Cover Image: A Good Father

A Good Father

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Member Reviews

What a compelling read right from the beginning! I loved the nonlinear timeline. I loved the first person. My eyes were wide as I read because I just had to see what happened next! Absolutely loved Catherine Talbot’s writing and I can’t wait to read more!!!  5 big stars from me!!!
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I love books like this, great read well written, addictive and gripping, had me from the start, fully recommend
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Thank you for the opportunity to read this ARC - I feel that the start to this book was quite promising, however for me it didn’t live up its expectations. It was ok, a fairly easy read, although quite depressing. It wasn’t for me but I am sure it will be popular for someone else.
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I am so pleased that I was given the opportunity to read A Good Father, a début psychological thriller that exceeded my expectations!

With its bewitching and captivating opening sentence, the story slowly gathered pace and I loved the tension in the plotline. It tells the story of Des, his wife Jenny, and their children. Des is an unfulfilled life insurance salesman, but it is a steady job; he is a good husband and father and helps out at his sons' under-elevens football team. Jenny is an artist in her forties who works with wood and also sketches but earns very little. A Good Father tracks Des’s increasingly controlling behaviour and descent into meanness, jealousy, rage and murder.

Full of disturbing moments and totally addictive, it held my attention from the very first chapter. Set in Killiney, a coastal suburb of Dublin, Des is the narrator and the chapters set in the present (2017) alternate with chapters set in the 1990s when Des met and married Jenny. As far as Jenny is concerned, Des is a loving and attentive man who adores and supports her.

As a narrator, Des is extremely unreliable and Catherine Talbot's clever writing meant I didn't want to put this book down. The story evolves slowly, the suspense gradually building, bringing with it palpable tension and immense feelings of apprehension and dread, as well as a looming threat of violence.

This cracking story was very well executed by the author, with an explosive conclusion. I shall be looking out for Catherine Talbot's next offering as she clearly has talent. Filled with drama, I recommend A Good Father as a hugely worthwhile and excellent read.

I received a complimentary copy of this novel at my request from Penguin Books via NetGalley. This review is my own unbiased opinion.
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This is a brilliant read.
Wonderful well written plot and story line that had me engaged from the start.
Love the well fleshed out characters and found them believable.
Great suspense and found myself second guessing every thought I had continuously.
Can't wait to read what the author brings out next.
Recommend reading.

I was provided an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher.  This is my own honest voluntary review.
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This is a brilliant psychological thriller. 
The story of Des is told through two different timelines  I think this is a very well written novel. It has some good storytelling and descriptions throughout the book. The more you read the more shocked you become with Des and his behaviour. It’s difficult to see why Jenny stays with him and would have been nice to see what Jenny’s point of view was further along in the book.
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The opening line of “Before the end of summer, before the kids go back to school, I will kill my family.” held the promise of a thrilling read. Des, the narrator, goes to great lengths to show the outside world he is a good father to his three children and devoted husband to Jenny. However the dark thoughts he has and his true feelings towards his family are far from good. 

The book is dual timeframe, switching from present day and the period when Des first met Jenny.

I found this quite a slow read but I was keen to discover what happened to the characters, given the opening line. 

I’d be interested to see what the author has in store for her next novel.

Thanks to Penguin Books UK and NetGalley for the review copy.
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Our narrator is Des, a man masquerading as a good father and devoted husband to his artist wife, Jenny. The opening lines of the book, however, tell us all we need to know about his true feelings:

 ‘Before the end of summer, before the kids go back to school, I will kill my family.’

Des claims to be unsure of how best to protect his family and preserve their innocence in a modern world.  In reality, he creates a narrative to justify the abuse of his family, his volatile temper and his increasing anger and bitterness towards his mundane life. We are shown flashbacks to the beginning of his relationship with Jenny in an attempt to help us better understand his current situation; instead it serves as an insight into the systemic abuse that Jenny has suffered at the hands of her husband. 

Since Des is our storyteller, it is hard to enjoy this book. I started to get Jack Torrance from The Shining vibes from Des in the beginning – the flashbacks to historic episodes of violence coupled with the slow burning anger. By the middle of A Good Father, Des is a watered down version of Jack, but to be inside his mind as he tells his story is a very unpleasant place indeed.
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God this was a chilling read, knowing what Des was going to do was awful and the way he wrote about it so matter of fact was worse 🙈 I really liked it though and thought it was a really good book, thrilling and chilling and very dark, just how I like them 😉
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My thanks to NetGalley and publisher Penguin Books UK for the electronic copy of this book.

