The Good Son

The blurb on the cover of THE GOOD SON calls the novel “smart, entertaining, and beautifully made.” And despite the fact that the ripped-from-the-headlines summary of the book doesn’t suggest that Gruber’s latest will live up to this promise, it does.

THE GOOD SON follows the story of Sonia Bailey, a controversial Muslim writer, as she heads back to Pakistan and her in-laws to host a conference on finding peace in the Middle East through psychology. When she and her fellow conference attendees are taken hostage, her son, Theo, goes on a mission to save her.

Of course, it’s not nearly that simple, but luckily for Gruber, THE GOOD SON is much more than a story of hostages in the Middle East. He has clearly done his research, and his writing delves deep into both the culture and pyschology of the people of Pakistan.

In Theo, readers are offered a direct comparison between the culture of Pakistan and the culture of America, the mindset of a Pakistani and the mindset of an American. In Sonia and her fellow captives, we are granted insight into the theology of both Christianity and Islam; an analysis of Jungian psychology versus traditional therapy.

In Sonia’s captors, we see the militant Islam of so many news stories, but that is not to say that all of Gruber’s terrorists are by default “the bad guys.” Unlike many cookie-cutter thrillers, the lines between “the good guys” and “the bad guys” here are blurred. Both — or rather, all — sides have families, histories, stories, loves, religions, traditions, beliefs. All are well-rounded, well-developed characters, both as players in a novel and as people in their own right, a product of their environments, holding firm to a personal belief in what is right and what is not.

THE GOOD SON is a novel of subtleties, tying in terrorist threats, theology, psychology, circus history, Special Ops, nuclear weapons, dream-reading, card-dealing, family relationships, marriage and a dash of everything else for good measure. In it, Gruber has successfully taken this seemingly incongruous mix of ingredients and churned up a near-perfect thriller.

Those looking for a ripped-from-the-headlines plot will get it, but those seeking a read with more depth than a traditional thriller will be pleasantly surprised by the breadth and depth of subjects offered up here through the lens of fiction. —Kerry McHugh

Buy it at Amazon.

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1 Comment »

Comment by kathy
2011-04-13 18:53:18

Nice review! I also read and enjoyed this book. It was a different kind of thriller.

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