Lou Berney's Debut of November Road at UCO
National Edgar Award Winner and The Long and Faraway Gone author Lou Berney will be debuting his new book, November Road, on Monday, Oct. 8 from noon to 1:30 p.m. at the University of Central Oklahoma's Mass Communication Building Auditorium (Room 120). Lunch will be provided. You can pre-order copies of November Road from Best of Books. As lauded as The Long and Faraway Gone has been, November Road stands in a class of its own. The novel follows two strangers who find themselves bound together on a journey to escape their troubled pasts.
Frank Guidry’s luck has finally run out. A loyal street lieutenant to New Orleans’ mob boss Carlos Marcello, Guidry has learned that everybody is expendable. But now it’s his turn—he knows too much about the crime of the century, the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Within hours of JFK’s murder, people with ties to Marcello are turning up dead and Guidry suspects he’s next: he was in Dallas on an errand for the boss less than two weeks before the president was shot. With few good options, Guidry hits the road to Las Vegas to see an old acquaintance, a ruthless man who hates Marcello enough to help Guidry vanish. Maybe.
Guidry knows that the first rule of running is "don’t stop," but when he sees a woman on the side of the road with a broken-down car, two young daughters and a dog in the back seat, he sees the perfect disguise, a way to cover his tracks and escape the hit men on his tail. Posing as an insurance man, Guidry offers to help Charlotte reach her destination, California. If she accompanies him to Vegas, he can help her get a new car. For her, it’s more than a car— it’s an escape. She’s on the run too, from a stifling existence in small-town Oklahoma and a husband who’s a hopeless drunk. It’s an American story: two strangers meet to share the open road west, a dream, a hope—and find each other on the way.
Charlotte is drawn to a man who’s open-minded and kind; Guidry is attracted to a woman who’s smart and funny. He learns that’s she determined to give herself and her kids a new life; she can’t ever know that he’s desperate to leave his old one behind. But, fugitives shouldn’t fall in love, especially with each other. A road isn’t just a road, it’s a trail, and Guidry’s relentless and murderous hunters are closing in on him. Guidry discovers that he doesn’t want to just survive, he wants to really live, maybe for the first time. Everyone’s expendable, or they should be, but now Guidry can’t just abandon the woman and two little girls he’s come to love. And it might get all of them killed.
A story of unexpected connections, daring possibilities, and the hope of second chances— November Road showcases Berney’s “supreme sensitivity” (New York Times Book Review). This outstanding novel highlights exactly how, in the hands of a gifted writer, an extraordinary crime novel can illuminate the human struggle, explore what connects us and ultimately reveal universal truths, all done within a gripping and entertaining plot.
Lou Berney is the author of three previous novels: Gutshot Straight, Whiplash River, and multiple prize-winning The Long and Faraway Gone. His short fiction has appeared in publications such as The New Yorker, Ploughshares, and the Pushcart Prize anthology. He lives in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.