A Good Father is the debut novel by Catherine Talbot - it is a rather chilling psychological thriller.

The narrative takes the reader into the mind of Des - his thoughts and feelings;  how he wants to appear to others and knowing that he has to restrain his real thoughts.  He's a failed artist and becomes besotted with Jenny, herself an artist and does everything he thinks he should do to win her over, whilst his true thoughts and feelings - expressed only to himself - are the complete opposite.  He hates his job, thinks he could do better but never quite achieves it.  All the things he told himself he loved about Jenny gradually become resentments especially when Jenny wants to maintain a friendship with her ex boyfriend Jerome.  Envy, jealousy and hatred ensue, building gradually over their 8 year marriage. and culminating in murder.  The deterioration in their marriage mirrors the deterioration of Des's mind - and a very, very disturbed mind it is.

There really is only one character to this novel - Des.  Jenny just seems to float around in the background oblivious to her family and comes across as a weak, self-centered individual.  All Des wants to be is a good father but his insane fear of losing his family drives him over the edge.

Not a comfortable read, but one does feel absolutely compelled to keep reading it.  You know from the very beginning what the ending is going to be, but it was a fascinating read of the journey taken to get there.
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A very depressing book defining everything apart from a perfect husband. I found Des to be a person who suffered from childhood as having insecurities and demanding control. As a father he does not seem to want his children around him and it is almost as if resents them. In defence his marriage is totally unconventional and the relationship between husband and wife is virtually non existent as well. I did not enjoy reading this and wanted to give up many times.
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Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for this ARC

This book was not what i was expecting, bestseller kind of vibe but i enjoyed it none the less
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The ending of this book isn't what I expected. Despite the ominous first sentence I was hoping that Des, the protagonist and narrator, would not have to resort to carrying out his plan. If anything, the storyline is depressing as it seems to glorify violence against loved ones. There is not one bit of redemption in the characters portrayed.

The title itself belies the true character of the narrator. He claims to be a good husband and father but his actions speak otherwise. Could a more appropriate title be used instead?

It isn't a good read to be honest. The fact that I finished reading it even surprised me. I guess the main reason was that I wanted to find out if Des was serious in carrying his plan. As I said, I was hoping not. The ending was a letdown.

I was given an advanced reader copy by Netgalley and the publisher, and am leaving this review voluntarily.
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This book is beyond disturbing and I feel unsettled having finished it. Beginning with the chilling: “By the end of next summer, before the kids go back to school, I will kill my family” I had to know what happened. Was this someone looking back on what they'd done, or predicting? Des feels he is a good father - he does the housework, the cooking and looks after the children, and protects his wife Jenny, an artist. After all, he knows what's right. The story is told in two timelines, when a young Des and Jenny meet in the 1990s, and then in 2017, the present day where they are married with three young children. Des is coach of his sons' football team and takes this very seriously - as he does with everything. he knows how things should be. If we were reading this from Jenny's perspective we'd see an abusive husband, both physically and mentally. To read it from Des's perspective is truly chilling. We see his mind justifying whatever he does. We also have glimpses of a violent younger life and see that Des has been troubled all his life. I found myself wishing his mother had taken this seriously and got him help. Or that Jenny had insisted when she saw that he was prone to jealousy and controlling rages.  Very disturbing. #netgalley #agoodfather
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A Good Father by Catherine Talbot is narrated from the perspective of self proclaimed good father Des. The story is told using a dual timeline which I found to be interesting because it contrasted the beginning of the relationship with how it is in the end. I like how the story is separated by into different headings such as Jenny, some place special and Slap. I found this to be helpful because it gave me a little insight into what the section was about. 

I found the majority of the book to be the delusion ramblings of a jealous, narcissistic, gutless, wife bashing piece of crap. I liked Jenny and I was rooting for but I wish she was given the opportunity to have fought a lot harder.

I still can’t get over how even at the end of the book he still thought that he was a good person. In my opinion the ending was total crap but in actual fact it was pretty good (annoying but good).

I recieved an advanced copy for free, and this is my honest opinion.
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I can honestly say that this book is like nothing I've ever read before.

Des is, in his own words, a good father. He also considers himself to be a good husband and an all round good man. However, life doesn't seem to be working out as he envisioned it, and he is thinking of doing the unthinkable. No-one seems to appreciate the sacrifices he makes to have the perfect family - so why can't they be just that?

