Edgar-finalist McDonald’s middling 10th and seemingly final Hector Lassiter novel (after 2015’s Death in the Face) grabs the reader by the throat with a killer of an opening sentence (“Howard Richardson didn’t wake up planning to dump a hydrogen bomb off the coast of South Carolina”). In 1958, novelist and screenwriter Lassiter, whose exploits include chasing Pancho Villa, fishing and boxing with Hemingway, and helping to liberate Paris from the Nazis, looks into the case of Jake Gantry, a rich Nashville singer. Gantry’s death—from ingesting an antidepressant prescribed to his ex-wife, Genevieve—has been ruled a homicide, with Genevieve the prime suspect. Lassiter’s investigation eventually leads him to a white supremacist group, and to an understanding of the consequences of Richardson’s decision to jettison the bomb after a midair collision during a test run. Diverting cameo appearances by such real-life figures of the day as Johnny Cash and Prescott Bush compensate only in part for the over-the-top payoff. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 02/27/2017 Release date: 11/01/2016 Genre: Fiction
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