The Good Son

( 31 )

Overview

New York Times bestselling author Michael Gruber, a member of "the elite ranks of those who can both chill the blood and challenge the mind" (The Denver Post), delivers a taut, multilayered, riveting novel of suspense

Somewhere in Pakistan, Sonia Laghari and eight fellow members of a symposium on peace are being held captive by armed terrorists. Sonia, a deeply religious woman as well as a Jungian psychologist, has become the de facto leader of the kidnapped group. While her son...

See more details below
Available through our Marketplace sellers.
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (81) from $1.99   
  • New (7) from $1.99   
  • Used (74) from $1.99   
Close
Sort by
Page 1 of 1
Showing All
Note: Marketplace items are not eligible for any BN.com coupons and promotions
$1.99
Seller since 2010

Feedback rating:

(768)

Condition:

New — never opened or used in original packaging.

Like New — packaging may have been opened. A "Like New" item is suitable to give as a gift.

Very Good — may have minor signs of wear on packaging but item works perfectly and has no damage.

Good — item is in good condition but packaging may have signs of shelf wear/aging or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Acceptable — item is in working order but may show signs of wear such as scratches or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Used — An item that has been opened and may show signs of wear. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Refurbished — A used item that has been renewed or updated and verified to be in proper working condition. Not necessarily completed by the original manufacturer.

New
*~*~ Brand New, Mint Condition. Never Previously Owned.*~*~ Ships Immediately *~*~ Hassle-Free Refunds If you Aren't Fully Satisfied ~*~*

Ships from: Deer Park, NY

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
$2.99
Seller since 2014

Feedback rating:

(20)

Condition: New
Excellent Buy!!!

Ships from: Pleasant View, TN

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
$5.00
Seller since 2005

Feedback rating:

(223)

Condition: New
2010 Hard cover New in new dust jacket. Book is New! Glued binding. Paper over boards. With dust jacket. 383 p. Audience: General/trade. (W6A)

Ships from: WEST ISLIP, NY

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
$6.72
Seller since 2014

Feedback rating:

(11)

Condition: New
2010-05-11 Hardcover, DJ 1st Edition 1st Printing New in New jacket Brand New! Gift Quality! ....100% Satisfaction Guaranteed! ...Ready To Ship With Tracking From Florida Within ... 1 Business Day! ...All Items Packaged With Cardboard/Bubble Wrap. Read more Show Less

Ships from: Bradenton, FL

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
$9.94
Seller since 2006

Feedback rating:

(58)

Condition: New
Hardcover New 0805091289 Used book in very good condition. May have issue # and/or names on book or inside cover but in very good condition. Used items may or may not include ... CDs, InfoTrac, etc. Items ship within 24 hours. FREE tracking! Please ask about expedited shipping! Read more Show Less

Ships from: Foley, AL

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
$13.98
Seller since 2008

Feedback rating:

(280)

Condition: New
0805091289 New item in stock, may show minimal wear from storage. No remainder mark. I ship daily and provide tracking! 100% Money Back Guarantee!

Ships from: FORT MYERS, FL

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
$13.98
Seller since 2014

Feedback rating:

(3)

Condition: New
Hardcover New 0805091289 New item in stock, may show minimal wear from storage. No remainder mark. I ship daily and provide tracking! 100% Money Back Guarantee!

Ships from: LEHIGH ACRES, FL

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
Page 1 of 1
Showing All
Close
Sort by
The Good Son: A Novel

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook - First Edition)
$9.99
BN.com price
This digital version does not exactly match the physical book displayed here.

Overview

New York Times bestselling author Michael Gruber, a member of "the elite ranks of those who can both chill the blood and challenge the mind" (The Denver Post), delivers a taut, multilayered, riveting novel of suspense

Somewhere in Pakistan, Sonia Laghari and eight fellow members of a symposium on peace are being held captive by armed terrorists. Sonia, a deeply religious woman as well as a Jungian psychologist, has become the de facto leader of the kidnapped group. While her son Theo, an ex-Delta soldier, uses his military connections to find and free the victims, Sonia tries to keep them all alive by working her way into the kidnappers' psyches and interpreting their dreams. With her knowledge of their language, her familiarity with their religion, and her Jungian training, Sonia confounds her captors with her insights and beliefs. Meanwhile, when the kidnappers decide to kill their captives, one by one, in retaliation for perceived crimes against their country, Theo races against the clock to try and save their lives.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Patrick Anderson
Gruber's seventh novel, The Good Son, is perhaps his most ambitious…[he] serves up a slam-bang ending that involves a nuclear weapon, a gun battle, a plot to blow up Saudi oil terminals and many surprises.
—The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly
Bestseller Gruber (Forgery of Venus) explores America's political involvement in South Asia and the bloody religious and ethnic fanaticism associated with the region in his superb seventh novel. Sonia Laghari, a Pakistani-American writer and psychologist, sets up a conference on peace in Kashmir, “the most terrorist-infested place on earth,” only to have her and her small group of pacifists abducted and held captive by terrorists, who may or may not be manufacturing nuclear weapons. All but doomed to a public beheading, Sonia uses her familiarity with Islamic doctrine as well as her knowledge of Jungian psychology in an attempt to enlighten her deeply conflicted captors. Though the numerous bombshells at the end may strain credulity, the brilliant character development and labyrinthine plot line, not to mention the absorbing history of modern jihadism and the U.S. war on terrorism, make this a provocative thriller that readers won't soon forget. (May)
Library Journal
Gruber (The Book of Air and Shadows) has established an enviable reputation as a writer who both challenges readers' minds and stirs up their blood. His latest high-stakes thriller—good from start to finish—will enhance this reputation. In Pakistan, a band of jihadists kidnaps nine members of an international peace symposium; among those captured is psychologist Sonia Laghari, who has a long, complicated involvement in Pakistan and the rest of the Muslim world. She uses Jungian insights and her faith to build fragile bridges to the jihadists, trying to persuade them to confront their violent choices. Meanwhile, her soldier son races to save her. He plots with well-placed relatives in Pakistan to trick the Americans into sending in troops, while a hotshot analyst with the NSA tries to convince her superiors they're being hoaxed. The three narratives converge in an unexpected and satisfying climax. VERDICT There are many surprises in this excellent thriller, including its ability to inform. It should appeal broadly to lovers of spy stories and action novels in general. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 1/10.]—David Keymer, Modesto, CA
Kirkus Reviews
A son reconnects with his past as he goes to astonishing lengths to save his mother from the radicals who have kidnapped her. When terrorists in Pakistan snatch the participants in a peace symposium, one of the people they grab is Sonia Laghari. They quickly learn that she is no ordinary hostage. On one hand, Sonia's quite a prize. She's been wanted for decades in the Islamic world, ever since she went on the hajj disguised as a man, violating Islamic law along the way. On the other hand, Sonia's not the sort of person to quietly do as her captors command, and with the skills she's learned from her childhood in the circus, her Jungian training and her propensity for using quotes from the Koran against her captors, she has plenty of unusual tools on hand to cause problems. Perhaps the most dangerous thing Sonia has going for her, though, is the fact that her son is the legendary Kakay Ghazan, a famous mujahideen who once, as a young boy, single-handedly captured a Russian base during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. But now the proud Pashtun warrior Kakay Ghazan is Theo Bailey, an American citizen and ex-Delta who serves on a top-secret U.S. military team. When Theo figures out there probably won't be an official mission to rescue his mother and the rest of the symposium participants, he decides to do whatever it takes to get her out. Meanwhile, back in the States, a young translator on her way up begins to suspect something fishy is going on with all the cell-phone intercepts they've been catching lately, wherein radical Islamists are uncharacteristically bold about discussing a nuclear device they seem to have gotten their hands on. Gruber (The Forgery of Venus, 2008, etc.) weavesthe threads together masterfully while successfully exploring themes of family, duty, loyalty, cultural identity and more, without ever slowing the momentum. Smart, tense and vastly entertaining.
From the Publisher
"This is a thriller, but also a novel of the mind—I learned more about the radical mindset in these 320 pages than in all the political punditry I've read or watched in the last five years. Highly recommended."—Stephen King

