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Fever City

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If you took James Ellroy at his most imaginative and Oliver Stone at his most conspiratorial, and mixed them up in a supersized martini shaker, you would produce the vivid writing, explosive events, and irresistible entertainment of Fever City. The story kicks off in 1960 Los Angeles, with the daring kidnapping of the child of one of America's richest men. It then darts bac If you took James Ellroy at his most imaginative and Oliver Stone at his most conspiratorial, and mixed them up in a supersized martini shaker, you would produce the vivid writing, explosive events, and irresistible entertainment of Fever City. The story kicks off in 1960 Los Angeles, with the daring kidnapping of the child of one of America's richest men. It then darts back and forth between a private detective's urgent search for the child, the saga of a notorious hit man in the days leading to JFK's assasination, and the modern-day story of a skeptical journalist researching the still-active conspiracy theories of the 50s and 60s, with the aim of debunking them. Just as the detective discovers that the kidnapping is a crime much larger than he imagined, and the hit man finds himself caught in a web that is astonighingly complex, the journalist discovers-to his horror, dismay, and even his jeopardy-that the conspiracy theories might well be true. With expert pacing, sparkling dialogue, and plot twists that will keep readers entranced, Tim Baker's irrepressible debut novel is a joy ride through classic noir traditions, updated with a surprisingly contemporary sensibility.

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If you took James Ellroy at his most imaginative and Oliver Stone at his most conspiratorial, and mixed them up in a supersized martini shaker, you would produce the vivid writing, explosive events, and irresistible entertainment of Fever City. The story kicks off in 1960 Los Angeles, with the daring kidnapping of the child of one of America's richest men. It then darts bac If you took James Ellroy at his most imaginative and Oliver Stone at his most conspiratorial, and mixed them up in a supersized martini shaker, you would produce the vivid writing, explosive events, and irresistible entertainment of Fever City. The story kicks off in 1960 Los Angeles, with the daring kidnapping of the child of one of America's richest men. It then darts back and forth between a private detective's urgent search for the child, the saga of a notorious hit man in the days leading to JFK's assasination, and the modern-day story of a skeptical journalist researching the still-active conspiracy theories of the 50s and 60s, with the aim of debunking them. Just as the detective discovers that the kidnapping is a crime much larger than he imagined, and the hit man finds himself caught in a web that is astonighingly complex, the journalist discovers-to his horror, dismay, and even his jeopardy-that the conspiracy theories might well be true. With expert pacing, sparkling dialogue, and plot twists that will keep readers entranced, Tim Baker's irrepressible debut novel is a joy ride through classic noir traditions, updated with a surprisingly contemporary sensibility.

30 review for Fever City

  1. 4 out of 5

    Veronica ⭐️

    Fever City is a rollicking 60’s noir crime beat ‘em up, shoot ‘em, throw ‘em off cliffs thriller. The main story is PI Nick Alston’s investigation of a child kidnapping with side stories of Baker’s take on the JFK assassination and a current day story of Alston’s son, a journalist, researching for a book on the Kennedy killing. The two stories and multiple timelines blend beautifully with many of the same characters appearing in both. Amazing revelations are dropped in casual conversation which ha Fever City is a rollicking 60’s noir crime beat ‘em up, shoot ‘em, throw ‘em off cliffs thriller. The main story is PI Nick Alston’s investigation of a child kidnapping with side stories of Baker’s take on the JFK assassination and a current day story of Alston’s son, a journalist, researching for a book on the Kennedy killing. The two stories and multiple timelines blend beautifully with many of the same characters appearing in both. Amazing revelations are dropped in casual conversation which had me OMGing through the whole book. Some more astute mystery readers may guess the big twist but it took me completely by surprise. Hastings, the self deprecating ex military hit man would have to be the best anti-hero I’ve come across in a long time. He definitely had my allegiances torn.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Greg

