cover image The Kennedy Moment

The Kennedy Moment

Peter Adamson. Myriad, $16.95 trade paper (368p) ISBN 978-0-9955900-5-2

At the start of this slow-moving, if high-minded, political thriller from Adamson (The Tuscan Master), Oxford don Stephen Walsh invites a few college chums back to their alma mater for an informal 20th reunion in October 1980. Stephen calculates that the four members of the old gang who accept will just happen to be there to witness his anticipated promotion to Regius Professor. Just like Stephen’s appointment, however, little goes according to plan when his old friends join him for what begins as a bittersweet stroll down memory lane but morphs into a potentially life-shattering conspiracy. The impetus for the audacious plot comes from two of the group—Hélène Hevré, a Canadian physician, and American Mike Lowell, a World Health Organization epidemiologist—who have devoted their lives to public health but become bitter watching five million children a year die from diseases that could have been prevented with vaccines costing pennies. Like his characters, former UNICEF executive Adamson clearly has his heart in the right place, but too often his elegant pages have all the urgency of a boozy late-night bull session. (Oct.)