"… The brilliant character development and the labyrinthine plot line, not to mention the absorbing history of modern jihadism and the U.S. war on terrorism, make this a provocative thriller that readers won’t soon forget."—PW (Starred)

"Is there anything Gruber can’t write about? In this richly layered tale,… there are twists and tension aplenty—ideas, too. If only governments were half as interested in the psychology of violence, maybe war itself might become a work of fiction."—Booklist (Starred)

"Gruber… weaves threads together masterfully while successfully exploring themes of family, duty, loyalty, cultural identity and more, without ever slowing the momentum. Smart, tense and vastly entertaining."—Kirkus

"The Good Son, by Michael Gruber, is one of those few and far between complex, intelligent, and insightful thrillers. The main character, Theo Bailey, is a Special Operations soldier who decides to take a more-or-less unauthorized leave from the Army to locate his mother, Jungian psychotherapist Sonia Bailey Laghari, who’s disappeared near Kashmir. Sonia, who’d become a practicing Muslim when she married a Pakistani, was in South Asia to convene a symposium on "Conflict Resolution on the Subcontinent: A Therapeutic Approach" with a group of fellow pacifists. Ironically—given the title of the symposium—she and her fellow participants, who include an American billionaire, a Jesuit priest, and a Quaker couple, are kidnapped by terrorists, who may or may not have nuclear weapons at their disposal. Unless Theo can figure out what’s going on and how to foil the terrorists’ plans, his mother is doomed. At worst, the terrorists will use the nuclear devices; at best, Sonia and the rest will die by beheading. Because you’re immediately sucked into the intricate and page-turning plot, this is a good novel for a long plane flight; but readers who are looking for a thriller with a strong philosophical subtext—the sort of novel that makes you think about families, loyalty, religion, and politics—will find just what they’re looking for in Gruber’s finest novel to date." —Nancy Pearl, Booklust

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780805091281
  • Publisher: Holt, Henry & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 5/11/2010
  • Pages: 400
  • Product dimensions: 6.52 (w) x 9.60 (h) x 1.25 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael Gruber, author of New York Times bestseller The Book of Air and Shadows, The Forgery of Venus, Night of the Jaguar, Tropic of Night, and Valley of Bones, has a Ph.D. in marine sciences and began freelance writing while working in Washington, D.C. as a policy analyst and speech writer. Since 1990, he has been a full-time writer. He is married and lives in Seattle, Washington.

Biography

Michael Gruber, in his own words:

I was born and raised in New York City, and educated in its public schools. I went to Columbia, earning a B.A. in English literature. After college I did editorial work at various small magazines in New York, and then went back to school at City College and got the equivalent of a second B.A., in biology.

After that I went to the University of Miami and got an M.A. in marine biology. In 1968-69, I was in the Army as a medic.

In 1973, I received my Ph.D. marine sciences, for a study of octopus behavior. Then I was a chef at several Miami restaurants. Then I was a hippie traveling around in a bus and working as a roadie for various rock groups. Then I worked for the county manager of Metropolitan Dade County, as an analyst. Then I was director of planning for the county department of human resources.

I went to Washington, D.C., in 1977, and worked in the Carter White House, Office of Science and Technology Policy. Then I worked in the Environmental Protection Agency as a policy analyst and also as the speechwriter for the administrator. I started writing freelance at that time, and shortly after being promoted to the Senior Executive Service of the U.S., I left Washington and settled in Seattle. I worked for a while for the state land commissioner, but since 1988 I have been a full-time writer.

I am married, with three grown children and an extremely large dog.

Good To Know

Some interesting anecdotes from our interview with Gruber:

"My first job was writing copy for Classics Comics, which was the best job I ever had. Reducing Tolstoy to thought balloons!"

