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Extended Audio Sample The Good Son: A Novel Audiobook, by Michael Gruber Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (945 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Michael Gruber Narrator: Neil Shah Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: June 2011 ISBN: 9781455197507
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Somewhere in Pakistan, Sonia Laghari and eight fellow members of a symposium on peace are being held captive by armed terrorists. Laghari, 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 Laghari 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, she confounds her captors with her insights and beliefs. 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.

Combining masterful storytelling with a deeply thoughtful and provocative attention to the truth in all its permutations, The Good Son is a stellar achievement that expands the thriller genre into something wholly new and unexpected. This is a taut, multilayered, riveting novel of suspense.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Gruber leaves his own mark on the thriller scene.”

    New York Times

  • “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.”

    Washington Post

  • “Superb…The brilliant character development and labyrinthine plot line, not to mention the absorbing history of modern jihadism and the US war on terrorism, make this a provocative thriller that readers won’t soon forget.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “Gruber 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…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.”

    Library Journal

  • “Is there anything Gruber can’t write about?…one of many pleasures in The Good Son is the way Gruber confounds simple explanations…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 review)

  • “Gruber...weaves the 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 Reviews

  • A 2011 CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger Finalist

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Carolyn | 2/10/2014

    " Gruber is a writer of amazing breadth and depth. This novel focuses on the tribal cultures of Pakistan and Afghanistan with side trips into Jungian psychology and some of the secret agencies of the U.S. government. Most of the main characters have painful divided loyalties. Characterizations are beautifully done, as in all his stories. Again, Gruber shows his fascination with varieties of consciousness, including prophetic dreams, the emotional breakdown of a hostage, and the mentality of a person being tortured. There are many surprising twists here, and a satisfying ending. I regret that there are no more of Gruber's novels for me to read. I've enjoyed every one of them and look forward to a new one planned for 2012. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nate | 2/8/2014

    " Excellent book; complex characters; fascinating situations. I think of Gruber as writing "anthropological thrillers" and this one is no exception with a learned and erudite examination of the nature of religious violence and the cultural clash between East and West. As it typical of Gruber, there are lots of situations essentially set up so the characters can have those great conversations about Big and Meaningful Things. I've read all of Gruber's adult books now and would only rank this below "Tropic of Night" and "Forgery of Venus." Highly recommended. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Joy | 2/4/2014

    " "A richly layered tale...the absorbing history of modern jihadism and teh U.S. war on terrorism...". I thought this was going to be a light read but it turned out to be quite interesting - characters, plot, history. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Torimac | 1/29/2014

    " I couldn't finish it. Maybe I 'll come back to it one day, I think it was just that I wasn't in a patient mood. I've enjoyed his other books much more. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Nathan | 1/25/2014

    " Didn't finish: too unbelievable "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nathan Hetrick | 1/23/2014

    " Starts off a bit slow but picks up the pace around page 200 or so. A few surprises as well. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lauri | 1/20/2014

    " I love every one of Gruber's books. I think he can write in any genre, and never disappoints!! This is one of the most engrossing books I've read thus far this summer season. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Valerie | 1/20/2014

    " Excellent! I see they've made this into a movie... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Art | 1/15/2014

    " A great read by someone whom I had never read before. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Andrea G-DaS | 12/27/2013

    " VERY disappointed with the ending "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Monnie | 12/19/2013

    " A facinating, well written political thriller. Unexpected twists. Well painted story. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Allison | 12/13/2013

    " I am loving this book and cannot put it down. Set in Pakistan and Afghanistan, it's a great insight into the muslim and sufi cultures -- with the backdrop of the CIA, hostages, taliban, etc. Nick and Jan...you'd love it. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Dana Stabenow | 12/4/2013

    " Twenty-five pages in I knew everything that was going to happen. Skipped to the end. I was right. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Adrianne | 10/1/2013

    " well written book about a pakistan/american man, his mother and the differences between the cultures "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jennifer | 8/2/2013

    " Definitely a book of ideas. Not every author can successfully weave different stories successfully with the past and present, but Dr. Gruber does. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Eugenie Baumann | 6/16/2013

    " Liked it, didn't love it. An interesting fictional look into our entanglements in the Middle East. Gruber writes beautifully, which makes up for the fact that his thrillers just aren't that thrilling. If you haven't read him before, stick with The Book of Air and Shadows. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Druie | 4/25/2013

    " SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAADDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD!!!!!!!!!!!!!Terrible writing, maybe military freaks would like it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Stephan | 2/11/2013

    " This book was great. I learned more about the terroist mindset in this book than all the news articles I've ever read about the Middle East. And, all wraped up in a slick Clanceyish story. Glad I didn't let the lame title turn me off. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kathyred | 1/26/2013

    " After a slow start, this is a very intelligent, psychological thriller "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Debra | 3/7/2012

    " Sort of like The Kite Runner, but with more beheadings and less redemption. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Joke | 2/26/2012

    " I do not usually read thrillers but man this one had me really in its grips. My body was in Hanoi but my mind was in Peshwar... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sheridan | 7/18/2011

    " Interesting story with intriguing characters. I am still thinking about it a week later! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sean | 5/4/2011

    " Very different from other Gruber novels I've read. A thrilling story that, in a very matter-of-fact way, brings the reader into the world of Pakistani hill fighters. Really great. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dianne | 5/2/2011

    " I listened to the audio book. Great reader. I learned a lot, even though it is fiction. I would read other books by Gruber, although I understand from others' posts that this book is atypical. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Joke | 5/2/2011

    " I do not usually read thrillers but man this one had me really in its grips. My body was in Hanoi but my mind was in Peshwar... "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Mike | 4/21/2011

    " 2.5 stars - got a little slow at times "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Randy | 4/6/2011

    " Incredible insight into the war in Afghanistan and Islam. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sara | 4/6/2011

    " I've read several books about the Pakistan/Afghanistan region, some nonfiction/memoirs and some fiction. I really enjoyed this story and got into it. It's fascinating to learn more about this region where we are embroiled in conflict. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Eugenie | 4/5/2011

    " Liked it, didn't love it. An interesting fictional look into our entanglements in the Middle East. Gruber writes beautifully, which makes up for the fact that his thrillers just aren't that thrilling. If you haven't read him before, stick with The Book of Air and Shadows.
    "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Fred | 3/25/2011

    " Gruber writes on a wide range of topics with knowledge and insight. While ficitonal, this book gave me a better feeling for the tribal loyalties in Pakistan and Afghanistan than anything else I have read. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Diderot | 3/11/2011

    " Ahhh, don't know. A well constructed plot, but the characters remain shallow and hard to believe. The main character - not the son, but the mother - is left strangely unlikeable. I did like, however, that the author basically subtly portrays religiousness as a mental (dis)order. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Diana | 3/7/2011

    " A bit implausible still it's a fast action spy story set in today's Pakistan and environs. I think it would make a very entertaining movie. "

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About the Author
Author Michael Gruber

New York Times bestselling author Michael Gruber is the author of five acclaimed novels. He lives in Seattle.

About the Narrator

Neil Shah is an Audie Award–nominated narrator and voice-over artist who has recorded numerous audiobooks and won an AudioFile Earphones Award. His reading include I Am an Executioner by Rajesh Parameswaran, The Hundred-Foot Journey by Richard C. Morais, and Stringer: A Reporter’s Journey in the Congo by Anjan Sundaram. He is a classically trained actor with an MFA from the Old Globe / University of San Diego program and has appeared on off-Broadway and regional stages, as well as in film and television.