Saturday, October 5, 2013
I have been taken by the conspiracy theories that have surrounded the assassination of John F. Kennedy over the years. This book caught my eye because it explores the "What if?" tangent with respect to the "Babushka Lady" and a possible film from a new prospective. What if her film caught a glimpse of a second assassin? How would that change history as we know it? Wil Mara does a decent job at imagining what the answers to those questions and more within the pages of this novel.
For the most part, I thought that it was well written in the sense that it kept me turning the pages. Passages flowed very easily from one to another and the vocabulary was neither dumbed down or overly complex. As for the characters, I didn't feel that they were fleshed out completely. There was a vague sense of what they were like as people and a general overview of what they looked like, but I felt something wanting. Jason Hammond seemed sometimes a little unrealistic or unbelievable. I felt that he was a little too good to be true and a little too generous with his money. Shelia, after finding the film her mother had taken of the assassination, was rightfully conflicted about what to do, but again, something just felt off about her overall.
The plot is really where the novel suffers a bit. Topic wise, it is fascinating. To have the daughter of the "Babushka Lady" find the historical film in a safe deposit box that even her father knew nothing about was brilliant. However, from that point on, the story seemed to be predictable and slightly anticlimactic. There were so many different tangents that Wil Mara could have taken the story that would have given it much more intrigue and interest that I was a little disappointed by the final outcome. The other element of the story relied heavily on faith and God, but it seemed a little like an after thought and was not developed like it could have been. There were also some editing issues I had with a few passages where when speaking of God, the "he, him, etc." were not capitalized, which is a just a small, nitpicky mistake.
Overall, I thought that the book was a relatively easy and enjoyable read. There was enough adventure and questions to keep me turning to the next page and keeping me relatively invested in the story. It also did not have that cliché romantic entanglement of the main character, which I appreciate. For being a novel based on something that could have been very heavy in content, this novel came off as being rather light and not edgy in the least.
If you enjoy historical fiction based off of the JFK assassination conspiracies, you may or may not like this one. It has some very interesting points, but nothing earthshattering by any means. If you are not into the JFK assassination conspiracies, then this book probably isn't for you, but if you look past that and think of it as an adventure novel, then you may just like it. I am a little divided on this novel.
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
I found this book at a local library; I was not paid to do a review of this novel.