    If you took James Ellroy at his most imaginative and Oliver Stone at his most conspiratorial, and mixed them up in a supersized martini shaker, you would produce the vivid writing, explosive events, and irresistible entertainment of Fever City. Sometimes the people writing copy for books should tone things down a bit. Even without this blatant nod at Ellroy, the book screams Ellroy territory. You've got early 60's LA, the JFK assassination and the whole cast of characters from Howard Hughes and t If you took James Ellroy at his most imaginative and Oliver Stone at his most conspiratorial, and mixed them up in a supersized martini shaker, you would produce the vivid writing, explosive events, and irresistible entertainment of Fever City. Sometimes the people writing copy for books should tone things down a bit. Even without this blatant nod at Ellroy, the book screams Ellroy territory. You've got early 60's LA, the JFK assassination and the whole cast of characters from Howard Hughes and the various mob bosses down to anti-Castro militants, Hoover and his henchmen and the CIA. I had high hopes for this one. The one problem is the writing is ok but not great. There is nothing I can really complain about except that it's not Ellroy. And maybe it's unfair to think that it should be him, even if there are nods to his style from time to time, and there are word choices here and there that sound like they might have come from American Tabloid. Even scenes like when one of the characters dance with another one in a kitchen on the night of November 21, 1963 it feels a little too similar to the closing of American Tabloid with the sad music playing waiting for the inevitable magic bullets to ring out. I'm about 99 percent certain that the main player in the conspiracy is made up, and I don't think he's made up as a nod to a real person. I could be wrong, but having so important of a player in the whole story be totally fictional (and an awful lot of the plot hanging on who this person is) also made the book feel less impactful, and I guess technically beats Ellroy in the imaginative department it also makes it feel like a safer version of the conspiracy. There are also parts of the book that just kind of made me groan. The moralizing of one of the main characters, who is in on the assassination, about what would be saved if it were possible to save Kennedy is a little bit too starry-eyed hindsight 20-20 vision of what the world would be like in the half century after Dallas and quite possibly overly optimistic about what Kennedy would have actually achieved. (one of the big problems is that if there was this triangulation of collusion. this death trip of power and capital H History running through so many different parties, then if it weren't one bullet it would be a different one. Hard determinism. Calvinistic Ultra-Right wing inescapable (I have no idea what's going on with my choice of capital letters here) Eschatology. Our potential for escape would be as laughable as the hero of a Greek tragedy avoiding his or her fate...) My last big problem was about the 24 hours surrounding the Kennedy Assassination. And maybe this is real, I'm not really that well versed in the real live conspiracy community. Were all of these characters in history all present in Dallas that day? And if they were all present and accounted for would they have all gathered together in one place? Would conspirators looking to establish a killing field in Daley Plaza all be meeting so openly in the hours right before the assassination, like in front of places like the School Book Depository? Maybe I'm just making my own bad judgments here, with the idea of living in what is almost a panopticon of cameras and devices that so many players in a very very very major crime would risk being together like this (and similarly, it makes me wonder about a conspiracy being as big as this was made out to be there not being a weak link somewhere in it, it's just too big, like an evil Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Harts Club Band LP cover with a who's who of power and/or evil players of the early 60's. Too, too, too many people all working together) Now that I'm through being a dick I did enjoy reading the book when I could turn off my 'but it's not Ellroy' filters.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Paul