"I did my Ph.D. on the relation between moray eels and octopuses. As a result of this work, I am one of the few people who have been bitten by both a moray eel and an octopus. Being bitten by a moray is much like catching your finger in a car door. Being bitten by an octopus is like being snakebit. Your arm swells up and turns black."

"I was once a member of a traveling commune called the Hog Farm. I was the cook on one of the buses. My roadkill dumplings were famous throughout the mobile counterculture. I once made eggs Benedict for 14 hippies on the banks of the Rio Grande. Aside from that my life has been fairly dull and no fun at all."

"I have no hobbies. The only thing I do with my time is reading, writing, and research. I walk my dog. I occasionally dig in the garden, but we have a gardener and this tends to upset her. I never unwind, except I get drunk with a bunch of journalists every Friday. Every Wednesday I teach snippets of Catholic theology to people who wish to join the Church."

Read More Show Less
    1. Hometown:
      Seattle, Washington
    1. Date of Birth:
      October 1, 1940
    2. Place of Birth:
      New York, New York
    1. Education:
      B.A., Columbia University, 1961; Ph.D., University of Miami, 1973
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt

The Good Son

A Novel
By Gruber, Michael

Henry Holt and Co.

Copyright © 2010 Gruber, Michael
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780805091281

1

The phone rang at a little before one in the morning and I knew it was my mother. I didn't even have to look at the number there on the little cell- phone screen, I just said, "Mom."

Next to me, my not- really- girlfriend, Gloria, heaved over and jammed a pillow on her head and said nasty stuff about people calling in the middle of the night. I ignored this and added, "Anything wrong?"

My mother said, "No, of course not. Why do you always ask that when I call you?"

"Because that's what people do when they get a call at one A.M. You forgot about the time zones again."

"I didn't forget. I thought soldiers always rose at dawn."

"When they're on duty," I said, "which I'm not. I'm at Gloria's place. What's up?" "I'm at Heathrow on a plane for Zurich. I'll be gone for a couple of weeks. Could you tell your father?" "Why don't you tell him yourself ? I think they still have phone ser vice in the District of Columbia." "Please, Theo. If I call him we'll get into a big argument, and I don't need that just now." "Because you're going to Zurich for a few weeks? Why should he object to that?" "Because I'm not going to Zurich. I'm just changing planes there. I'm going to Lahore."

That stopped me; sweat popped on my arms where they stuck out of the quilt. I said, "Lahore? Mom, you can't go to Lahore. There's a fatwa out on you. You can't go to the Muslim world anymore."

"Oh, don't be silly! In any case, I'll be traveling on my Pakistani passport; no one will bother S. B. Laghari, the Pakistani begum, the professor's wife, in a proper head scarf. Besides, I'm not going to Iran. It was a Shi'a fatwa anyway. No one is going to pay any attention to it in Pakistan."

"You know, that's right," I said. "Only thirty million Shi'a in Pakistan and the ayatollahs are right next door and Sunnis and Shi'as have been killing each other in Punjab for the last twenty years and there's a heavily armed Shi'a militant group based in Lahore.... Are you fucking out of your mind?"

"Please don't speak to me like that, Theo," she said, after a pause. "It's unseemly. I'm your mother."

I felt my face flush. She was right. The army messes with your manners. I said, "Look, could you just, like, think about this like a rational person? Why don't I get on a plane, we'll sit down, we'll talk "

"Darling, there's nothing to talk about. I'm going. I'll be back before you know it."

"No, this is insane!" I shouted into the tiny perforations. "How can you do stuff like this to me? You've always done it and you're still doing it. For God's sake, I'm wounded! I'm your wounded son. You're supposed to be here, taking care of me, not going to Lahore."

This was disgraceful, I knew, pathetic, but it was one of my buttons. Unfortunately, my mother has guilt handles the size of a little girl's earrings. She said, "Well, if you'll recall, I did come to your side when you got back. But it was made perfectly clear that I was in the way."

Not true, although what she meant was that she was not up to much in the nurturing department. My father is the main nurturer in our family, and she knows it and it makes her feel bad.

"I have to go," my mother said. "They're closing up the plane. I'll call you from Lahore. Remember to call Farid."

I was still trying to talk her out of it when she said a firm good- bye and I was listening to the ether.

I cursed in a couple of languages, and this brought Gloria into full wakefulness. She sat up, rubbed her eyes, and smoothed her long hair away from her face. She said, "That's the one problem with the cell phone, in my opinion. You bring some bozo home with you and he can talk to other women when he's actually lying in bed with you. Which one was that?"

"It was my mother, Gloria." "That might be even worse. Why does she call you in the middle of the night?" "She was calling from London. My mother is a famous world traveler who doesn't get the whole time- zone thing."

"And this is why you started screaming?"

I told her why.

"So what? She's a grown- up. Why shouldn't she go to Lahore? Where is Lahore anyway?" "It's in the Punjab. In Pakistan." "That's where you're from." "Originally." She'd propped herself up on one elbow and she had that look, her

pumping-for-information look, on her smooth, tan, flat face, with that hair hanging loose and thick on either side. Maybe you have to grow up in a Muslim country to understand the erotic appeal of long black hair. It still knocked me out to see American women just walk through the streets with their hair hanging down for anybody to see, a little fossil of my upbringing. Especially this kind of hair, Asian hair, thick, glossy, blue- black, although Gloria is a Latina and not from where I'm from.

I said to the look, "It's a long story."

"You say that a lot," she said. "Mr. Mysterious. If you think that makes you more, like, attractive, you're wrong."

"You're delving, Gloria. I thought we were going to keep it simple and shallow."

"Asking about your mom isn't delving. Delving is who did you go out with and what did you do with them? Or, you know, what you did in the war."

"You want to know this? It's interesting to you?"

"Yeah. We have to talk about something. I told you about my folks, my brother, and all that shit, so you tell me about yours. It's what normal people do. We can't have sex all the time."

I snaked my hand under the quilt. "We could try," I said.

She moved her legs to make a space for my hand. "Yes, but tell me: Why can't she go back to Pakistan?"

"Okay," I said, and suppressed a sigh. "My mother is Sonia Bailey."

