Reviewed by Melanie Kline

Dr. Paul Allen is the chief of rheumatology at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital. He lives with his second wife and twin boys and by all appearances, has a good life. One night during dinner, a news report announces that the Democratic candidate for president has been shot and Paul’s son, Danny, from his first marriage, is accused of pulling the trigger. Shortly thereafter the Secret Service shows up at his home and whisks him away for questioning and his quiet existence is changed forever.

Dr. Allen spends the majority of the book reliving the past and questioning events – trying to figure out where things went wrong. He is sure that there is no way that Danny could have been behind the shooting and is on a mission to find out what the truth is – at all costs. Unfortunately for Dr. Allen, Danny did pull the trigger and refuses to talk, answer questions or accept any help. He falls completely silent about the whole matter and is subsequently found guilty and sentenced to death row.

The Good Father visits almost every conspiracy and assassination known to mankind. From Sirhan Sirhan to John Hinckley to Timothy McVeigh and even Samuel Mudd, Dr. Allen rehashes them all in great detail – trying to find a similarity or explanation for what is happening.

About midway through the book, Danny’s perspective on things begins to show up. He dropped out of college and began traveling across the country. Things became much more interesting for me here with Danny’s various encounters and I gradually came to see the mental state that he was in when the shooting occurred.

The Good Father is not a book for everyone. The constant references between people’s actions and medical diagnoses and recalling of conspiracies became very tedious and boring. There was, however, humor to be found scattered throughout the pages and even some Mexican “dirty” words – which came complete with definitions. I personally felt that the book was overdone and redundant. It felt as though Noah Hawley believed that everyone lives in a box and has zero historical knowledge – therefore he must go through every detail so that the reader would understand his story.

Rating: ★★★☆☆ 

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Doubleday. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.