    Fever City – An Interesting Debut Fever City is the debut thriller from new author Tim Baker, which the publicity for has been trying to build a head of steam since October 2014. Well researched, Baker has had to delve into the many numerous conspiracy theories relating to the assassination of JFK, while weaving in to the story a heady cast of famous figures to provide the side show. As well as knowing what the Warren Commission had it right with one shooter who was executed by Jack Ruby. There ar Fever City – An Interesting Debut Fever City is the debut thriller from new author Tim Baker, which the publicity for has been trying to build a head of steam since October 2014. Well researched, Baker has had to delve into the many numerous conspiracy theories relating to the assassination of JFK, while weaving in to the story a heady cast of famous figures to provide the side show. As well as knowing what the Warren Commission had it right with one shooter who was executed by Jack Ruby. There are three stories carefully woven together, that seem rather separate until we reach the ending of the book rather interestingly. The first story is Nick Alston, who is a Los Angeles private investigator, who has been hired by Old Man Bannister to find his kidnapped son, it does not matter that Bannister also happens to be the most hated man in America at the time. Hastings is a mob hitman, and he has been killing people since he got back from the war in the Pacific, but he is in search of redemption. What becomes clear that both Hastings and Alston become ensnared with a very rich and powerful cabal that is sinister spreads from the White House lawns to the death of a President in Dallas, Texas. Decades later Nick Alston’s son is back in Dallas investigating the Kennedy assignation for a book and that means he has to talk to every conspiracy nut possible. It takes him from bar rooms to the homes of the rich and it seems like none of the theories were likely, but he carries on all the same. At the same time he can remember his father’s tears when Kennedy was killed as he watched it on TV at the time, but he may also discover some of the truth about his father from that time. Fever City is an interesting and complex thriller dealing with the many conspiracies of the time and dismisses them equally as fast, it is an entertaining read. I am not sure calling this book a thriller will totally do the book justice as it is a more complex story well researched and well written. It is not a page turning thriller, but a good story wrapped up in a conspiracy that has captured the imagination of time. There are many grand ideas and themes in the story as we see some famous femmes fatales, with the ultimate one in Marilyn Monroe; as well that of men who carry much baggage that it haunts them. Baker is a master of detail and description which aids the story well with his excellent use of prose. His description of the corruption of money and power could almost be a biblical one, but all the themes are in this story. An enjoyable conspiracy theory and a pleasure to read.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Liz Barnsley

    Bloody fantastic. Full review to follow nearer publication.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Tripfiction

    Thriller set in Dallas and Los Angeles (a new take on the JFK assassination of 1963…) Fever City is a brilliant debut novel by Tim Baker that will go down well with aficionados of conspiracy theories surrounding Jack Kennedy’s assassination. In his research for the book Tim studied all the theories and came to the conclusion that the one he goes with in Fever City is more likely to be true than any other (or, indeed, than the ‘official’ lone gunman explanation…). If he is correct, then the world w Thriller set in Dallas and Los Angeles (a new take on the JFK assassination of 1963…) Fever City is a brilliant debut novel by Tim Baker that will go down well with aficionados of conspiracy theories surrounding Jack Kennedy’s assassination. In his research for the book Tim studied all the theories and came to the conclusion that the one he goes with in Fever City is more likely to be true than any other (or, indeed, than the ‘official’ lone gunman explanation…). If he is correct, then the world was / is a very scary place. US big business (oil and arms), the CIA, Cuban exiles, the Mafia, and right wing politicians – Lyndon Johnson paving the way for Richard Nixon – conspired to murder Kennedy. The detail surrounding the events in Dallas on 22nd November 1963 is convincing… even in novel form. Though Tim Baker clearly believes he may have found the answer to the question of why and how Kennedy was killed (and this is fascinating in itself…), Fever City is a well crafted thriller that excites and has a life away from the assassination theories. It opens in 1960 with a child kidnapping at the Los Angeles estate of Rex Bannister – a much hated and extremely rich businessman. The kidnapping (and its investigation) bring together for the first time Hastings, a hired assassin, and Nick Alston, a private investigator. The two cross paths again in 1963 in the run up to the assassination. The final part of the story is in 2014 when Alston’s son, an investigative journalist, travels to Dallas with the intention of debunking some of the conspiracy theories surrounding Kennedy’s death… only to find evidence that his father may well have been involved on the fringes the plot. The book is not for the faint hearted (it contains a lot of pretty graphic violence), but it is extremely well worked. It is a book that it is best not to dip in and out of… far better to read it in sizeable chunks. In small bites it could be confusing… Each chapter is titled with the location and the date, but the story moves quite rapidly across the decades with the same characters appearing in the differing time lines (especially 1960 and 1963). Attention is needed! As indeed is the case with the characters themselves. A number of seemingly fairly similar villains vie for our attention – distinguishing them is not always easy. The plot is complex but very convincing, and has a surprising last page revelation. Tim, an Australian, now lives on the French Riviera – and used to work for the Australian Embassy in Paris as their Head Of Consular Services… a role that involved liaising with international police and law enforcement agencies in cases of murder, kidnapping, and hostage taking. The experience he gained feeds through into the book and adds to its authenticity. Fever City is a good and very thought provoking work. I recommend it as an excellent read… This review first appeared on our blog, where we chat to author Tim Baker: http://www.tripfiction.com/thriller-s...