"Who?"

"She used to be pretty famous back in the seventies. When I was about three she left me in Lahore and traveled through what was then Soviet Central Asia, disguised as a Muslim boy. She wrote a book about it that got a lot of play, especially from the feminists. Then she hung around Lahore for a few more years, and when I was ten she went off again, but this time she went on the haj, the pilgrimage to Mecca."

"Also as a boy?"

"Yeah, and that was the problem. She polluted the holy places with her transvestism. The Muslim world went crazy. Death sentences got issued."

"Like that guy, what's-his- name?"

"Salman Rushdie, but this was way before that."

"And nobody found out she was a woman?"

"No, not until she wrote a book about it. She's small and wiry, like me."

"No tits, huh?"

"Pretty flat. Narrow hips, too. And she had an artificial dick."

"Seriously?"

"Uh- huh. She had it made in Lahore. She could pee through it, so when the guys saw that, it closed the deal; she was one of the boys."

"Did she take you along on that trip?"

"No, she left me again," I said and I didn't want to talk about it anymore then so I got to stroking her in the way she liked, which she'd already told me about. Gloria is good with the details. She lives a very controlled life, and after a few minutes of this she said, "Jump on me, quick," and I did.

After we finished, she popped immediately out of bed. I always thought women liked to cuddle after that's their favorite part, is what I understood but not Gloria. She was getting ready for her early shift. I heard a shower going for what couldn't have been more than ninety seconds and got strobelike sightings of brown skin and sensible underwear, and there she was in her pink scrubs with her long hair coiled and pinned into a shining black bun.

She leaned over a quick kiss and said, "Toss the key through the mailbox; don't forget, okay?"

I said I wouldn't and she was gone in a flash of pink. A minute later I heard the sound of her old beater starting up, and off she rattled.

Gloria is a nurse at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, in the north end of Washington, D.C., where I'm being treated, and she was a soldier too, once, and is now a civilian employee. She is the child of Mexican immigrants and a big striver, which I am definitely not. I am what they call a lifer; I will probably be in the military my whole life. When your average troop says this, it means twenty- and- out or thirty- and- out, retire on the pension, maybe get another job, and have a pretty nice life what with the benefits and all but I will probably get killed, considering what I do, so I will really be in the army my whole life.

I fell asleep and awoke at dawn like a good soldier. Then I took a lot longer than a ninety- second shower and helped myself to some of Gloria's coffee and cereal. The milk was bad, so I ate the cereal dry, washed down with the coffee, which was some store brand I never heard of. Gloria doesn't spend freely. She has a plan, which she explained to me on our first date. She was working two shifts a day, seven days a week, and going to school on top of that, so she could become a nurse- anesthetist, and really rake in the money, and she thought that in ten years of doing this she would have enough to finance medical school. She also explained, on the same first date, that she wasn't after a regular boyfriend, she just wanted someone nice who was out of town a lot and wouldn't try to control or otherwise fuck up her life, which, as I say, she had all planned out.

I was planned too, so that was cool. How I hooked up with her was I go for physical therapy three times a week at Walter and a while ago, on one of those days, Brenda Crabbe, my PT, had handed me a piece of paper with a phone number on it and said that Gloria Espinosa wanted to meet me. I asked her who she was and why me, and she said, "Half the doctors in this place been trying to get into that girl's pants for a year and she won't have anything to do with them. This is your lucky day, Sergeant." She had no idea why, she said; she said, "It can't be your face."

So I called the number and we arranged for a date and I got cleaned up and drove my rental to her house, which was in Riggs Park, a section of D.C. I had not been in before. Hamilton Street, where she lived, was rows of two- story brick buildings that someone built for people who needed a roof and could pay but who didn't have much of a choice. Her building had a sagging metal awning in front and a pile of plastic lawn furniture under it, designed so that the people who lived there would have a place to sit when the Washington summers made it impossible to stay inside. That was before AC and TV; the furniture looked like nobody had used it in a while.

She opened the door and she was beautiful: the cheekbones, those plush lips, and a curved nose with all kinds of character. She was smaller than me, which was nice, because I am not a large man, and she had a neat figure- eight kind of body, which appealed to my Middle Eastern tastes, that and the hair. And she gave me a beer, a National Bohemian, as a matter of fact, and I thought she was being funny, because Natty Bo is the beer soldiers in the Washington area drink by the case to get drunk, because it's really, really cheap.

So we had a beer each and talked, or she talked mainly, and she gave me the plan; she had to be careful about dating because she absolutely could not get involved, not seriously involved, with anyone. It was a little like being interviewed. She was looking intensely at me, to see if I was maybe concealing a guy who would give a shit, and I told her that was fine with me; I just wanted someone to go to a movie with and I didn't want to get involved either.

She said, "You're career- oriented too?" I said, "In a manner of speaking. I'll probably get killed, and I don't think it's fair to saddle a family with that."

Her eyes got wide when I said this and she asked me what I did in the army and I was going to use the lame one I could tell you but then I'd have to kill you but she was not the kind of woman to be put off with that so I said what I was allowed to, which was some bullshit about long- range scouting.

"That's why you're working with Brenda. You got hurt in Iraq."

"No, Afghanistan," I said, our first lie. I'd known the woman for twenty minutes, so this was something of a personal best.

I'm in an organization called the Tactical Intelligence Support Detachment, which is its name just now. It's had a lot of names, but what it's been doing for the last twenty years or so is going into various places and gathering military intelligence, mostly what they call comint, which is eavesdropping on telecommunications but also just looking around and getting the feel of a place that the army might want to go into. Running agents too. The unit has three kinds of troops in general: knob turners who get the signals or what ever, spooks who gather the humint from live local types, and shooters, people who make sure the others don't get caught doing it. Sometimes rarely the shooters are ordered to commit some other form of necessary violence. I'm a shooter. The army is officially not supposed to do stuff like this. It's covert operation, which is supposed to be the domain of the CIA. But the CIA doesn't belong to the military, it does not salute and say hoo- ah when the army wants something from it, so the army decided it wanted its own little CIA, which is us.

