Gunned down

The Good Father, by Noah Hawley, Hodder & Stoughton, RRP£12.99, 320 pages

Senator Jay Seagram looks certain to become the next president of the United States. Popular, handsome and charismatic, he is just the man to unite a country riven by bitter politicking. But when he is gunned down by Daniel Allen, a disaffected youth, hope seems to die along with him.

Hawley’s slow-burn thriller is told from the perspective of the gunman’s father. Paul Allen doubts that Daniel – always a polite, gentle boy – is capable of murder, and becomes obsessed with exposing a supposed conspiracy. We begin to wonder whether he is convinced of this theory or merely trying to assuage his own feelings of guilt.

Hawley pads out his narrative with references to political violence, from John Wilkes Booth to Jared Loughner, which only serve to highlight obvious parallels that readers might have been trusted to notice for themselves. But the subtle denouement, in which Paul is finally forced to confront the truth, is beautifully done.

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