  6. 5 out of 5

    Robin

    Excellent and highly recommend

  7. 4 out of 5

    Janine

    I found this to be confusing with unlikeable characters. I didn't enjoy the writing style.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Linda Boa

    WOW! Review to follow.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Gordon Mcghie

    My friends will groan when they find I have read a book with a conspiracy theory element to it as I love ‘em. Roswell, the Moon Landings, JFK and Nessie all provide hours of fascination. Obviously from the 4 I listed one is a total fabrication of the truth but I am quite happy to believe that there was a UFO at Roswell, JFK was not killed by Lee Harvey Oswald and I have seen pictures of Nessie so she clearly is a real thing too. In Fever City Tim Baker has crafted a phenomenal story around the JF My friends will groan when they find I have read a book with a conspiracy theory element to it as I love ‘em. Roswell, the Moon Landings, JFK and Nessie all provide hours of fascination. Obviously from the 4 I listed one is a total fabrication of the truth but I am quite happy to believe that there was a UFO at Roswell, JFK was not killed by Lee Harvey Oswald and I have seen pictures of Nessie so she clearly is a real thing too. In Fever City Tim Baker has crafted a phenomenal story around the JFK assassination - putting forward new observations and casting more suspicions over the ‘official’ story on the death of a President. Many famous names crop up through the story and relationships, alliances and adversaries are explored. It is a compelling read and as I reached the end of the book I could not turn the pages fast enough to see how everything would resolve. The narrative is handled from three viewpoints and events cover three different points in history. 1960 when the child of one of America’s richest (and most loathed) men is kidnapped – Private Investigator Nick Alston is called in to help locate the kidnapped boy. Jumping forward to 1963 when Alston is reunited with a hitman called Hastings (the two had first met during the kidnap investigation). Obviously 1963 is of huge significance and we follow events which will eventually build up to that fateful day in Dallas. Then the narrative jumps forward to 2014 when the son of one of the key players (that of Nick Alston) is looking into all the theories which surround the assassination of JFK. As Fever City progresses Alston (junior) comes to realise that his father may have been very close to some of the key players who are implicated in one of history’s greatest cover-ups. The switching narrative is brilliantly handled and the way the story flits across the time periods works really well. I initially had fears that this may fragment the story but these fears were short lived as Baker builds so much tension into the story you don’t mind being drawn through the years. Fever City should come with a ‘dark’ or ‘gritty’ warning. The male characters can come across as hard, uncompromising or aggressive and the females are brilliantly balanced initially appearing to be femme fatales but ultimately showing more depth and inner steel than most of their male counterparts. A deeply enjoyable story. Compelling, twisty and downright nasty at times. All plus points for me – definitely a bit of a favourite.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Gram