Obviously, we've been busy since this whole terrorism thing started, although not as busy as we could've been. One thing a general hates is risk. The way they got all those stars is by not taking a risk and not ever getting a bad grade on their report cards, so when they get up there in the Pentagon the last thing they want is a bunch of cowboys in disguises slipping into some supposedly friendly country and listening to guys plotting bombings or, even worse, taking the guys out, as they say, extrajudicially. What if someone got caught: scandal, questions in Congress and the media? So half our missions get scratched, but the one I got hurt on didn't.

As it happens, I'm fluent in Dari and Pashto and Urdu, languages spoken in Afghanistan and the tribal areas of Pakistan, which was where this abortion actually went down. The target was a guy named Hamid al- Libiya, a comrade of Mr. bin Laden, who was tracked via comint from his dwelling place in Waziristan to Riyadh in Saudi, where he apparently picked up some funds from our wonderful allies there and went back to Waziristan. I guess al- Q has learned by now that they can't just send messages via sat phones because we're all over that, and they don't have broadband cable yet in Waziristan, so in order for the bad guys to keep their operations together they have to travel from time to time. They can't seem to stop using cell phones, though, so that's how we triangulated in on Mr. al- Libiya, who was in a place called Baggan, which was all Taliban all the time.

I was with two other guys, and we were posing as militants, armed to the teeth and so forth; we had beards and we smelled right and we blended right in; we had our own house and everything. After a day or so, we observed the arrival of several tinted- glass SUVs during the day, and from our house the knob turners are picking up intercepts of the subject's cell phone, and they learn he's meeting with a couple of senior Taliban commanders. So we got set to run in there that night and snatch the bunch of them.

We ran into a little problem, which is really part of a big problem. Okay, the army hates Special Ops, but it's like the bad girl on the block; they know she's bad but they can't keep their hands off her. So instead of being a self- contained operation there's levels of sign- off on every mission, which tends to compromise our security and slow things down; also, when we actually get clearance to go in, everyone in the area wants to be involved in this real exciting stuff and get part of the credit, if any. For this thing, they gave us a reinforced platoon of Special Forces guys, under a Captain Lepinski, who were supposed to hover in the area and provide backup and extraction in case we got into trouble.

We actually didn't get into trouble. Everything was going okay; we snatched up our insurgents and a little firefight broke out, nothing we couldn't handle, but Captain Lepinski got his signals crossed and the fuckhead painted the house with his laser target designator, and an F-16 loitering way up high dropped a 250 kg GBU- 12 bomb on it. The explosion caught me and Billy Olin going out the door and killed eighteen people inside including women and children. Ritten house died too.

It could've been worse for me, I guess. My left leg was broken in three places and my right shoulder was smashed up some and my right wrist was cracked. Fred Rice and Buck Claiborne and the LT came running back and dragged me and Billy and Steve's body out of there, not that I was personally aware of anything at the time.

We got air- evacuated to a hospital, first in Afghanistan and then in Germany. They covered the whole thing up per usual, because as a unit we don't exist, and the story that surfaced was internecine fighting between insurgent factions, and the Pakistanis lied too because they never admit that the U.S. has boots on the ground in Pakistan even though we do all the time. No one said a word about the blue- on- blue shit.

None of which I told to Gloria then, and she didn't press me for war stories she probably got her fill at work so we chatted and drank our beers and I asked her if she wanted to go out for something, drinks, a movie, a club, but she surprised the hell out of me by saying, "No, why don't we stay here and have sex?"

I have to say that I have not had much experience with regular women. I was too young in Pakistan and I grew up in the middle of a war surrounded by men. Then I was in jail and then in the army. There are plenty of women available around army bases, and not only whores; there is a particular kind of woman who is a groupie of the elite formations, they like being around lethality and hard bodies, and a small number are interested in marrying someone with a short life expectancy and G.I. insurance.

I'd been with groupies enough, and lots of fun too, but we all regarded them as a kind of gym equipment. Maybe they felt that way themselves, I don't know. Anyway, I'd never had a direct invitation like this and it threw me; what was the catch? I asked her, why me? and she said she liked my look, I had what she called the wolf look; I was a loner basically and so was she, and she said she used to stand in the doorway of the PT suite and watch Brenda torture me and also she would get a whiff of my sweat and she liked it; she thought it was chemistry. Which I guess it was, but confusing a little, American women being so much like boys are where I come from and not like women in that country at all. So that was our first date, and it became a couple- of- times- a-week deal, always the same.

•

After I left Gloria's I drove to the PT clinic at Walter Reed Army Medical Center for my date with Brenda Crabbe. I'm renting a junker while I'm in D.C. I don't care what I drive, unlike many of my comrades; that's another thing I didn't get growing up, the whole American you- are- what-you- drive thing. I get in, it goes, I get out, and I could care less what it looks like.

It's strange, driving in the real world again. You never get your cherry back; I mean, except for the odd drunk, driving long distances in the U.S. is pretty safe. But I still keep my foot on the brake most of the time and my eyes are scanning like a motherfucker, looking for death on wheels. Like just this morning driving up Georgia Avenue a woman in a Dodge van swung out of a side road and cut me off and I practically ran off the road, and what I was thinking was that if someone had done that in Iraq the grunt on the fifty cal above me would've trashed her and her little van, probably killed her and six kids. It happens all the time over there and no one even slows down.

And I look at the neat rows of houses here and imagine them with their fronts blown out and all the domestic shit exposed: the TV and the couch, dishes, letters, and photographs all strewn like leaves in the fall; also, I can hardly look at my fellow citizens, like in a mall or on the street, without imagining them lying in blood, nicely dressed bureaucrats or businesswomen, reading their Posts, with their clothes blown off, no legs, a long streamer of guts running down the street and people stepping daintily over it.

