The Devil May Dance is CNN Anchor Jake Tapper’s second thriller featuring the ficticious Congressman Charlie Marder and his wife Margaret. It easily stands on its own.

Spanning several months in 1962, it is set predominantly in California.

Charlie’s father Winston Marder is in jail. In order to secure his release, Charlie is recruited by none other than Attorney General Robert Kennedy, to cozy up to Frank Sinatra to discover the truth to the entertainer’s ties with the mob.

Charlie has no choice. He and Margaret head to Holllywood under the guise of former military man Charlie being a consultant for Sinatra’s character in the movie The Manchurian Candidate.
All goes well until a body is found in the trunk of Charlie and Margaret’s car; someone to whom Charlie is more connected than he’d care to admit.

While those plots unfold, Margaret catches a glimpse of her runaway niece with a lecherous individual who disappears with Violet when they are seen. Finding her becomes one of the subplots that dramatically intersect at the end.
The Devil May Dance is a veritable who’s who of bigger than life actual people. Anybody who was anybody during the 60s apparently deserves a mention.

That is part of what makes it an interesting draw.

Excited about the prospect of reading a work of fiction involving familiar real characters, knowing their looks, talents and personalities, Tapper’s bringing them to life is very enjoyable.

He does that well. The reader can easily visualize the rich and famous at parties, interacting, and being themselves.
In my opinnion, Charlie and Margaret become more enjoyable than the celebrities. Margaret is fearless, smart and strong. Charlie’s control of his life waxes and wanes, but he still comes out on top.

With the glamor of Hollywood elite, the infamous Rat Pack, charasmatic and crooked politicians, mob hits, scandals, and even the fledgling Church of Scientology, there aren’t any stones left unturned.

With its wide range, and so much happening, the Devil May Dance is a detailed, complex and ambitious novel which takes a while to come together and for this reader to warm up to.

Closer to the end, the plot takes off and the thrill-ride begins. Then, The Devil May Dance is hard to put down as I needed to discover what happened.

Tapper ties everything together and wraps it up very well.

Following the novel, Jake Tapper provides an extensive list of sources and resources which attest to the effort of his undertaking, and his attention to accurate detail regarding actual events and conversations.
Kudos also go to the author for the excellent and very fitting lyrics to The Devil May Dance. Sinatra’s song is definitely a hit.

I would like to resurrect the old crooner and have him sing it himself. It would be perfect.

The Devil May Dance
Jake Tapper
Little, Brown and Company 2021
336 pages

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