They can't all be gems, so here's a review that I did for the Herald back in 2000, assigned by former books editor, the great Margaria Fichtner. I didn't hold it against her, though...
The Shot. Philip Kerr. Pocket. 384 pages.
BY RICHARD PACHTER
published 5/14/01 in The Miami Herald
More Kennedy-era conspiracies, this time with a half-Cuban, Miami-based assassin; an FBI-Mafia partnership; a relentless tracker and lots of early 1960s atmospherics. And this time, all for naught.
British novelist Philip Kerr attempts fresh explanations and scores a few points for originality and research in The Shot, but his prose is ham-handed and clunky, with startlingly inauthentic dialog. Kerr is too clever by half; the result borders on satire.
The action starts in Buenos Aires, then shifts from Miami to New York to Massachusetts just after JFK's election. The Mafia wants Castro killed, but the hired shooter's wife enjoys kinky sex with JFK. He hears a tape of the tryst (don't ask) and decides to hit Kennedy instead of Fidel.
The book's improbable plot churns well beyond the reader's ability to suspend disbelief. Kerr further blows it with overlong expository speeches and inappropriate or decades-ahead-of-its time slang; Mafia soldiers and FBI men (or any Americans other than characters played by John Wayne or Gary Cooper) don't "reckon," and no one "partied" in 1960, to name two examples. Add several Britishisms, and the illusion is irreparably shattered.
Kerr has his Miami geography nailed down pretty well, along with late-1960 TV listings and football schedules. He also resurrects several familiar criminal types, such as Sam Giancana and Johnny Roselli, to interact with his characters. But none of these trudging cardboard cutouts is particularly well drawn.
Even the book's execution scenes, often a high point of thriller fiction, are only disgusting here, unless I'm misinterpreting the subtle symbolism of murder by rectal suppository.
The Shot misfires.