15 February 2012

The Good Father; Noah Hawley

The Good Father: A NovelThe Good Father: A Novel by Noah Hawley
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

The blurbage suggested that this was going to be like We Need to Talk About Kevin or Nineteen Minutes: how does a family cope when a child has done the unthinkable? And to some extent the plot does live up to that premise. Dr. Paul Allen's life is turned upside down when his son Daniel kills Senator Seagram, the leading Democratic presidential candidate. Of course Paul wants to believe that there's no way that Daniel could have done this - there must be a conspiracy, or his son was brainwashed, or there were others involved that his son's covering for. Right?

So part of the book is about Paul's search for "the truth", tracking down leads and compiling boxes and boxes of "evidence". Because he's a rheumatologist he's used to assessing symptoms and creating a diagnosis/care plan based on that evidence - this leads to passages where he talks about former patients and their symptoms (think House, right down to the sarcoidosis mention).

Then there's the part of the book that is told from Daniel's point of view. He'd dropped out of Vassar and rather aimlessly traveled across country, staying a few weeks here and a few months there, ultimately ending up in Los Angeles, at UCLA, with a gun shooting at the Senator. His reasons, such as they are, do come to light but the clearer picture is that there is no real reason (cue Boomtown Rats).

The reason for the two stars is that there's a lot of coverage of other famous killings. Chapters, albeit small ones, on Sirhan Sirhan and Charles Whitman and John Hinkley which dragged down the plot and didn't add to our understanding of the Why in this case.

ARC provided by publisher.

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