• Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Reprint edition (October 22, 2019)
“When people say they want to read a really good novel, the kind you just can’t put down, this is the kind of book they mean. Exceptional.” –Stephen King, New York Times bestselling author
Named a Best Book of the Year by Entertainment Weekly • Washington Post • AARP • Newsweek
• Dallas Morning News • South Florida Sun-Sentinel • Crime Reads
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.
About Lou BerneyLou 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.
Find out more about Lou at his website, and follow him on Facebook and Twitter.
President Kennedy's assassination will forever be remembered.
It is the catapult to the story that takes place within this novel. It is NOT what the story is focused on, but rather the setting and era that brings to light a mafia character on the run, and a mother and her children caught in this crossfire.
I am not a fan of anything to do with the mafia, so I wouldn't say that I loved this book, but credit has to be given where it's due, and Lou Berney is a fantastic writer that seamlessly transports us to a world that we are completely oblivious to.
Charlotte and her two children are on the run, all she wants as a mother, is to protect her children and get as far as possible from her alcoholic husband. She doesn't realize that joining forces with Frank, who can facilitate her journey to California, may just be too much to handle.
Frank is a lieutenant for the mob boss in New Orleans, and he knows far too much about what is happening in Dallas. He also knows what happens to those that know too much, and he is not ready to be disposed of as easily. Going on the run is the only thing he can think of, and as a mob member he knows that will probably mean, running for the rest of his life.
When he comes upon Charlotte and her daughters, broken down on the side of the road, he realizes that they could be the best coverup, pretending to be a happy family traveling across the country may just throw his hit men off.
I'm pretty sure you know what comes next, a love story blossoming in the middle of blood, violence and the mob.
If you like historical fiction, which I do, and find the whole mob thing interesting, this may just be the book for you.
Thank you to TLC Tours and the publisher for providing me with a review copy of this book, in exchange for my honest review.