November Road (Paperback)

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The following review is from the Washington Post and written by Oline H. Cogdill

Although set in the aftermath of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination, “November Road” avoids being another novel about that fateful day in Dallas. Instead, this superior novel from Edgar winner Lou Berney melds crime fiction with a tale about people reinventing themselves, played out during a cross-country automobile trip.
Frank Guidry is at the top of his world as a “fixer extraordinaire” for New Orleans mob boss Carlos Marcello. Frank knows how to get things done, and that often means with violence. But Frank’s world shifts on Nov. 22, 1963, when he hears about JFK’s assassination. About two weeks before, Frank had been told to leave a car in a parking lot near Dealey Plaza. Wondering if he brought the assassin’s getaway car, Frank worries that he’s become a target, especially when another mobster who also was in Dallas for Marcello about the same time is murdered. To avoid execution, Frank takes to the road.
Also on the road is Charlotte Roy, an Oklahoma housewife who has reached her limit with her constantly broke alcoholic husband, Dooley. On a whim, she packs up her two daughters, Joan, 8, and Rosemary, 7, and their dog Lucky, who is prone to seizures, and takes off in their car. Charlotte and Frank meet on the road when her car breaks down, and he suggests they ride with him. At first, Charlotte and her family are a cover for Frank — no killer would look for a man traveling with a woman and children. But Charlotte and Frank begin to care for each other in ways neither expected.
Berney keeps the tension high as ruthless hit man Barone is hot on Frank’s trail. But the strength — and pleasure — of “November Road” is how Charlotte and Frank begin to change, finding new focus and resolve in themselves. They are on a collision course of emotions and needs. Charlotte wants a bigger life than she had, to achieve something for herself and her daughters, so their goals and dreams will never be dismissed as were hers by her teachers, family and boss. Frank needs a smaller life, one that will allow him to regain a soupcon of his soul and maybe find a piece of his heart.
While the mob’s involvement has long been one of the conspiracy theories surrounding JFK’s assassination, Berney keeps this on the story’s periphery. Instead, “November Road” gauges how a monumental event affects people and the culture.
Berney showed his storytelling mettle in his previous three novels, but “November Road” not only showcases his considerable talents but also gives an insightful look at our past.

October 2018 Indie Next List

“Lou Berney’s engrossing novel November Road unfolds in the immediate aftermath of JFK’s assassination, but the heady confusion and shock of that dark day play second fiddle to the stories of Frank Guidry and Charlotte Roy, two desperate individuals seeking to outrun the entanglements of their very different lives. Guidry, a once-trusted player for the Marcello mob, is a marked man fleeing for his life; Roy, a weary housewife, seeks better prospects for herself and her daughters, so she must escape from both her dead-end town and deadbeat husband. Told in sharp, cinematic prose, this novel explodes the boundaries of the typical crime novel and offers up something more literary, a finely tuned exploration of the will to change.”
— Mike Wysock, The Book Stall, Winnetka, IL

Winter 2019 Reading Group Indie Next List

“Set amid the tumult of the Kennedy assassination, November Road weaves a complex story of unexpected connection and self-preservation. Made man meets unmade marriage in this taut road-trip crime novel. Berney’s sensitive exploration of character and grisly depiction of a life of crime are both showcased here, and the result is one of the best crime novels and surprisingly tender stories of the season.”
— Kevin Elliott, 57th Street Books, Chicago, IL

Product Details
ISBN: 9791196038694
Publisher: Nevermore
Publication Date: January 2nd, 2020
Language: Korean
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