Ending the month with some historical fiction in a thriller package!
Thank you to William Morrow and TLC Book Tours for the free copy in exchange for my honest review.
NOVEMBER ROAD – Lou Berney (out now!)
Set against the assassination of JFK, a poignant and evocative crime novel that centers on a desperate cat-and-mouse chase across 1960s America—a story of unexpected connections, daring possibilities, and the hope of second chances from the Edgar Award-winning author of The Long and Faraway Gone.
Frank Guidry’s luck has finally run out.
A loyal street lieutenant to New Orleans’ mob boss Carlos Marcello, Guidry has learned that everybody is expendable. But now it’s his turn—he knows too much about the crime of the century: the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
Within hours of JFK’s murder, everyone with ties to Marcello is turning up dead, and Guidry suspects he’s next: he was in Dallas on an errand for the boss less than two weeks before the president was shot. With few good options, Guidry hits the road to Las Vegas, to see an old associate—a dangerous man who hates Marcello enough to help Guidry vanish.
Guidry knows that the first rule of running is “don’t stop,” but when he sees a beautiful housewife on the side of the road with a broken-down car, two little daughters and a dog in the back seat, he sees the perfect disguise to cover his tracks from the hit men on his tail. Posing as an insurance man, Guidry offers to help Charlotte reach her destination, California. If she accompanies him to Vegas, he can help her get a new car.
For her, it’s more than a car— it’s an escape. She’s on the run too, from a stifling existence in small-town Oklahoma and a kindly husband who’s a hopeless drunk.
It’s an American story: two strangers meet to share the open road west, a dream, a hope—and find each other on the way.
Charlotte sees that he’s strong and kind; Guidry discovers that she’s smart and funny. He learns that’s she determined to give herself and her kids a new life; she can’t know that he’s desperate to leave his old one behind.
Another rule—fugitives shouldn’t fall in love, especially with each other. A road isn’t just a road, it’s a trail, and Guidry’s ruthless and relentless hunters are closing in on him. But now Guidry doesn’t want to just survive, he wants to really live, maybe for the first time.
Everyone’s expendable, or they should be, but now Guidry just can’t throw away the woman he’s come to love.
And it might get them both killed.
My Thoughts: 4/5 stars!
It’s no secret that I love historical fiction and thrillers, so when you combine the two then it’s almost guaranteed I’ll be picking it up! NOVEMBER ROAD was my introduction to Lou Berney and I can’t believe I haven’t grabbed any of his books before – that will be changing very soon!
Berney immediately and effortlessly transports the readers to New Orleans of the 1960’s. We meet Frank Guindry, he’s a lieutenant for the notorious mob boss Carlos Marcello. I have to say, anything with the mafia, fiction or nonfiction, will immediately have my attention. I’m absolutely fascinated with their lifestyle, how they handle their business, and the power and control they have. This was no different. Everyone has their expiration date when they’re involved with the mafia, and Frank is quickly realizing that his time is coming. He hears too much about the impending JFK Assassination, so he decides to run.
In his time on the run he comes across Charlotte. Found broken down on the side of road, Charlotte sees him as her way to California, and Frank sees her and her kids as the perfect cover. We get a variety of very realistic characters and what feels like authentic dialogue. We alternate between Frank’s and Charlotte’s perspectives and one thing they both have in common is that they’re looking to find a new life for themselves.
This ended up being more suspenseful than I was expecting! The writing is incredible and for those that aren’t big on historical fiction, don’t let that deter you. The JFK Assassination is simply the backdrop for the time period and not the main plot focus. I think this would be the perfect addition to a winter TBR to cozy up with.
About the Author:
Lou Berney is the author of three previous novels, Gutshot Straight, Whiplash River, and multiple prize-winning The Long and Faraway Gone. His short fiction has appeared in publications such as The New Yorker, Ploughshares, and the Pushcart Prize anthology. He lives in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
Where to Purchase a Copy: