A New Orleans mobster who knows too much, a young mother on the run, and the daring escape that might get them both killed.
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Why I love it
Author, The Woman in the Window
Plot, setting, and character. It’s a simple three-ingredient recipe—you might call it Satisfying Novel Surprise—yet many (even most!) authors tend to skimp on one or another … or all three. Few works of fiction, in my experience, spin a gripping story and drench it in atmosphere and people it with a relatable, three-dimensional cast. Fewer still do so in perfect proportion.
But Lou Berney’s November Road is no ordinary work of fiction. November, 1963: The country is roiling in the wake of JFK’s murder, and one mob lieutenant suspects he may have unwittingly participated in the crime. He makes a run for the West Coast, inadvertently picking up a runaway housewife and her two daughters along the way. As they light out for coastal California, these four fugitives bond in ways as unexpected (yet credible) as they are poignant (yet exciting).
This altogether wondrous novel resists categorization. It’s a thriller; it’s a period piece; it’s a character study. Above all, though, November Road is an experience—so vivid, so indelible, that it feels as much our story as it does our heroes’. I’m delighted to present to Book of the Month readers a new American classic.
A loyal street lieutenant to New Orleans mob boss Carlos Marcello, Frank 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. 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.
When Guidry sees a beautiful housewife on the side of the road with a broken-down car, 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—on the run from a stifling existence in small-town Oklahoma and a kindly husband who’s a hopeless drunk—reach her destination.
But fugitives shouldn’t fall in love, because 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.
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