Revenge at Dealey Plaza by William E. Dempsey


revengeA part of the Mike Stafford Novel Series, Revenge at Dealey Plaza by William E. Dempsey begins with the infamous and unforgettable “shot heard around the world.” In Dallas, Texas, on Friday, November 22nd, 1963—in Dealey Plaza, to be precise—Lee Harvey Oswald committed the highest form of treason when he assassinated President John F. Kennedy. Quickly, though, the narrative rewinds to a couple of days prior to this monumental occurrence to trail the incidences that snowballed into the killing of Kennedy. Of course, it should be disclaimed that this is a work of fiction, one that posits (as many have theorized over the past fifty-three years) that Oswald did not act alone. In response to this tragic event, the CIA’s Domestic Operations Division’s Chief David Montoya enlists the expertise of Mike Staffors and Félix Molina to discern who, exactly, was behind the Kennedy assassination. Though Mike Stafford feels a bit weathered by time and his experiences with the CIA, he maintains a hardboiled determination and the dogged stick-to-itiveness when it comes to investigating the three possible culprits: Russia (Nikita Khrushchev), Cuba (Fidel Castro), and finally, La Cosa Nostra (the Mafia). He and Félix overturn every rock and inspect every possible angle to arrive at some interesting conclusions about Oswald’s motives—as well as the reasoning behind Jack Ruby’s subsequent shooting of Lee Harvey Oswald. Beyond the investigation, the novel also gives treatment to Mike Stafford’s personal entanglements.

All in all, Revenge at Dealey Plaza is a deeply satisfying, interesting dive into the enigma surrounding the notorious Kennedy assassination. Fans of historical fiction will delight at the extreme attention to detail that William E. Dempsey pays throughout the novel. The author’s personal experience with the CIA as a liaison has certainly informed his perspective, but clearly significant research has been put into perfecting even the most minute of details both real and fictionalized. Aside from weaving an intricate tale peppered with fascinating facts and realistic embellishments, Dempsey manages to enrapture the reader with his particular style. He paints an incredibly vivid picture and is able to nail down life-like dialogue that’s never stilted or seemingly inauthentic. From beginning to end, Revenge at Dealey Plaza grabs the attention of readers and refuses to let go until the very last sentence in the epilogue. Even if you have yet to pick up a Mike Stafford novel (there are a few that precede this one), you’ll be able to jump right into Revenge at Dealey Plaza and not miss a beat. And if you’re at all interested in well-written historical fiction, then this novel is a solid pick that deftly balances fact and fiction to make the distinction almost indiscernible.

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