Starred Review. 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.
–> Two of the Deadliest: New Tales of Lust, Greed, and Murder from Outstanding Women of Mystery by Elizabeth George
George’s all-original anthology showcases 18 stories by established women mystery writers and five by relative unknowns. While not every entry is a winner, the wide variety of styles and settings will please most mystery fans. Especially strong are Linda Barnes’s Catch Your Death, a classic tale of love gone wrong told by an appealing narrator, and Stephanie Bond’s satisfyingly twisty Bump in the Night. In Gold Fever, Dana Stabenow fits quick characterizations, an exotic locale (Alaska) and a tidy plot into a few pages. Marcia Talley’s tightly written Can You Hear Me Now is modest in ambition—but who doesn’t like to see a rude cellphone user get his comeuppance? Among the newcomers, Z. Kelley’s Anything Helps is particularly notable for its charm. Other contributors include Carolyn Hart, Laura Lippman and S.J. Rozan.
–> The Divorce Party: A Novel by Laura Dave
From the Publisher
Laura Dave is widely recognized as an up-and-coming talent in women’s fiction. Now, with her characteristic wit and warmth, she captures a much-discussed cultural phenomenon that has never been profiled in fiction before—divorce celebrations. Set in Hamptons high society, The Divorce Party features two women—one newly engaged and one at the end of her marriage—trying to answer the same question: when should you fight to save a relationship, and when should you let go?
An insightful and funny multi-generational story, this deeply moving novel is sure to touch anyone whose heart has weathered an unexpected storm.