Publication Date: October 9th, 2018
Publisher: William Morrow
Why I Read This: I’m a sucker for any story that even loosely includes the JFK assassination. Thank you to TLC Book Tours for the free copy and for having me on the book tour!
Page Count: 300
Synopsis: 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.
Opening Sentence: “Behold! The Big Easy in all its wicked splendor!”
My Thoughts: Friends, I loved this book, but not for the reasons I expected to. When I read in the marketing blurb that this was a cat and mouse crime novel set against the backdrop of the JFK assassination, I was hooked. However, the JFK connection was very loose, to the point where the author could have chosen to have Frank involved in any other high profile crime for a similar effect. (Although I will say, it was fun to see the author’s interpretation of the events that took place on 11/22/63.)
Instead, we get the story of Frank Guidry, a charming man who loves life, who until very recently was a go-to guy in the New Orleans mob. He realizes that he has now become expendable to the organization and takes off. He’s constantly trying to stay one step ahead of his ex- employers, guessing their next move and trying to outsmart them. He meets Charlotte, her two girls, and their epileptic dog and figures they’re the best chance he has for a disguise. Against his better judgment, he finds himself genuinely starting to care for them and wonders what he’s gotten them all into.
The author does a great job with pacing and building tension. Our anti hero was consistently backed up against the wall but I found myself rooting for him. I also really loved the other narrator, Charlotte. She is a young woman who has a strong sense of self that had been previously stifled by her husband, her family, and the culture around her. I could feel her desperation to get out of the life she was living while also providing the best she can to her girls. There were some supremely violent parts, but there was a lot of heart, too. It’s a story about coming into ones own, family, starting over, and redemption. I’d definitely check out more by this author down the line.
Quote: “With every decision, we create a new future. We destroy all other futures.”
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