x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

The Good Father: an election-season crime thriller

Noah Hawley's novel finds a suburban doctor racing to clear his son's name after he is accused of gunning down a US presidential candidate.

The Good Father
Noah Hawley
Double Day
The Good Father Noah Hawley Double Day Dh40

Noah Hawley may not be a household name but the American novelist has established himself as an accomplished scriptwriter by working on Bones, the hit TV series, and his television background is apparent for all to see in The Good Father, his engaging fourth novel.

Beginning with Paul Allen, a suburban doctor, discovering that his son has been accused of gunning down a US presidential candidate, the novel hurtles along at a brisk pace as Allen races to clear his son's name. Indeed, this book rather resembles a pacey episode of a TV crime series.

Fortunately though, The Good Father does offer more than a few cheap televisual thrills as Hawley begins to explore some complex moral territory and Allen makes some frenzied attempts to exonerate his son and to quell his own growing guilt for being an absent parent.

This remorse becomes the central plot device as the whodunnit element of the set-up is gradually relegated to a secondary concern and Hawley's book transforms into a narrative of a father's attempt to defend his own failings by pushing a very private drama onto a very public stage.