By: Lou Berney
Publisher: William Morrow
My Rating: 4 Stars 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.
“Berney’s gentle, descriptive writing brilliantly reflects these times of both disillusionment and hope... Perfectly captures these few weeks at the end of 1963—all that was lost and all that lay tantalizingly and inevitably just beyond the horizon.”
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Nothing less than an instant American classic. Haunting, thrilling – and indelible as a scar.” —A.J. Finn, New York Times bestselling author of The Woman in the Window
“The ride of a lifetime.”—Megan Abbott, New York Times bestselling author
“November Road is a remarkable and unforgettable reading experience… this is a staggeringly brilliant book.” —Don Winslow, New York Times bestselling author of The Force
“Lou Berney has become one of crime fiction’s stand-outs, a quietly subversive writer who can surprise the most jaded readers.” —Laura Lippman, New York Times bestselling author of Sunburn
“An absolute gem of a crime novel. Utterly immersive and pitch perfect in every way.” —Gilly Macmillan, New York Times bestselling author of What She Knew
“A crime story, a love story, a deeply American story…Berney’s one of the most talented crime novelists working today.”—Megan Abbott, New York Times bestselling author of Give Me Your Hand
“A triumph of plot and prose and a brilliant depiction of the contradictions of 1960s America, the innocence, the violence, the longing.”—Ivy Pochoda, author of Wonder Valley, LA Times Book Award finalist
About the Author
Photo Credit: Brandon Michael Smith
Lou Berney is the Edgar Award-winning author of THE LONG AND FARAWAY GONE (which also won the Anthony, Barry, Macavity, and ALA awards), WHIPLASH RIVER, and GUTSHOT STRAIGHT, all from William Morrow/HarperCollins. He's also the author of a collection of stories, THE ROAD TO BOBBY JOE, and his short fiction has appeared in publications such as The New Yorker, Ploughshares, and the Pushcart Prize anthology. He teaches in the Red Earth MFA program at Oklahoma City University. His new novel, NOVEMBER ROAD, will be published in October. Read More