This is a pretty new noir/supernatural suspense novel by Robert McCammon, author of Gone South, Boy’s Life, and Swan Song among others. We are placed in the middle of the 1930s post Lindbergh kidnapping, as we are reminded of. And we are following a man named Pearly (Partlow) who is a wandering grifter. Seeing him fail one good time, and then seeing him meet another con artist, Ginger, we come to understand that this will be a con book. The two decide to kidnap a rich New Orleans business man’s children and hold them ransom for $200,000.
Along side all of this we also meet Curtis Mayhew, a Black man from Louisiana who has some small level of telepathic abilities. His story meets up with our grifters when the young girl he’s been contacting is one of the children kidnapped by the pair.
So the book is part The Shining, part Jim Thompson/James M Cain, and the over all effect is a solid suspense novel that doesn’t fall down beneath the weight of its plot or prose. It’s a surprisingly well-balanced novel in this way minus the occasional moment of “see the 1930s were like this” and the “1930s were like this!” which it can do from time to time. It’s also a relatively trim book for McCammon whose books can run sometimes 2-3 times the length of this one and so the introduction of a world in which telepathy plays such an important role is relatively small in scope, which works very well for the narrative the novel is offering.