyguard on board.

This story goes back and forth between past and present as we learn more about what is currently happening as everyone loads on the plane, the plane goes down and Scott, that painter, boy struggle to survive the swim to shore. There is the stay in the hospital and the media aftermath. It was interesting see how the painter’s perspective in changed by the media. He starts off as a hero who saved this young boy, only then to be scrutinized more and more. People start to question why he was on the plane in the first place. Did he have something to gain when the plane went down? They question his choices after leaving the hospital.

There are also many flashbacks into the past as we learn about each and every person on the plane. We learn that pretty much each person on that plane had a skeleton in their closet. We learn about the kidnapping of the big sister to the lone surviving boy. You would think with all the jumping back in forth from past to present and getting all the different stories about each person, that the story would be confusing, but it wasn’t. It flowed perfectly. I never once questioned if I was in the present or the past.

There is also the story of the boy, J.J. He had to not only survive this horribly traumatic event. He had to go live with his aunt, his mother’s sister. The uncle in this picture is the guy who I thought was really one of the worst characters in the book. I don’t worst, as in poorly written, but worst as in I really hated him. He takes in this poor young boy, and all he can think about is the money that this boy stands to inherit. While the aunt is trying to deal with the death of her sister and the struggle to now be in charge of this little child new never expected she would need to raise, she has a husband who is only seeing dollar signs. He doesn’t seem to understand that the money is not his, but all J.J.’s

It is not until the very end of this story that you realize exactly what happens with the plane and why it went down. I loved how the story kept me guessing up to the very end. I also loved watching how this book portrays the news media of today’s society. The way they sensationalize everything. The way they make false conclusions. Anything to keep those ratings up. I can’t help but to look at the current aspect of things in the news media and see that this part of the book is not a work of fiction, but something that is based on some real news networks that we see today.

Before the Fall Audiobook Narration

4.5 Hearts

Robert Petkoff continues to be one of my favorite narrators. While I learned to love him listening to Immortals After Dark series by Kresley Cole, where there is a ton of snark and accents that he has to manage, he handles a book like this one with just as much ease. This book doesn’t have a large number of accents, snarkiness or some of the other things that normally pull me into a narrator. Robert Petkoff really pulls me into the story and I just want to stay there and continue to listen all day. If you haven’t tried anything by him, I highly recommend you pick up a book by him. He does an amazing job with every book that I’ve listened to by him.

Author: Noah HawleyNoah Hawley is an Emmy, Golden Globe, PEN, Critics’ Choice, and Peabody Award-winning author, screenwriter, and producer. He has published four novels and penned the script for the feature film Lies and Alibis. He created, executive produced, and served as showrunner for ABC’s My Generation and The Unusuals and was a writer and producer on the hit series Bones. Hawley is currently executive producer, writer, and showrunner on FX’s award-winning series, Fargo.

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Robert Petkoff Narrator

Robert Petkoff

Narrator: Robert Petkoff

His work off-Broadway includes The New York Premiere of AVOW by Bill Davis, MRS. WARREN’S PROFESSION and MORE STATELY MANSIONS directed by Ivo Van Hove, the musical BLUE FLOWER at The Prospect Theatre Company and in 2009 he appeared in HAPPINESS at Lincoln Center, directed by Susan Stroman. Sir Peter Hall cast him in the starring role of Algernon in the national tour of THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST with Lynn Redgrave, which was produced with the Theatre Royal Bath.


I like to thank Hachette Audio for providing me with a copy of this audiobook in exchange for an honest review.

Reviewed by:

ML Simmons Reviewer

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Melanie Simmons
I’m Melanie and I live in Ohio. I have two horses and a dog. I’m an animal lover, avid book reader and audiobook listener. I like to live vicariously through fictional characters. I enjoy reading and listening to mostly fictional books in the paranormal genre, including Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance and Horror. My favorite paranormal creatures are shifters, doesn’t matter the flavor.


