The Good Father

  • by Noah Hawley
  • Narrated by Bruce Turk, Arthur Morey, Ryan Gesell
  • 12 hrs and 32 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

The Good Father is an intense, psychological novel about one doctor's suspense-filled quest to unlock the mind of a suspected political assassin: his 20-year-old son.
As the Chief of Rheumatology at Columbia Presbyterian, Dr. Paul Allen's specialty is diagnosing patients with conflicting symptoms, patients other doctors have given up on. He lives a contented life in Westport with his second wife and their twin sons - hard won after a failed marriage earlier in his career that produced a son named Daniel.
In the harrowing opening scene of this provocative and affecting novel, Dr. Allen is home with his family when a televised news report announces that the Democratic candidate for president has been shot at a rally, and Daniel is caught on video as the assassin.
Daniel Allen has always been a good kid - a decent student, popular - but, as a child of divorce, used to shuttling back and forth between parents, he is also something of a drifter. Which may be why, at the age of nineteen, he quietly drops out of Vassar and begins an aimless journey across the United States, during which he sheds his former skin and eventually even changes his name to Carter Allen Cash.
Told alternately from the point of view of the guilt-ridden, determined father and his meandering, ruminative son, The Good Father is a powerfully emotional page-turner that keeps one guessing until the very end. This is an absorbing and honest novel about the responsibilities - and limitations - of being a parent and our capacity to provide our children with unconditional love in the face of an unthinkable situation.


What the Critics Say

“The father of a man who assassinates a presidential candidate tries to make sense of his son’s crime in Hawley’s gripping new novel.…With great skill, Hawley renders Dr. Allen’s treacherous emotional geography, from his shock and guilt to his growing sense that he knows far less about his son than he thought.…Hawley’s complicated protagonist is a fully fathomed and beautifully realized character whose emotional growth never slows a narrative that races toward a satisfying and touching conclusion.” (Publishers Weekly)
The Good Father is hypnotic and haunting and I lost all track of time when I was reading it. Suddenly the day had become night and still I was engrossed in one father’s poignant story and Noah Hawley’s mesmeric tales of a long litany of assassins.” (Chris Bohjalian, author of The Night Strangers, The Double Bind, and Secrets of Eden)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful


Noah Hawley examines the emotional trauma that twists the lives of family and friends when the unimaginable, if not the impossible, becomes reality. How does a father and mother retain their balance when their child’s face flashes on the screen in a breaking news report as the primary suspect of a possible terrorist attack on a presidential candidate.

Hawley develops his story with sensitivity and compassion within the larger reality of the civil and moral society in which we must live. In addition to the emotional journey which explores the questions of Could he? Did he? and WHY?, political assassinations in the modern world are reviewed.

For parents, the inevitable question becomes a dark shadow. What did I do wrong as a parent? Is this my fault. The author’s development of the process of examining the determined clinging to denial keeps the reader in suspense. There is a hint at another question to be pondered. When does the parent’s continued pursuit of grasping at straws in the name of saving my child become finding a way to exonerate the parent. The book has suspense and tragedy and raises questions of morality in families, politics and society.
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- Betty "Elderly (1932), retired university professor, degrees in engineering and economics."

Not what I expected

Too much time spent on previous assassin/attempted assassins. I wasn't looking for a history lesson. A bit of a disappointment.
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- Marijane

Book Details

  • Release Date: 03-20-2012
  • Publisher: Random House Audio