They tell us that we're over there so it won't happen here. High strategy is not in my job description, but you know, when you come back, you kind of secretly want your fellow citizens to get blown up a little; we don't admit it but it's true. How the fuck can they be so I don't know, normal, like in a dream of shopping and careers and ordinary daily bullshit, while what's going on over there is going on?

Brenda gave me a big smile when I showed up at her station. She spends all her time with guys who are resentful and bitter because their bodies are fucked up beyond repair, and I try to ease the tension some by a little flirting through the pain, although she is a large powerful woman and plain as a manhole cover.

So for an hour I lit up her life and she made me wish I was dead, and afterward I had some lunch in the cafeteria and walked over to Building 18, where they had Billy Olin. This is one of the crappy old buildings where they keep soldiers who are too busted up to fight but who the army hasn't got around to kicking out yet. Peeling paint, black moldy walls, really decrepit; they were supposed to fix all this up but they haven't got around to it yet. Personally, I'm not surprised or shocked. This is how the army is. What surprises me more is that people think they'll get anything different from an organization whose main purpose is to kill people and whose leaders are easily distinguishable from Mother Teresa.

There's a couple of squashed water bugs on the floor of Billy's room and he's sitting in his wheelchair watching an animal show on a portable TV. I mean the show was playing, but I couldn't tell if Olin was watching. He's got a dent in his skull now, from a chunk of debris probably, and it's hard to tell if anyone's home in there. I try to go see Billy when I come for my sessions here; I've known him for a long time and I feel bad about what happened to him. I was the senior guy so I should've been the last man out, covering his back, but I went out first. Stupid thing to think, really, a bomb like that goes off and it's more or less random what happens, but still.

It's not like we're a band of brothers or anything. There are about three hundred of us, I don't know for sure, and they arrange us in task forces for special missions, mix and match, shake and bake. Also, we're not really soldiers, we're spies, and spies have a different standard of unit cohesion and comradeship. We're not warriors either, although that's the bullshit they pass out in the kind of training people like me go through elite warriors, Special Forces, SEALs, Delta: each level more elite warrior‚Äìish than the one before, until you're so elite you can't get killed or shrunk down to a husk like this poor sucker. As it happens, I've fought with actual warriors and there's a difference. The warrior's an individual before anything else. Sure, he has a family, a clan, and a tribe, maybe even a national movement, but the main thing that drives him is personal: his honor, his fame. A soldier is a whole different thing. I take the silver solidus from the Man and I kill on command, nothing personal about it. The reason there are a lot more soldiers than warriors nowadays is that soldiers will beat warriors every time, if they're well led and paid on time. This whole warrior thing is a sick fantasy to protect guys who've grown up secure in the burbs from realizing what business they're in. I could give a shit, myself. I've been killing people since I was nine years old; it's the only thing I'm really good at. And like I say, I'm not even much of a soldier anymore, given the outfit I'm in.

I didn't even know if Billy knew I was there, but like I always do I pulled up a chair and talked to him awhile. I talked about what was on my mind, which was mainly about my mother and the crazy thing she was doing. I guess I really didn't think he could hear me, because this is a subject I would never bring up with the people I work with. As far as anyone knows, my life began at age eighteen when I enlisted. People ask where I'm from, I say D.C.: my mother's a writer, my father's a college professor. How come you know all those languages? I tell them I grew up bilingual in Urdu, and that Dari and Pashto are related languages I picked up as a kid on visits to relatives. A little exotic, yeah, but I'm not that forthcoming, I don't expand, I don't share those amusing family anecdotes that people seem to have, especially in the South, where so many of our troops come from. It's not a big deal because most of what you talk about in military circles besides the strictly professional stuff is sports, fucking, and the shit the army pulls. I'm not known as a conversationalist, which is sort of okay in my part of the ser vice. An advantage, in fact.

So I went on about my mom, how she was traveling to Lahore from Zurich, probably on PIA. A good airline and it helps get her into her Muslim head. She'd be traveling as a Pakistani, in the full costume and the head scarf, and she'd ask to be seated next to a woman, which of course they oblige if they possibly can. She flies business nowadays; she's got the money and she's paid her dues. She'll fly east over the hot dry lands she crossed years ago, on foot, in rattletrap buses, and in trucks loaded with oranges or wailing sheep, back when she was a man, a rubber dick strapped to her crotch.

Billy made no response when I got to this part, which kind of convinced me he was somewhere I couldn't get to, although you do hear about guys in his condition who pop out of it years later having heard every word people said when they were in the vegetable state. I told him, just for background, as it were, that in 1979 she decided that she wanted to go on the haj. I didn't have to explain to Billy what the haj was because he's done the cultural sensitivity course too, just like me, although I didn't need it. She went on haj not by plane direct to Mecca the way people do nowadays but overland and by coastal sailing ship, like they used to in the olden days. That's why she went as a man. And when she got to the holy city, she switched and saw what it was like for women too, slipping into a burqa and hanging out with the ladies.

And then she wrote a book about it and got essentially barred from the umma, the Islamic world. Infidels are prohibited from setting a toe on the sacred soil of Mecca, so that was one thing they had her on, although she always maintained she was a Muslim and would recite the Shahada at the drop of a hat, and had whole chunks of Qur'an memorized and could spout Hadith like a sheikh. So then they got on about how she'd violated the rules about the separation of the sexes, she'd shown her face outside the family, and her reply to that was since no one knew she was a woman how could she inflame the lusts of men? A fine point there, a little too fine for the ulema, because it's also haram for one sex to wear the clothes of the other, and the Iranian ayatollahs issued a fatwa against her shortly after the book took off in the States.

Our family in Pakistan said it might be a good idea if she made herself scarce for a while, maybe a century or two, until things quieted down, and Farid agreed, but despite the family's wishes he stayed married to her. So after various other catastrophic incidents they eventually moved back to D.C. and my father got his post at Georgetown, and she stayed there for a while, but she started feeling antsy in the city and pinched by the life of a faculty wife and author, so a couple of years back she got a little adobe house in the Huerfano Valley of Colorado, and she works part- time at a mental health clinic in Pueblo, probably the only Zurich- trained fully loaded Jungian therapist in the poverty zones of southern Colorado. I wonder what the meth freaks and drunk Indians she gets in there think of that. Probably that she's writing a book about them. Probably true.