    A cracking conspiracy thriller with the action careering along, switching from the years between 1960 and 1964, occasinally fast forwarding to 2014. There are several main characters and a host of minor players - mostly Mafia gangsters and cops, shadowy figures from the CIA and FBI and billionaires behind the scenes pulling the strings. And there are a lot of dead bodies. The story begins with a hired assassin known as Hastings - a man with a back story steeped in war and murder - fighting off m A cracking conspiracy thriller with the action careering along, switching from the years between 1960 and 1964, occasinally fast forwarding to 2014. There are several main characters and a host of minor players - mostly Mafia gangsters and cops, shadowy figures from the CIA and FBI and billionaires behind the scenes pulling the strings. And there are a lot of dead bodies. The story begins with a hired assassin known as Hastings - a man with a back story steeped in war and murder - fighting off men sent to kill him because he knows too much. It switches to the kidnapping of a young boy, the son of Rex Bannister, America's richest and most hated man - a man who has the power to decide the political future of the USA for the next 50 years. Private eye Nick Halston is brought in and tries to solve what turns out to be an incredible case, involving Bannister's alluring wife and variety of people most of whom are never what they appear to be. In tandem with this tale, we have the major conspiracy angle - most of it centering on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas, with stops along the way covering the death (suicide or murder?) of Marilyn Monroe. The book's author, Tim Baker, does a marvellous job of threading together various lesser known conspiracy theories concerning the Kennedy assassination and making them all seem totally plausible. Meanwhile, in 2014, the journalist son of Nick Alston tries to uncover the real story behind the kidnapping of Bannister's son, simultaneously discovering links to that fateful November day in Dealey Plaza. If you're at all interested in conspiracy theories, this book is for you.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Dave

    Fever City is an extraordinarily ambitious work which combines a hardboiled pulp story about a Lindbergh baby style kidnapping with an exploration of the JFK shooting. In doing so, you can hear echoes of fifties-style pulp stories as well as revisit some of the ground Max Allan Collins explored with Nathan Heller in Bye Bye Baby and Ask Not. Baker, though, tacked it in his own way with chapters alternating between three different narratives, that of the detective in 1960 investigating the kidnap Fever City is an extraordinarily ambitious work which combines a hardboiled pulp story about a Lindbergh baby style kidnapping with an exploration of the JFK shooting. In doing so, you can hear echoes of fifties-style pulp stories as well as revisit some of the ground Max Allan Collins explored with Nathan Heller in Bye Bye Baby and Ask Not. Baker, though, tacked it in his own way with chapters alternating between three different narratives, that of the detective in 1960 investigating the kidnapping, that of his son in 2014 looking at various conspiracy theories regarding the Kennedy assassination, and the 1963 point of view of a hardened killer, Hastings. All three narratives obviously connect at some point. There is quite a bit of really good stuff here from the femme fatales, the undead body, the talk of the JFK being a womanizer, the story of Marilyn, and more. But the constant meandering back and forth between narratives takes a toll on the reader and the tension simply gets lost along the way, leaving but a string of interconnected vignettes, many of which are powerful on their own.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Paul

    Quote: She gives me the kind of look people would love to give a cop but never dare. But with a private dick-that's another matter. A PI is a man with a tarnished badge, a crooked rep and a pocketful of flashbulbs. Someone you don't have to pretend to respect. 'I want a lawyer.' Quote: It was as if Los Angeles were no longer a city but a sepulchre; a mausoleum metropolis where the only signs of movement were the rigor mortis contraction of locking muscle. And the lisp of smoke from the funeral Quote: She gives me the kind of look people would love to give a cop but never dare. But with a private dick-that's another matter. A PI is a man with a tarnished badge, a crooked rep and a pocketful of flashbulbs. Someone you don't have to pretend to respect. 'I want a lawyer.' Quote: It was as if Los Angeles were no longer a city but a sepulchre; a mausoleum metropolis where the only signs of movement were the rigor mortis contraction of locking muscle. And the lisp of smoke from the funeral pyre, caught in the Santa Ana winds. An impressive debut. Tim Baker channels Raymond Chandler, James Ellroy & Norman Mailor's "Oswald's Tale" in this 'JFK-Marilyn Monroe-Mafia/Anti-Castro-CIA-Oswald-Howard Hughes-FBI, etc' conspiracy tale, weaving the kidnapping of a rich man's son into the JFK assassination conspiracy (?). As i say, an excellent debut. Not without it's faults, but overall, an entertaining read. 4 stars from me.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Studvet

