I have to admit to being in a bit of a crime reading slump this year. Nothing much has grabbed me and there has been far too many crime novels this year with generic, written-by-the-numbers stories with caricature characters for my liking. Despite this my stalwart crime writers have shone through. Laura Lippman’s Sunburn is one of her best ever novels, John Harvey concluded his Frank Elder series with a heartbreaker in Body & Soul and George Pelecanos delivered a searing novel of redemption and the power of books and reading in The Man Who Came Uptown.
Don Winslow has been singing the November Road’s praise for a few months so I knew I was onto something good.What I got was something brilliant. This is a cat and mouse thriller you won’t be able to put down and at the same time will keep you guessing as you tear through every page. Everytime you think you’ve got the story’s measure Lou Berney spins you on your heels and you set off in a new direction desperate to find out what is going to happen next because by now you know guessing is superfluous.
The story opens in November, 1963 and JFK has just been assassinated. Frank Guidry, a fixer for the New Orleans mob, has unknowingly become a loose end in the crime of the century and must set off cross-country with a ruthless hitman hot on his heels. Meanwhile Charlotte Ray has finally decided to leave her alcoholic husband, packing the car with their two kids and heading west. Frank and Charlotte’s paths will soon cross and they both might be the solution to each of their problems. Or they might both get each other killed.
This is a brilliant historical noir thriller that doesn’t let the big historical events in the background overshadow the story at any time. Lou Berney juggles three storylines with aplomb keeping each narrative packed with tension building to a climactic finale you will not see coming. Thriller of the year? You betcha!
ISBN 10: 0008309329
Imprint: HarperCollins – GB
On Sale: 09/10/2018
List Price: 32.99 AUD
BISAC1: Fiction & related items / Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)