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November Road : a novel
2018
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Summary

"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.

Trade Reviews
Booklist Review
*Starred Review* Library shelves are already bulging with novels about the JFK assassination in all its permutations. So what makes Berney's take so different and so unforgettable? For starters, it's not really about the assassination. There are no grassy knolls and no ballistic analyses. Yes, the assassination is the engine that starts the story, and, yes, those days in the wake of that history-changing moment set the book's tone, but what follows is essentially a road novel mixed with a romance and a noir chaser. Frank Guidry, a soldier in New Orleans mobster Carlos Marcello's family, happens to know something he shouldn't about what happened in Dallas something he would give anything not to know. But he does know it, and that means he's a loose end. Nothing to do but run, which Frank does, heading west and harboring the unlikely dream of reaching that chimerical frontier where Marcello's boys can't find him. On the road, he meets another would-be escapee, Charlotte Roy, running from an abusive husband and standing with her two young daughters beside their broken-down car. What great cover, Frank thinks, traveling with a woman, two kids, even a dog. So begins a road trip across midcentury Middle America in which a man, a woman, and two children all have their very different expectations about what awaits them upended completely. Berney bends his notes exquisitely, playing with the melody, building his marvelously rich characters while making us commit completely to the love story, even though we hear the melancholy refrain and see the noir cloud lurking in the sky. Pitch-perfect fiction. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Breakout novel is an overused phrase, but it just may fit this much-buzzed-about jewel from a writer who easily reaches across the aisle separating thrillers and literary fiction.--Bill Ott Copyright 2018 Booklist
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