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March 18, 2012 / Leslie

Review & Giveaway: The Good Father by Noah Hawley

The Good Father
by Noah Hawley

Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Publisher: Doubleday
Publish Date: March 20, 2012
Format: Hardback | 320 pages
Rating: 4½ of 5

Dr. Paul Allen’s idyllic life with his wife and young children is shattered when his son from a previous marriage is accused of assassinating a presidential candidate at a rally in downtown Los Angeles.

The evidence against his son, Daniel, is strong. There are witnesses, there is video and his son doesn’t deny the charges. But as a father he cannot believe his son would do such a thing. There must be some other explanation. Perhaps his son is involved in a conspiracy or is taking the blame for someone else. Whatever it is, he is going to discover the truth. But at what cost?

We alternate between the point of view of the father and the son. As we hear from each of them it soon becomes apparent that Paul didn’t know his son at all. He had no idea how a child felt when his parents were divorced and lived on opposite sides of the country. How it felt to be shipped back and forth between two homes and feeling like no one was there for you.

This is an emotional read. After the shooting, Paul is ostracized by society. Even his friends act as if what happened was a result of something he did wrong. We experience Paul’s growing feelings of guilt, his need to prove his son is innocent in spite of Daniel’s unwillingness to cooperate and finally his need to be a good father to his son. At the same time he struggles to not let his obsessive behavior ruin his relationship with his wife and children.

Interspersed between Paul and Daniel’s stories are case studies on other famous killers such as John Wilkes Booth, Sirhan Sirhan, Lynette ‘Squeaky’ Fromme, Sarah Jane Moore, and Charles Whitman to name a few. Paul spent many hours researching other assassins in an effort to understand what happened with his son. I’m not sure this added much to our understanding of Daniel, but I did find the cases fascinating and interesting reading.

This was an engaging story of a father’s determination to understand what went wrong. It is an easy read and within the first few chapters I was completely absorbed. It is a book you won’t want to put down as the suspense builds. Did Daniel act alone, and if he did, why? The ending is both touching and at the same time, satisfactory.

About the Author

Noah Hawley is an American film and television producer, screenwriter, composer, and author. He wrote and produced the television series Bones (2005-present) and also created The Unusuals (2009) and My Generation (2010). Hawley also wrote the screenplay for the film Lies and Alibis (2006) starring Steve Coogan and Rebecca Romijn.

Noah is the author of three novels including A Conspiracy of Tall Men, Other People’s Weddings and The Punch. He has a fourth novel coming out spring 2012.

Giveaway Information

The publisher has generously offered two copies for giveaway.


Leave a Comment
  1. carolee888 / Mar 18 2012 7:53 am

    This is such an interesting topic. I can’t imagine how difficult it would be for a parent to have to go through this. First, it would be so hard to believe that your son or daughter did that and then you would be left with so much guilt. You would be thinking over and over again,”What did I do wrong in my parenting.

    Thank you for the chance to win this one.


  2. Sara Kovach / Mar 18 2012 9:24 am

    This sounds great. I think that the alternating point-of-view will make it a more interesting read – especially with this particular content – a parent not believing that his son could do such a thing and then the son who does not deny the charges. I bet it is very powerful emotionally.


  3. BermudaOnion / Mar 18 2012 10:22 am

    This sounds like a very emotional read. I’d love to be entered in your great giveaway!


  4. nomadreader / Mar 18 2012 3:08 pm

    Somehow the title and this cover had me confused about what this novel is about. Your description and review, however, make me see how wrong I was. This novel sounds right up my alley. I’d love to win. Thanks!


  5. Leslie / Mar 18 2012 3:54 pm

    Comment from Mary Ann Woods:

    I think this is a book I would really enjoy reading because, not only is it an emotional read, but it also is written in the changing point of view (narrator) approach. I have found that this method lets the reader learn so much about the characters’ personalities. Thanks for reading this and for giving your readers a chance to win this book!


  6. dianne / Mar 18 2012 7:18 pm

    Sounds like a good read.


  7. Lisa Garrett / Mar 18 2012 9:59 pm

    What a topic. We cannot always control what our children do, but this would be very difficult to deal with.


  8. Carol M / Mar 19 2012 11:28 am

    This sounds really interesting. I’d like to read it. Thank you for the giveaway!


  9. Anne / Mar 19 2012 11:52 am

    thanks for this fascinating giveaway.


  10. Georgette Coan / Mar 20 2012 5:13 pm

    It sounds like an awesome book. I hope I win. Thanks for participating!


  11. Alex / Mar 21 2012 8:57 am

    I was attracted to the cover and after the first paragraphs intrigued because it didn’t *look* like a thriller at all, but after finishing your post I realize it’s not a thriller at all. Interesting that the author (or his editor?) chose to include the serial-killers’ stories without it contributing to the plot. Sounds almost gimmick-y, no?

    (I’m not in the US, so can’t participate in the give-away)


    • Leslie / Mar 21 2012 1:21 pm

      It has a bit of psychological suspense, but I wouldn’t call it a thriller. As for the little vignettes on the other killers, I suppose it was to demonstrate the father’s obsessive research.


  12. Anita Yancey / Mar 22 2012 12:00 pm

    Sounds like a very interesting book. I like that Paul is willing to stand by his son, now I would like to read the book to find out if Daniel is really guilty. Thanks for having this giveaway.


  13. puttputt1198eve / Mar 23 2012 11:55 am

    Every review I’ve read about this book has been positive and all have recommended reading it. Thanks for giving your followers a chance to win and read it!


  14. Jennifer Ryder / Mar 29 2012 10:23 am

    This sounds like a really thought-provoking book. Now I have a need to find out more!!
    jryder416 at yahoo dot com



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