Published: October 9th 2018.
Author: William Morrow.
Characters: Frank Guidry, Charlotte, Carlos Marcello.
Literary Awards: Los Angeles Times Book Prize Nominee for Mystery/Thriller (2018). eBook, 320 pages.
Reviewed by Antonia P. Sani, Sabah State Library, Headquarters.
“November Road” brings together the lives of Frank Guidry, fixer extraordinaire for the Marcello mob in New Orleans, and housewife Charlotte and her daughters Joan and Rosemary and the family dog. Both Guidry and Charlotte are running away from their lives.
The story is set in November 1963, in the days following the assassination of John F. Kennedy, Guidry, one of the book’s prime movers, is a complicated enforcer for New Orleans crime boss Carlos Marcello. He is almost immediately revealed as a cold personality who does not let morality, loyalty or friendship get in the way of self-preservation. When, on a November New Orleans afternoon in 1963, he learns that the President of the United States has been assassinated, it does not take him long to figure out why it happened and the fact that Marcello is behind it. Similarly, when he is almost immediately tasked with flying to Houston to dispose of a Cadillac Eldorado, he quickly puts the pieces of the plot together
While this occurring Charlotte is running away from her dead-end newspaper job and failing marriage with a less-than-functioning alcoholic husband. Charlotte, has dreams of something far, far better and an underdeveloped talent for photography, abruptly packs up her two young daughters and leaves Oklahoma, heading toward California in the hope of staying with a distant aunt with whom she hasn’t had contact in years. It isn’t much of a plan, and when her path and Guidry’s intersect at a mom-and-pop motel off of Route 66, Guidry sees an opportunity to hide in plain sight.
When Charlotte’s car breaks down, Guidry offers her a ride to California he believes that travelling with her and the kids will give him a kind of legitimacy whoever is after him, they won’t be looking for a ‘family’. Guidry uses Charlotte and her daughters as camouflage as he heads toward the lights of Vegas and the one person who can get him out of the country. Of course, he never expected to fall in love with Charlotte, but that’s exactly what happened, and naturally, that makes it a very dangerous game for her and the kids.
This book is part cat and mouse and part love story. It's about starting over, redemption, hope, vengeance and determination. Conspiracy theories have surrounded JFK’s assassination since the day he was killed, and the Author uses the mob hit/conspiracy theory as part of the plot in this book.
I really enjoyed this well written and well thought out book. There are three main characters in this book with minor supporting characters. The execution of their story-lines was effortless. I enjoyed traveling Route 66 with these characters. I felt compelled to keep reading for most of the day to see what was going to happen. Would Frank get away? Would Charlotte get her chance at a new life?