Title: The Last One: JFK Returns
Author: Mary Carruthers
Genre: Urban Fantasy
November 22, 1963: a date that has left an indelible imprint on the minds and hearts of Americans because of the tragic assassination of one of the most beloved presidents in history: John F. Kennedy (JFK).
We’ve read the books and we think we know everything there is to know about the series of events that led to an American hero’s untimely death, including who was to blame.
But what if everything we thought we knew was a lie?
In this retelling of one of the most famous events in history, Mary Carruthers creates a new reality where JFK’s soul has been placed in a new body and dropped into 21st century New York to unmask the heretofore-unknown identity of the second person responsible for his death, also known as The Last One.
Aided by a team of warrior angels known as Team F5, he assumes a new identity in the form of Jack Cruikshank. In this new life, he’s a published author who has recently gained celebrity status for his latest book on history.
However, this is only a cover to allow him to serve as bait for his murderer. The team aims to draw out this villain by parading Jack through a series of book signings and publicity events, effectively dangling Jack in front of him like a carrot.
The premise of this book is strong enough to capture the interest of any reader. There’s a reason why there are a lot of published books about JFK; the interest surrounding his all-American persona hasn’t waned much even decades after his death.
What the author does effectively in this book, however, is to offer a fresh take on his death, teasing readers with the promise of a big reveal and a twist we won’t see coming.
The execution could have used more polish. The pacing was a little uneven and there were times when a brisker pace would have been better for driving the narrative forward. On the flip side of that, some scenes would have made more impact if the author had lingered just a little bit longer.
For example, when readers are first introduced to JFK in his reincarnated form, we know that he has retained all the memories of his past. However, he’s been dropped into an unfamiliar century, and he’s lost everything and everyone he’s ever loved.
Instead of allowing the readers into his thoughts and the turbulent emotions he must be feeling, the book moves quickly on to the next scene. Allowing the character to develop and become more real would have made the reader more able to empathize with his plight, therefore allowing the character–and the book–to have more of an impact.
Fortunately, this book is supported by a crew of interesting characters in the form of Team F5. Within this band of angels, the author manages to convey a sense of camaraderie and friendship. The dialogue between the members is crisp and the lighthearted moments are infused with the right touch of comedic timing.
The build-up of suspense and the elevation of tension at every turn are sure to keep readers on the edge of their seats. It’s a daring and unique offering that combines political intrigue and underhanded machinations with supernatural elements. Overall, it’s a solid introduction to what’s shaping up to be an interesting series.
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