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Dealey Plaza is written by John Russo, the man that brought us Night of the Living Dead. I have not only never read that one, I have never seen the movie. I wasn't sure whether to expect out and out horror or not! While it is not horror of the zombie-eating-your-face-off variety, it is a more subtle type horror. The title had me ready for a rehash of the JFK assassination, but it's not that either. What it is, is a tale of a group of people that are all part of a brutal crime, the aftermath of the crime and the paths their lives take in the years afterwards.
It leads the reader through the many twists and turns the lives of each person in the group takes. They move apart and come back together crisscrossing though events and moments that unexpectedly tie together. As their lives careen from one event to the next, one crisis to another, it becomes hard to tell who among them can be trusted.
The assassination of JFK serves as the lynch pin that begins the journey for this group of young, slightly naive people, seeking to reenact the shooting in order to prove their own theories, an act which unbeknownst to them, ensnares them in a deadly, dangerous series of events that follows them through all the changes and courses of their lives.
Russo weaves the story through historical events with finesse and a raw realness. It's a brutal tale told in terrifyingly brutal language that leaves you looking over your own shoulder. He paints in disturbing detail the horrors that humans can and do perpetuate against each other.
From the Prologue:
Dealey Plaza is one of the most notorious places in America, and in the spring of 1964 I went there with some college pals, conspiracy buffs, who wanted me to help them film their own version of the Kennedy Assassination.
On the way home, four of them were murdered and their footage went up in flames.
It was the first link in a chain of violent death that spanned four decades and caused me to abandon all my youthful hopes and dreams.
As the years went by, some of us who had survived that trip became rich, some became famous or notorious, and some of us were entangled in tricky or dangerous situations that life had thrown our way.
Now we were gathered together for Homecoming Weekend 2000 at Belmont University.
But a killer was waiting for us.
And he was nursing a deadly grudge that had its roots in the trip to Dallas we had embarked on long ago when we were young, adventurous and innocent.
Even though it wasn't what I was expecting, Dealey Plaza is a gut-wrenching page-turner that kept me reading and waiting to see what would happen all the way through the very last chapter. I would however, caution anyone that is sensitive to raw language and grisly, detailed descriptions of racism and murder.