On any given weeknight, imagine hanging out with your wife and kids, catching up over dinner preparations. The television plays in the background, the evening programming interrupted by Breaking News that you barely notice: another horrific shooting in a public venue several states away; a world away from the cozy kitchen where you're stealing a rare moment to relax with your family.
A knock at the front door: Secret Service agents. You need to come in for questioning. That story on the news you've been ignoring? It's now your personal nightmare: a popular presidential candidate has been assassinated and it's your oldest son who has been caught on video pulling the trigger.
So begins Noah Hawley's debut novel "The Good Father" that, from beginning to end, left this reader breathless. The protagonist Dr. Paul Allen could be any parent: he's the Chief of Rheumatology at Columbia Presbyterian, living an average life in Westport, CT, with his second wife and their twin boys. Years before, he'd split with his first wife when his son Daniel was 7 years old, and moved to the East Coast to pursue his career.
Paul felt that he did his best raising Daniel long distance, the boy shuttling back and forth across the country for vacations and holidays, even coming to live with his father for a time in his early teens. Their relationship wasn't close, but Daniel was a good kid: polite, average student at a decent college, and knew that he was loved by both of his parents. So what went so horribly wrong? Is it possible that his friendly, easygoing son was capable of murder?
The story alternates between Paul's journey to learn who his son was in the months leading up to the assassination and Daniel's own viewpoint. How well do we know our children when they become adults? When someone commits a heinous crime, are the parents to blame? "The Good Father" is an emotional page-turner that will not disappoint.
Recommended by Priscilla Garvin