9781455561780_68236On the strength of what amounts to a full court press of coverage and to-die-for buzz, Before the Fall, Noah Hawley (Hachette/Grand Central; OverDrive Sample) is racking up impressive hold figures at many libraries we checked, soaring as high as a 23:1 ratio.

One reason for the long queues, libraries bought low even in the face of starred reviews from Booklist, Library Journal, and Publishers Weekly and even though Hawley is well-known as the force behind the popular FX adaptation of Fargo.

Glowing consumer reviews came out on the eve of publication or the day of, also suggesting the media was expecting a hit. In a NYT‘s Sunday Book Review (posted on May 30, in print on June 5), author Kristin Hannah says:

“Noah Hawley really knows how to keep a reader turning the pages, but there’s more to the novel than suspense. On one hand, Before the Fall is a complex, compulsively readable thrill ride of a novel. On the other, it is an exploration of the human condition, a meditation on the vagaries of human nature, the dark side of celebrity, the nature of art, the power of hope and the danger of an unchecked media. The combination is a potent, gritty thriller that exposes the high cost of news as entertainment and the randomness of fate.”

In their review published the day the novel hit shelves, The Washington Post says it is “superb and cleverly constructed” and “should become one of the summer’s hottest sellers.”

The day of publication, USA Today wrote: “Noah Hawley has a hit show as the award-winning creator of FX’s quirky crime drama Fargo. Now he’s eyeing the best-seller lists: Before the Fall … is poised for takeoff.”

Rounding out the praise, it is an Amazon Editors Pick as a Best of the Month, an Indie Next pick, and it made the widely-syndicated St. Louis Post-Dispatch‘s summer reading list.

So why the low order numbers at libraries? As The Wall Street Journal notes the author may be suffering from the track record of his previous titles. WSJ says: “Between 1998 and 2012, Mr. Hawley published four novels, none of which could be called a hit. At a low point, in 2008, there was The Punch, a family story that sold a mere 281 print copies in the U.S., according to Nielsen BookScan.”

But Hawley is a hot property now, following his Emmy-winning work on Fargo (he also worked on Bones).

Before The Fall sold to Sony before it was published, and Deadline Hollywood reports that Hawley “will produce the feature with John Cameron.” Publisher Grand Central, reports WSJ, “ordered an initial print run of 88,000 copies and has since reprinted an additional 16,000 copies. Foreign rights have been sold in 24 territories and counting.”

The attention continues. NPR’s Morning Edition got in on the buzz yesterday, interviewing the author.

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