  1. Great review Melanie, I love listening to fave narrators in other roles too!

    • I’ve found some really great books and new authors this way. This is my second thriller/suspense that I’ve picked up because Robert Petkoff was the narrator. I’ve loved both books.

  2. The storyline sort of reminds me of LOST, with the past and present jumping back and forth to understand the current characters. I’m glad you enjoyed this one 🙂

    • I’ve never watched Lost. Stephen King’s IT does the same thing. I finished listening to it for the first time and watching the mini series again. If done right, jumping back and forth in time isn’t a problem. I haven’t read a few authors who didn’t do a good job with it. That is not the case here.

  3. You had me when you said Robert Petkoff lmao! The story itself sounds rather good too, but <333 that narrator thanks to you 😀

    • That is what sold me. Anytime I see his name, I read the blurb to see if the story sounds like something I would like. I really liked this one. 🙂

      • I think I’ll take that idea and do it to try out a few new audiobooks in the near future 🙂 Hope you have a great weekend Melanie!

  4. Met this author and got this book autographed at BEA but not gotten to it yet, so glad to hear that it’s a good one. 🙂 Never listened to this narrator but he has a nice sound. 🙂

    • I love this narrator. If you want to try another suspense book by him, try Those Who Wish Me Dead by Michael Koryta. It is also narrated by Robert Petkoff. I think you’ll really enjoy this book, Stormi.

  5. I have a copy of this book on the way. You make me even more eager to get to the bottom of the mystery here. I’ve not listened to this narrator, but now I want to snag one of his audios since you love him so much (I mean love his narration so much). 😉

    • His narration is pretty great. You could either try Immortals After Dark by Kresley Cole (though there is the first book that is narrated by a pair of people who are not him. I’ve not listened to that one. Some places list it as a #0 and some as #1). You could also try another of his suspense books, Those Who Wish Me Dead by Michael Koryta. This is another book that I picked up solely based on the narrator, not the author.

  6. I would definitely be worried that the flashbacks would keep me confused. The story sounds really dramatic and would be a great listen.

    • The way the book is written, it wasn’t confusing at all. I always knew whether I was in the past or the present. I’ve read a few other reviews and they commented on the same thing. Such a fun book.

  7. YES! I agree with one of the commenters above! The story line is JUST LIKE that of Lost (OMG, I can’t believe you’ve never watched it before!) Please do because OMG, I need someone to obsess over it with me! <3

    Lovely review, as always! 🙂

    • Thanks! Maybe one day I’ll watched Lost on Netflix or something. My TV show schedule is full right now. If I took on any more, I wouldn’t have any time for reading. LOL

  8. Oh not something I would normally pick up but you have me curious. All the flipping back and forth usually either fails spectacularly or totally wins. Glad this is the latter.

    • I agree. I’ve read a few where I didn’t know what “time zone” I was in. That is so not the case here.I hope you’ll give it a try. It wasn’t something I normally would’ve picked up either, but it was so good.

  9. I love the stories you pick up by chance and then end up loving, there is nothing like them. 😉 Wonderful review!

  10. Squeeeeell!!! You read this and gave it 4.5 stars!! I was completely on the fence about this one. I was sooooo close to giving it away to a friend, too. I am so glad I didn’t!!! Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!! I’m completely intrigued now!! 🙂

    • I really enjoyed it, Kristin. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

  11. That’s interesting this one caught your eye and had a narrator you already know and who’s one of your favorites.
    Sounds like an interesting story and the way it is told, how you see the changing view of the media and the flashbacks where you learn more about all the characters. Seems it also has a bit of a mystery/ suspense element with how you don’t fully realize what happened until the end. Great review!

    • This is not the first book that I’ve picked up solely because this narrator was reading the book. I loved the other book too. I really enjoyed this story. I’m so glad I enjoyed it.

  12. Oh I really liked this too, especially how everything unfolded. As for the comments saying it sounds like Lost … no. lol.

    • I haven’t watched Lost. I’ve seen previews off it on TV, but never really had any desire to watch it. I might give it a try one day. I know it was really popular. These people were never lost. He found land and people pretty quickly.

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