I thoroughly enjoyed Legion (the first season, at least) and Fargo (the first couple seasons, at least), so when I found out showrunner Noah Hawley had written a few books, I wanted to check one out to see if that talent worked on the page as well. Verdict:
The book starts with the crash of a private plane. A tiny, fancy plane leaves from Martha’s Vineyard, carrying two rich men, their wives, two children, and a painter who was friends with one of the wives. Fifteen minutes into the flight, it crashes into the Atlantic. Scott, the artist, grew up swimming. He rescues the only other survivor, a four-year-old boy, and then swims 10 miles in the freezing dark to New York City.
Then the book goes into flashback mode, telling us more about the rich man who owned the plane (he ran a Fox News style network and married a preschool teacher 20 years younger than he was – the little boy was his son), his wife, their rich neighbor who was getting ready to be indicted for money laundering, the various flight crew and bodyguards, and Scott, our hero. We also see the investigation into the plane crash, which is hampered by the blowhard anchor of the news network screaming from the rooftops about terrorism and shenanigans.
It’s all fine. It’s a bit odd what details Hawley chooses to focus on. There is a LOT of background on characters who are already dead, that doesn’t ever end up being important. There’s an entire chapter on proto-fitness guru Jack LaLanne, who inspired Scott when he was little. There are way too many women in their late 20s/early 30s who are interested in or throwing themselves at 50-something Scott. Hawley seems to be trying awfully hard with the writing, too: “She is a beautiful woman with a blunt bang haircut, like a person who makes up for driving an expensive car by never washing it.” I mean.
And the ending is a bit disappointing, sexist, and cliché. (Not anything too egregious; more in an “I am so tired of this” kind of way.) I’m glad they solved the mystery, and I did like the lead investigator, but eh. I will stick to first seasons of his shows!