On the Road to OKC

The Oklahoman (Sunday) - - SUNDAY LIFE - — Kris Lackey for The Ok­la­homan

Ok­la­homa City’s much-dec­o­rated novelist Lou Ber­ney will dis­cuss and sign his new mys­tery “Novem­ber Road,” at events this week.

Ok­la­homa City’s much-dec­o­rated novelist Lou Ber­ney isn’t rest­ing on his lau­rels.

His new sus­pense novel, “Novem­ber Road,” shows him at the top of his game. It crack­les with the fire — and ice — of Dante’s “In­ferno.”

Frank Guidry, a canny, vet­eran op­er­a­tive for New Or­leans mob king­pin Car­los Mar­cello, has been tasked with dis­pos­ing of a car linked to the as­sas­si­na­tion of Pres­i­dent Kennedy.

When he has done his duty, he learns that his years of loy­alty to the clan won’t pro­tect him. He flees New Or­leans and races west on In­ter­state 40, dogged by a Mar­cello lieu­tenant, Barone, in­tent on find­ing and killing him.

Char­lotte Roy, from Lo­gan County, Ok­la­homa, is also headed west on the same high­way, flee­ing her al­co­holic hus­band Doo­ley with her two girls, Joan and Rose­mary.

The refugees, seek­ing very dif­fer­ent sources of help far­ther west, col­lide in a cheap mo­tel in New Mex­ico. Then their mo­tives and plans shift tec­ton­i­cally.

The chase plays out like a house afire.

Will Barone track down Char­lotte and Frank?

Will Frank find an ally in an old Las Ve­gas en­emy of Mar­cello?

Can Char­lotte save her chil­dren from the mob?

Lou Ber­ney didn’t win an Edgar and the

Los An­ge­les Times Book Prize for noth­ing.

He plots deftly, in­hab­its the minds of char­ac­ters from all walks of life.

Like El­more Leonard — and Ho­race McCoy be­fore him — he stokes em­pa­thy for nasty play­ers and in­no­cents alike.

A master of his craft, Ber­ney holds his cards close. And he never breaches the terms he has set — for his char­ac­ters or his plot.

“Novem­ber Road” will not let you rest be­fore its fi­nal page.

Nor­man writer Kris Lackey is the au­thor of “Nail’s Cross­ing,” a crime novel in­volv­ing a Chick­a­saw Na­tion tribal po­lice of­fi­cer and a county sher­iff’s deputy. Craig John­son, au­thor of the Long­mire mys­tery se­ries, called Lackey’s book “As fine a mys­tery se­ries de­but as I’ve read in a long time.”

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