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Book Review: The Good Father by Noah Hawley


The Good Father by Noah Hawley

This is a fascinating and well-researched novel that asks as many questions as it answers. Dr Paul Allen is a highly respected doctor who is happily married for the second time with two young boys. His life is comfortable and secure – until there is a knock on the door and special agents cart him into custody to question him about Danny, the child of his first marriage, a young man who he thought was at college, but instead was travelling across America until the fateful day he is accused of assassinating a Presidential candidate.

Dr Allen is a highly analytical man, a man of fact and reason, and although his son won’t confirm or deny his actions, at first Dr Allen believes his son has been framed. As the clock ticks down towards death row and an execution, Dr Allen takes to the road and retraces his son’s steps, trying to unravel what happened, and more importantly, why? He believes his son is essentially a good person and that he is a good father. He is desperate for answers. But despite retracing his son’s last journey, examining himself and the relationship he had with his first wife, and even studying case studies of notorious killers, the answers he is looking for remain elusive.

This is a compelling and surprisingly compassionate book that explores themes that will stimulate conversation afterwards. Highly recommended for its page-turning but unsensational style.

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