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November Road by Lou Berney

November Road

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by Lou Berney

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Quick take

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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    Fast read

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    Multiple viewpoints

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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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Free sample

Get an early look from the first pages of Lou Berney's November Road.
November Road



Behold! The Big Easy in all its wicked splendor!

Frank Guidry paused at the corner of Toulouse to bask in the neon furnace glow. He’d lived in New Orleans the better part of his thirty-seven years on earth, but the dirty glitter and sizzle of the French Quarter still hit his bloodstream like a drug. Yokels and locals, muggers and hustlers, fire-eaters and magicians. A go-go girl was draped over the wrought-iron rail of a second-floor balcony, one boob sprung free from her sequined negligee and swaying like a metronome to the beat of the jazz trio inside. Bass, drums, piano, tearing through “Night and Day.” But that was New Orleans for you. Even the worst band in the crummiest clip joint in the city could swing, man, swing.

A guy came whipping up the street, screaming bloody murder. Hot on his heels—a woman waving a butcher knife, screaming, too.

Guidry soft-shoed out of their way. The beat cop on the corner yawned. The juggler outside the 500 Club didn’t drop a ball. Just another Wednesday night on Bourbon Street.

“Come on, fellas!” The go-go girl on the balcony wagged her boob at a pair of drunken sailors. They stood swaying on the curb, watching their pal puke into the gutter. “Be a gent and buy a lady a drink!”

The sailors leered up at her. “How much?”

“How much you got?”

Guidry smiled. And so the world spins round. The go-go girl had black velvet kitten ears pinned to her bouffant and false eyelashes so long that Guidry didn’t know how she could see through them. Maybe that was the point.

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Why I love it

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.

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Member ratings (4,624)

  • Sheri H.

    Taylors, SC

    I enjoyed this book more than I thought I would. The story of a gangster and a housewife with two daughters both fleeing unsavory situations was compelling. I also liked how the tables were turned wherethwheret

  • Kendra M.

    Jenks, OK

    I’m glad I didn’t go into this book thinking it was a historical fiction thriller. Bc I think I would have expected more a a thrilling ride and been disappointed. It was great and very much worth it!

  • Rose L.

    Front Royal , VA

    Super easy to read - loved it ! Read it in two “sessions “ ???? if u were alive when President Kennedy was killed, it might be more interesting to u - I could picture some of the scenes .. loved it !

  • Liz S.

    Tacoma, WA

    Super fast read. Sure parts are far fetched, but it’s catchy & unique weaving of a guy and gal both escaping their rut of life so completely opposite from each other. Good potential travel/beach read.

  • Clara P.

    Lewisville, TX

    Such a good story! Loved how it jumped from the two characters and aloud you to see both sides of the experience! My only problem was there were a few typos and sometimes the way they wrote didn’t flo

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