    Interesting in an outlandish, cartoonish way because of the history and characters involved, but really second-rate crime novel thriller. The characters became jumbled at times as kept moving back and forth in time and scenarios with different characters are happening out of sequence and we were meeting characters who had already previously been murdered etc, etc. It was too clever by half and in the end laborious having to recalibrate your thinking continuously. It's not a patch on James Ellroy Interesting in an outlandish, cartoonish way because of the history and characters involved, but really second-rate crime novel thriller. The characters became jumbled at times as kept moving back and forth in time and scenarios with different characters are happening out of sequence and we were meeting characters who had already previously been murdered etc, etc. It was too clever by half and in the end laborious having to recalibrate your thinking continuously. It's not a patch on James Ellroy unless seen as a parody pastiche. The story itself was so over the top and the conspiracies so obviously wrong and bringing in all the fabled characters and anecdotes to form one supposed whole was frankly just too much. The real facts about supposed parties in the assassination are readily looked up and disproved and it lent such an air of schlock to it all I had to read it as like a cartoon noir.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Maggie Hesseling

    Brilliant debut novel by Tim Baker. I love the story and the historical characters that pop in from time to time. But I especially love that though it reads a little like Ellroy, Baker has managed to put something in it that makes it all his. There's a voice there that is going to become a go-to for me in the crime genre. I'd recommend this novel to anyone who loves a fantastic historical noir. A fantastic read that I just couldn't put down.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jane Rose

    A bit too much happening in this book. A lot of switching between times ( although the time switches were clearly marked ). I have read a few ' Kennedy conspiracy' theory books and felt that this one doesn't measure up to some.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Conwild

    I highly recommend this. Well crafted and suspenseful tale of power and corruption in JFK era America. Can't give away any more!

  17. 5 out of 5

    ItchyFeetReader

    An interesting multi generational conspiracy / mystery thriller slowed down by an over complicated cast of players and some interesting language choices. The story pulled me in but it was hard, hard work. Plot Nominally three stories – the missing young son of a wealthy, if unlikable magnate in 1960, a contemporary journalist writing a book about the Kennedy assassination and the assassination itself. Thoughts The plotting of the three story lines is really very clever (if not also very comple An interesting multi generational conspiracy / mystery thriller slowed down by an over complicated cast of players and some interesting language choices. The story pulled me in but it was hard, hard work. Plot Nominally three stories – the missing young son of a wealthy, if unlikable magnate in 1960, a contemporary journalist writing a book about the Kennedy assassination and the assassination itself. Thoughts The plotting of the three story lines is really very clever (if not also very complex) and Baker shifts between them effectively building tension and interest as characters reappear and themes merge and then diverge again. In some instances characters and themes are introduced only to be ignored and not revisited. The cast of characters is enormous and, for someone not incredibly well informed on the early 1960s mob culture or the Kennedy assassination, at times confusing to keep track of who is entirely fictional versus fictionalised. That said both Nick Alston – the private eye tasked with finding the missing boy back in 1960 and Hastings, the main character through the Kennedy storyline are well drawn and intriguing. I enjoyed a number of the themes included in the novel; the corrupting influencing of money and power was impressive whilst the long shadow of the Second World War in the Pacific on many of the characters was also powerful. The reimagining of the Kennedy assassination was a fascinating hypothesis and I also enjoyed the selection of conspiracy theorists listed in the contemporary chapters of the book. What let this novel down for me was the long and flowery sentences that did little to move the story forward. It is a testament to the plotting that I picked it up again a number of time after putting it down in frustration! Also it is not a novel full of strong positive female characters and this along with the language may well be a homage of sorts to Ellroy but it did not work for me and distracted from what was a pretty good storyline. Overall I think I am glad I finished it and it has left me wanting to know more about any number of the topics covered but can not help feel that is was perhaps too ambitious for a first novel.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Maggie Kiely