I went on that way for a while. It's better talking to Billy than to the assholes at the post- traumatic stress disorder clinic I'm supposed to attend. I don't have PTSD. Civilians think PTSD is what you get when something bad happens to you. It isn't. People get scared and neurotic when something bad happens to them, or if they're in stress too long. It's a physical thing, really; the body fluids are telling you to run away, and if you get out of the stress you'll pretty much recover. For example, speaking of amusing family anecdotes, my mother has had some pretty traumatic things happen to her, but each time she pulled up her socks afterward and went on to live what most people would call a successful and interesting life, if you don't count risking her neck whenever the opportunity arises as a defect. Or the way she treated me.

Real PTSD, on the other hand, is from doing bad things to other people. It's what gives you the nightmares and sends you to the drugs and booze and makes you shoot your wife, kids, and self. Most of us aren't designed to do the kind of shit you have to do in a war zone, especially in a war zone with lots of civilians. Or even to see what you see. Little girls in embroidered dresses lying by the side of the road like dead dogs, cars full of some family that was in the wrong place and they're sitting there Dad behind the wheel, Mom holding the baby next to him, three kids in the backseat and they're all roasted meat, teeth grinning out from the char. And so on. A small number of people don't seem to get PTSD a group that includes your basic concentration camp Nazis, your gulag operators, your professional secret police torturers and obviously our own ser vice has any number of such people, of which I am one. I haven't cracked yet, is what I was explaining to Billy, and he kept quiet and listened, nodding and drooling a little.

Sometimes I think I will kill someone, my CO maybe, or my mother, or a bunch of strangers in a public place, and then kill myself, but these thoughts fade, like they belonged to someone else. I love my mother, and if anyone harmed her I would definitely kill whoever. I have been through a lot of hard shit, but I believe I have a solid base and maybe, if you have that, nothing life throws at you can really touch you in your core; there'll always be a magic circle you can hide inside. My mom always said that, and looking back I think I had it in the house of my grandfather, Bashir Bilal Muhammad Laghari, in Lahore, where I spent the first nine years of my life.

I ran down after a while, said good- bye to Billy, and went over to the pharmacy. I was waiting for my pain pills, when something on a sign they had there reminded me it was a Thursday. Thursday is a big deal in Lahore, as in most Muslim places, kind of like Saturday night is for the infidels, party time, and that got me thinking about Thursdays at the Laghari house, my grandfather's haveli, as they call it, on Bhatti Street near the Urdu Bazaar in Anarkali, in Lahore. Most Thursdays he would hold a mehfil, a gathering of his friends, who were the cream of Lahore society across all political factions. B. B. Laghari Sahib, Baba as we called him in the family, was a judge and a legal scholar. A more or less honest judge in a society where corruption is the national sport, he was respected by both the Sharifs and the Bhuttos, the major clan factions in Pakistani life, and his Thursdays were one of the few places where the warring tribes could meet in a halfway civilized way. I felt a little bad about not recalling what the day was. If you grow up in a religion your interior clock is geared to the holy days and the cycle of the festivals, but I don't practice Islam much anymore.

What they mainly did at the mehfil was listen to people sing ghazals in Urdu, to the music of the sitar, the surbahar, the sarangi, and the tabla Indian versions of the guitar, bass, cello, and drums. Ghazals are all about heartbreak and longing, feelings familiar to me from an early age. My colleagues have country music and I have the ghazals. I often sing them to myself, and sometimes to girls. Laghari Sahib entertained most of the famous ghazal singers of the day, people like Muhdi Hassan and Ghulam Ali, which would be like us having Madonna or Pavarotti to a private party. I started getting invited to these things when I was around seven, along with my foster cousins and Wazir, my best friend, who was the son of my grandfather's Pashtun bodyguard. While my contemporaries were watching Bullwinkle, I was listening to geniuses sing the poetry of Háfiz and Ghalib.

So that was a kind of base, that house full of beauty and love and the most amazing generosity. It was unheard of in the social circles the Lagharis moved in for a man like Baba to take in a waif, a woman like a wild fox, my mother, and let his oldest son marry her, and love their half- breed child, me. And look what I did with it! As I walk out of the pharmacy clutching my dope, there in my head Ghalib is singing:

I am neither the flower of song, nor the tapestry of music, But the sound of my own breaking.



Continues...

Excerpted from The Good Son by Gruber, Michael Copyright © 2010 by Gruber, Michael. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Read More Show Less

Reading Group Guide

New York Times bestselling author Michael Gruber, a member of "the elite ranks of those who can both chill the blood and challenge the mind" (The Denver Post), delivers a taut, multilayered, riveting novel of suspense

Somewhere in Pakistan, Sonia Laghari and eight fellow members of a symposium on peace are being held captive by armed terrorists. Sonia, a deeply religious woman as well as a Jungian psychologist, has become the de facto leader of the kidnapped group. While her son Theo, an ex-Delta soldier, uses his military connections to find and free the victims, Sonia tries to keep them all alive by working her way into the kidnappers' psyches and interpreting their dreams. With her knowledge of their language, her familiarity with their religion, and her Jungian training, Sonia confounds her captors with her insights and beliefs. Meanwhile, when the kidnappers decide to kill their captives, one by one, in retaliation for perceived crimes against their country, Theo races against the clock to try and save their lives.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 31 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(12)

4 Star

(7)

3 Star

(7)

2 Star

(4)

1 Star

(1)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 31 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 18, 2010

    Wow! I loved this book.

    The book captrured me from page one. If Gruber's grasp of Muslim culture, particularly that found in Afghanistan is as solid as his observations about current American culture -- I learned a lot. While hardly a research or academic look at colliding cultures, it is very thought provoking.

