The story kicks off in 1960 Los Angeles, with the daring kidnapping of the child of one of America's richest men. It then darts back and forth between a private detective's urgent search for the child, the saga of a notorious hit man in the days leading to JFK's assassination, and the modern-day story of a skeptical journalist researching the still-active conspiracy theories of the 50s and 60s, with the aim of debunking them. Just as the detective discovers that the kidnapping is a crime much larger than he imagined, and the hit man finds himself caught in a web that is astonishingly complex, the journalist discovers-to his horror, dismay, and even his jeopardy-that the conspiracy theories might well be true.
With expert pacing, sparkling dialogue, and plot twists that will keep readers entranced, Tim Baker's irrepressible debut novel is a joy ride through classic noir traditions, updated with a surprisingly contemporary sensibility.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2016-02-22
- Reviewer: Staff
James Ellroy fans will appreciate Australian-born Baker’s ambitious debut with its nervous, jittery style, large cast of characters, and cynical, nihilistic attitude. Set mainly during the early 1960s, the story focuses on the ransom kidnapping of the adopted son of one of America’s richest men and the approaching assassination of President Kennedy in Dallas, though the action at times shifts back to the 1940s and forward to 2014. A parade of sadistic thugs, former movie stars, hopelessly corrupt police, revenge-seeking private eyes, and power-hungry billionaires mix with such familiar faces and famous names as Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe, Lee Harvey Oswald, Jack Ruby, Sam Giancana, Howard Hughes, Jimmy Hoffa, Bobby Kennedy, Richard Nixon, and Lyndon Johnson. Crammed with violence, sadism, torture, and sex, this audacious novel is sure to appeal to champions of Oliver Stone’s 1991 film JFK, though some readers may grow weary of all the excesses long before the end. Agent: Tom Witcomb, Blake Friedmann Agency (U.K.). (May)