In this novel, Bonnie’s and Clyde’s deaths are faked so that they can save President Franklin D. Roosevelt from an assassin.
In 1984, a Texas newspaperman named Royce Jenkins, who typically covers obituaries and cattle shows, gets the scoop of a lifetime: the true story of Bonnie and Clyde, who—the woman claiming to be Bonnie says—didn’t die in the famous 1934 shootout. Instead, their deaths were faked, and a woman calling herself “Sal” gave the outlaws a second chance at life, saying “This moment is when you get one last chance to rise above your past….I see two people with the unique talents to do a job we need done.” And that job is to prevent Roosevelt’s assassination by wealthy industrialists Percival Stubbs, Angela Dunthorpe, and Archibald Farquist, who oppose FDR’s social welfare plans and have already attempted to kill him. Another attempt is planned, so Bonnie and Clyde—now Brenda and Clarence Prentiss—have 10 days to discover and stop the next assassin. They come up with a dangerous plan to infiltrate the conspirators’ organization, identify the assassin, and keep FDR safe. Along the way, they discover that they enjoy making a difference: “Probably we were fighting against the wrong things before, robbing those little stores and banks,” says Bonnie. Hays and McFall (The Last Sunset, 2016, etc.) make their Depression-era tale timely with reflections on wealthy fat cats and a rigged economic system that still ring true: “ ‘They need us to believe some fairy tale that we can improve our lot if we just work hard enough and save careful enough,’ Bonnie said. ‘But we can’t—not when everything is stacked against us. Not the way things are.’ ” A few references are too contemporary, such as “Trust, but verify,” a Russian proverb made famous by Reagan. Overall, though, Hays and McFall call out authentic historical and biographical details. More than that, the story is an exciting ride, with tight corners, narrow escapes, and real romantic heat between Bonnie and Clyde.
Outlaws become patriots in this imaginative, suspenseful what-if story.