    This is debut novel by author. The book spans decades with the assignation of John F Kennedy at its core. It is part conspiracy theory and kept me gripped. A child is kidnapped some years before that faithful Dallas day shows the efforts of the LA investigator who tries to solve the case and that of his son many years later trying to bring light into the facts. I found it fast paced and personally really enjoyed it.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Sam Soule

    A book for noir nerds written by the nerdiest of noir nerds and that fact, plus the fact that I'm just interested enough to see where the story goes to be inclined to pick up the next book in this series, justifies three stars instead of two. FEVER CITY seems to inhabit the same fictional space as comic book writer Ed Brubaker and novelist James Ellroy, both of whom do hard boiled revisionist conspiracy / horror crime tales to much greater effect. Which, even in fledgling hands, is still pretty A book for noir nerds written by the nerdiest of noir nerds and that fact, plus the fact that I'm just interested enough to see where the story goes to be inclined to pick up the next book in this series, justifies three stars instead of two. FEVER CITY seems to inhabit the same fictional space as comic book writer Ed Brubaker and novelist James Ellroy, both of whom do hard boiled revisionist conspiracy / horror crime tales to much greater effect. Which, even in fledgling hands, is still pretty appealing territory ... as long as the telling doesn't become too heavy-handed, convoluted, and boring. Words to the wise, Mr. Baker. Please, continue on.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Christina Hannan

    This book seeped noir and conspiracy. It was an easy to follow yet wild book that threw twists at you that it foreshadowed ever so gently beforehand. I liked the characters and I loved the plot, it was constantly moving and displaying the pieces that would eventually fit into the rest of the puzzle. It was a joy to read, even if the constant jumping between three perspectives and three different years was confusing at first.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Bibliophile

    What a disappointing read! The plot was tortuous and depended on some insane conspiracy theories, the characters were both unlikeable and lacking in personality, and by the end I was just skimming to the finish. Blah! The physical quality of the book, though, as with all Europa Editions, was superb.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Deborah

    3 timelines told at once An interesting story &compelling in places but a bit hard to follow at times with different chapters jumping between 1960, 1963 and 2014. The final twist is good.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jan

    Did not enjoy this at all and gave up on page 263 of 411. Free from Theakstons Crime Writers Festival, this is a book I would not have chosen.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Fred Smith

    Superb debut novel

  25. 5 out of 5

    Geraldine Haas

    Phenomenal debut about the murky world of JFK conspiracies.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Dave Ross

    Decent thriller Enjoyable, enough to complete. A few unnecessary fantastic set pieces that detracted from more realistic scenes and dialogue. All and all a decent bedtime read.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Damien G

    A book that harks back to the pulp fiction of the nineteen thirties. A sheer delight,and a book for all crime lovers.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Bill Smith

    Oh what a great read that keeps you on the edge of your seat.

