cover image American Adulterer

American Adulterer

Jed Mercurio, Author . Simon & Schuster $25 (339p) ISBN 978-1-4391-1563-3

Mercurio’s third novel is a riveting imagining of the inner life of a satyrlike John F. Kennedy, referred to as “the subject,” as he beds a steady stream of starlets, interns and prostitutes. Kennedy’s well-known insatiable and sometimes comical philandering is juxtaposed against his often cruel relationship with Jacqueline, his brilliance as a statesman (excerpts from his actual speeches are included) and devotion as a father, offering a unique portrait of a powerful yet stricken and conflicted man. The villains are the methamphetamine-prescribing doctors and the bloodthirsty American generals pushing the world to the brink of Armageddon. JFK’s contemporaries are also cast in provocative roles, with the coke-sniffing Marilyn Monroe plotting to be first lady, the mobbed-up Frank Sinatra and Kennedy’s Soviet counterpart—a peace-seeking Nikita Khrushchev—all making memorable appearances. Kennedy has figured prominently in hundreds of books, but Mercurio’s take on the subject is fresh, bold and provocative. (July)