November Road

Morrow. Oct. 2018. 320p. ISBN 9780062663849. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062663870. THRILLER
OrangeReviewStarFrank Guidry is a fixer for the New Orleans mob in 1963, the kind of guy who greases palms and makes things happen. When the subject of his boss's fury, President Kennedy, is assassinated, Frank realizes he recently stashed a getaway car in Dallas as a favor. Everyone connected to him starts disappearing, so Frank decides to hit the road. He meets aspiring artist Charlotte Roy and her two daughters, who are headed to California. Charlotte is running from a broken marriage to an alcoholic and sees no future for herself or her children in small-town Oklahoma. Using the family as cover on the road, Frank forms a connection and finds that protecting is more worthwhile than escaping. Wistful and complex, Berney's confident portrait of a roadside America traumatized by Kennedy's death gives the novel literary heft, while the ticking clock of the mob closing in on the family to settle accounts lends a genre bite.
VERDICT Berney's follow-up to The Long and Faraway Gone explores relationships between two complicated and realized characters. With depth and genre crossover appeal, this literary crime thriller will please fans of Dennis Lehane or George Pelecanos and also satisfy a wider audience. [See Prepub Alert, 4/23/18.]
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