  29. 4 out of 5

    John McKenna

    Mysterious Book Report No. 252 by John Dwaine McKenna The joke’s on me . . . Some weeks ago I was queried by a publicist for Europa Editions in New York City: “Would I review a noir novel of theirs if they sent a copy?” I noted that it had a September release date and said, ‘Sure,” then got an ARC (advance review copy) in the mail a few days later. I placed it in the reading stack so the MBR would come out mid-August, 2016 just before the release date of the book. So far . . . so good, as they say Mysterious Book Report No. 252 by John Dwaine McKenna The joke’s on me . . . Some weeks ago I was queried by a publicist for Europa Editions in New York City: “Would I review a noir novel of theirs if they sent a copy?” I noted that it had a September release date and said, ‘Sure,” then got an ARC (advance review copy) in the mail a few days later. I placed it in the reading stack so the MBR would come out mid-August, 2016 just before the release date of the book. So far . . . so good, as they say in melodrama, and at the exact right time for my plan to come to fruition, I pulled Fever City, by Tim Baker, and dove into what turned out to be one of the most arresting and intriguing novels to come my way since the Age of Aquarius. Told in three different years by three different characters, it’s a new, unorthodox and unique re-imagining of the Kennedy Assassination on November 22, 1963 as his motorcade drove through Dealey Plaza in Dallas, Texas at high noon, local time. The story begins in the fall of 1960. Behind-the-scenes deals are being struck by powerful, utterly ruthless, amoral and wealthy men to ensure that a certain charismatic young senator--Jack Kennedy from Massachusetts--is elected to the Presidency of the United States over a dour career politician and sitting Vice-President--Richard Nixon. When Kennedy is elected, they assume, favors will be repaid, allowing billions of dollars in favorable tax and royalty allowances to continue to accrue to the oil men, and the CIA will be sanctioned to overthrow Fidel Castro in Cuba . . . a boon to organized crime. In Los Angeles, aka Fever City, a private investigator named Nick Alston is hired by one of the richest men in America to rescue his kidnapped son. The man’s name is Rex Bannister. Unknown to Alston, Bannister is setting a plan in motion that will rock the world, make him billions and leave Nick as the patsy--the fall guy who couldn’t see it coming. That’s the same position war-hero turned hit-man Phillip Hastings finds himself in three years later . . . when he’s maneuvered by Bannister, and several of his cohorts, into being the trigger-puller in Dallas on that fateful day in November 1963 . . . the fall guy. The one who gets blamed. The patsy. The final leg of the complicated plot occurs in 2014, when a journalist begins re-examining the myths surrounding Alston and Bannister’s role in the Kennedy assassination with the idea of exposing them as more far-out conspiracy theories without a shred of truth to them. He’s the son of one of the players and his attempt to clear his father’s name will reveal some electrifying truths neither he . . . nor the world . . . are prepared to admit. This astonishing, cerebral novel will make you rethink what you thought you knew about that awful day the President of the United States was shot and killed in front of the whole country. It comes at your sensibilities like a roaring freight train, hypnotizes you with its passing, and leaves a doppler-like memory in your brain as it leaves. It’s powerful, compelling and thought-provoking noir by a debut author who’s already at the top of his game!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Tom Johnson

    “A Fast-Paced, Thrill-A-Minute ride.” Normally, there are two things I absolutely hate in a story. One is using real people in scenes and narrative, the second is jumping back and forth in the tale from one point to another. This story contains both, but the author pulls it off. The author’s writing is smooth, and he keeps the same people throughout the tale, even if the years jump from 1959 to 1960, 1963, and 2014. It all stems from the kidnapping of the Bannister child in 1960 and the private e “A Fast-Paced, Thrill-A-Minute ride.” Normally, there are two things I absolutely hate in a story. One is using real people in scenes and narrative, the second is jumping back and forth in the tale from one point to another. This story contains both, but the author pulls it off. The author’s writing is smooth, and he keeps the same people throughout the tale, even if the years jump from 1959 to 1960, 1963, and 2014. It all stems from the kidnapping of the Bannister child in 1960 and the private eye handling the case, to the assassination of JFK in 1963 and one of the assassins hired for the job, and finally culminates with the son of the private detective searching for answers to the mystery in 2014. We are led through conspiracies with Marilyn Monroe, Howard Hughes and the Roswell UFO crash, to secret cabals, the Masons and Illuminati, and hidden temples in the homes of powerful men who control the political system of America and the world. Two leading questions haunt the tale. First, what became of the missing child, and why are assassins trying to kill the son of the detective, now a reporter, trying to find answers to an old mystery. Everyone the reporter questions turns up dead, and some really weird people are trying to protect him before he meets the same fate. With most of the original people involved now dead, it seems he will not find the answer. The story comes to an end in France, as the reporter finally learns the truth from one of the main players in this long-running mystery, although I had figured it out early in the story, and if readers will pay attention they will also. But it is certainly a good yarn, even if it does play loosely with real people in history. This book was hard to put down, and kept me turning the pages. Highly recommended for noir lovers.

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