    The book centers around unlikely characters: a bi-cultural, military-elite guy and an unbelievably gifted lady translator-linguist. I didn't care much about those two, because I was entranced with the third main character. She was a lady of many worlds: American poverty and abuse, Muslim privilege and wealth,'cowboy' adventure and travel; and topped by the intellectual capacity to synthesize the Catholic faith, Muslim culture and Jungian analysis. She was appealing through her faults and her strengths create an unbelievable heroine.

    I can't quite put my finger on why I feel so satisfied after reading this book. It is an entertaining and provocative novel. It is worth a second read just to absorb the beautiful poetry again!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 21, 2013

    An awesome page-turner - an international spy vs. spy thriller w

    An awesome page-turner - an international spy vs. spy thriller with multi-layered insight into diverse cultures! Well-developed characters, with brutality and violence that definitely fit the plot, more realistic than sensational. Well-done, I want to read more from this author. 

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 17, 2013

    Wonderful suspenseful contemporary story

    This book was recommended to me by a friend who had read a Stephen King review of it. It does entertain and teach at the same time and the language is lyrical. You might need an up to date dictionary to catch why Gruber uses some of the words.

    There are spots that you can tell were edited and it can be a detriment to the story because it changes into a formulaic spy novel towards the last quarter. However, don't let that stop you.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 17, 2012

    Excellent read!

    Excellent read!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 14, 2012

    Increadible Book

    I loved this book so much I gave several away as gifts. Intelligent, unique, creative, nothing else out there like M. Gruber's books. Can't wait for his next book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 22, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    A good book for fans of military fiction

    A son and mother at odds, never quite connecting. The mother, Sonia, is a Jungian-trained therapist and finds herself kidnapped in Pakistan as part of a group. The son, Theo, is a military soldier determined to rescue his mother at any cost.

    I liked this book within the first few paragraphs. I found the writing style to be very comfortable. However there are moments of startlingly brutal truth.

    One drawback was that there were moments when I would get lost in the technical military mumbo jumbo. I'm more a dialogue kinda gal.

    The story really started to pick up, and by page 150 I was wondering where this was going to go. I felt like I was being given insights into a culture that Americans find mysterious and dangerous, and thereby quite a bit frightening.

    Something about the character of Sonia didn't sit well with me. Something about her didn't feel real. I never really felt that I "knew" her, but then again her own son didn't really know her. So I guess that made sense. Who was I to know her when her own son didn't even know her?

    I disliked most of the scenes that took place in the NSA with Cynthia. Although there were some interesting insights into what I gather was probably a pretty good representation of the inside workings of some areas of government, I found that this took me out of the "real" story. I wanted to learn more of the captive lives of the kidnapped individuals, and I wanted to delve in deeply to the lives of mother Sonia and son Theo. The internal working of the NSA were just a distraction from that.

    This was a pretty good story. I just felt that it was too superficial and technical for my tastes. I would have enjoyed it more had it delved more deeply into the inner workings, thoughts and feelings of the people involved, mainly Sonia and Theo. However this would probably be perfect for individuals who like military fiction.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 14, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Riveting Tale of Suspense

    My first experience reading Michael Gruber was without any doubt a enjoyable one.. The author has delivered a taunting, multilayered and riveting tale of suspense.

    "The Good Son' is the believable story of Sonia Bailey Laghari who while on a peace symposium in Pakistan was kidnapped along with eight other associates and held captive by armed terrorists. Sonia a highly religious and celebrated psychologist took lead of the group . With her background and her familiarity in the culture, she was able to work her way into the kidnappers' mind and interpret their dreams, at the same time trying to keep her own group in good spirits and alive throughout this tremendous ordeal. The hostages worst fear was the terrorising prospect of being killed one by one by their captors....

    When Sonia's son Theo, a professional assassin by trade, hears of the kidnapping he sets out to rescue his mother on one of the most daring plots ever undertaken, a plot that could set a new precedent in U.S. and South Asian policies...

    At the same time, Cynthia Lam, an analyst for the national Security Agency in D.C. has her attention piqued while monitoring the airways. It appears their has been a theft of Pakistani nuclear material, this further heightens the state of alarm....

    This novel is powered by the many twisted plots and action scenes throughout, and proves to be an ambitions work of fiction. The huge cast of characters have depth and portray a wide range of human behaviours: cowardice, cruelty, courage etc... The narration is brilliantly done it exploits the Westerner's perception of corruption in the politics of Central Asia ....Although some passages in the dialogue may seem to slow down the action , they simply serve to enlighten the reader on various religious beliefs and ideologies. This is a well-written and totally engrossing novel I enjoyed immensely.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 4, 2013

    Hard to get into

    Started this book over a week ago and still haven really been able to get into it. If this is a good example of Michael Grubers' work I will probably not buy another of his works.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 21, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    The Naughty Author

    No book or author has aggravated me as much as the Good Son and Michael Gruber. After 50 pages, I stopped reading, sure that I could not get into this tale unfolding in Pakistan. Then I read more about the book, saw how many people really loved it, so I continued to read and finish the book. Several times I did not like what the author was doing, but further reflection in each case won me over. This novel is nothing short of amazing. And the author's bio tells us nothing about how he could have written it, where he got the information, or how his life experiences could have led him to this novel. I suspect his bio is as fake as the resume of the good son's mother in the book. No doubt Gruber was a CIA analyst assigned to Pakistan, Afghanistan, or any of the stans. He has learned the culture, the Koran, the little ways that make their lives unique in that part of the world. He knows how to bring this world to life on the printed page in ways that astound me. But he didn't learn this from octopuses or cooking, as his bio says. And he admits to being the ghostwriter for the author Robert K.Tanenbaum. It always annoyed me that Tanenbaum claimed credit as the author when he didn't write the books. I refused to read another one of them. So you can see my frustration here. I liked and admired this book and would gladly read it again. But I do feel a bit suckered, that something is not on the surface here and we are still being misled by a young all-knowing Pashtun boy or some evil CIA programmer!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 21, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 16, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 13, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 10, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 1, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 27, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 3, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted September 23, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 27, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 3, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 16, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 31 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)