The Good Father
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From the author of the New York Times bestseller Before the Fall, an intense, psychological novel about one doctor's suspense-filled quest to unlock the mind of a suspected political assassin: his twenty-year old son.
As a rheumatologist, Dr. Paul Allen's specialty is diagnosing patients other doctors have given up on. His son, Daniel Allen has always been a good kid but, as a child of divorce, he is also something of a drifter. Which may be why, at the age of nineteen, he quietly drops out of Vassar and begins an aimless journey across the United States, shedding his former skin and eventually even changing his name. One night, Paul is home with his family when a televised news report announces that the Democratic candidate for president has been shot, and Daniel is the lead suspect. Convinced of his son’s innocence Paul begins to trace his sons steps to see where Daniel, or perhaps Paul, went wrong, beginning a harrowing journey--about the responsibilities of being a parent and the capacity for unconditional love in the face of an unthinkable situation—that keeps one guessing until the very end.
Special Forces training facility. He said he’d seen Danny being driven onto the base last March. Once there, Hannover said, my son had been trained in small-weapons handling and infiltration techniques. Hannover claimed to have seen Danny six times in three months. The claim caught on with several national papers and was trumpeted on talk radio. The army denied that such a base even existed. Hannover took a polygraph, but the results were inconclusive. Then the army released Hannover’s records
going up into the clock tower and shooting people with a deer rifle. The therapist told Whitman they’d made progress and asked him to come back in a week. Whitman started self-medicating with Dexedrine. He thought it made him a better worker, but in truth it made him sloppier. He went days without sleeping, sitting at the kitchen table trying to get organized. On July 31 he bought a Bowie knife and binoculars at a surplus store and canned meat at the 7-Eleven. He picked up Kathy from work and
during a spin in the emergency room. After that there was no romance in guns anymore, no mystery. It had been three decades since I’d held one in my hand. It was heavy but balanced. I felt the wood of the grip against my palm. The air smelled of cordite and gunpowder. I thought of my son standing on a hilltop shooting cans. I pictured him on a motel-room floor, oiling the barrel of a store-bought weapon. I remembered the photo of Daniel that had been taken at Royce Hall, wild-eyed, gun in hand, a
child, my father’s death and the hole it created in my heart. I had gone to his funeral, had stood by the graveside and watched as his family and friends dropped dirt into the grave. None of it seemed real to me at the time. The grief came later, the true understanding of death, its finality. Standing in the kitchen, I thought about Alex and Wally, their awareness that Daniel had been sentenced to death, that he was stuck in prison waiting to die. By taking them to visit their brother hadn’t I
the Range Rover—tent, sleeping bags, folding chairs—and Danny and I set off for the wilderness. My father had been a lifelong camper and had, in the years before his death, taken us camping numerous times. There was something about the chill of the midnight tent and the smoky taste of a campfire that made me feel closer to him. It was a memory I cherished, and one I hoped to impart to my own son—believing foolishly that a few great experiences could outweigh the paucity of time we had spent in