Told in the first person, this is the story of Des's adult life now and from the time he met his wife. It is an absolutely honest, bare bones account of everything that happens and how it affects Des's thoughts and actions. This is a dark, sombre read and not one to be tackled if you're on a downer, trust me, but it's strangely compelling and I just had to find out what happened. Did I like Des? Not particularly - but his self-belief that he is always right in everything he says and does is gob-smacking.  A riveting read and one which I'm not sure I can (yet) say that I loved, but rather one that I HAD to read, if that makes sense? If you begin this novel, be prepared to stick with it until the very end - I can't imagine not following through! An utterly compelling read, very different from others by this author and earning four stars from me.

My thanks to the publisher for my copy via NetGalley; this is - as always - my honest, original and unbiased review.
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A Good Father is a twisted psychological thriller about a family man who is seemingly teetering on the edge of sanity. It begins with a rather ominous statement — “By the end of next summer, before the kids go back to school, I will kill my family.” Des likes people to believe that he is an unabashed family man who loves his wife, Jenny, and children unconditionally, but when you slowly peel away the carefully constructed layers making up his facade what lies beneath is an embittered, broken and abusive narcissist. Told in two timelines — 1995, the time the couple first encountered one another and 2017, when they have been together as a family for decades but with each passing month the family unit disintegrates more and more. Forty-something Des works as a life insurance salesmen but finds it deeply unfulfilling but it pay the bills and Jenny is a sculptor who is very involved in the local art scene but her art brings in little to no money, which Des finds himself beginning to resent. To the outside world Des seems like the perfect parent and dotes on his three kids — Joey, Mickey and Maeve. He volunteers at his sons' under-elevens football team and even carries out most of the household chores. But it isn't long before the cracks in the veneer begin to show and horrendous daily abuse becomes the norm. 

Embarrassing and tormenting his wife and kids, as his mental health continues to take a nosedive, his ever-loving family bear the brunt of his new-found rage, paranoia, obsession, jealousy, abuse and unrelenting need to control those around him. Will Des end up killing those he's supposed to love unconditionally, and if so what exactly will make him snap? This is one of the darkest, most disturbing yet most realistic thrillers featuring domestic abuse that I've read in a long time and having suffered from a parent with manipulative, controlling and narcissistic behaviour I can honestly say this was so well researched that it brought back memories. There is no redemption in this story it's just horror upon horror and the twists come thick and fast. Neither Des nor Jenny were likeable main characters and Des is more aptly described as detestable. There were red flags present in their relationship from the very beginning that Jenny chose to ignore and this is the life she lived due to that bad decision. It's emotional and heartbreaking but you are compelled to read on despite being thoroughly uncomfortable at the increasingly unhinged behaviour. A captivating but brutal and powerful exploration of mental health, fractured family life and the legacy of abuse, A Good Father reaches an explosive, chilling and saddening conclusion.
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With the book beginning with: “By the end of next summer, before the kids go back to school, I will kill my family” I was keen to find out if it actually happened. 
Des is a nasty and controlling man. The book has chapters from the present day and also chapters from back in the 90s to show how his relationship with his wife, Jenny, began.
Because Des is so controlling I’d have liked some chapters from Jenny’s point of view to see how Des and his moods affected her. 
As a character Des is really unpleasant, and whilst the book is pretty dark at times, I had to keep reading to see how it ended. 
This is a slow burner but overall a good read. 
Thanks to Penguin Books (UK) and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this book.
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Catherine Talbot has written a novel which starts peacefully enough and by the end the tension has tied the reader into excruciatingly enjoyable knots. Des is a good father, a good husband, a good man...but is he? This is the key question in this brilliant suspense filled novel and to find out you are DEFINITELY going to have to read the book, believe me it will be an investment in time and money that you will never regret. Ideal for fans of Jo Spain and psychological suspense fiction, very highly recommended.
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I found the concept of this book unique and the first line had me gripped immediately. Unfortunately, I very quickly lost interest and found myself skim reading to try to reach a point where something interesting happened, but eventually I had to give up and sadly wasn't able to finish the book. It was narrated entirely from Des' point of view and focussed on mundane details a lot, which I found became boring and repetitive very quickly.  

Overall, I found this book to be disappointing. The concept had potential but the execution really wasn't to my taste.
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