The time had come, she decided, to rid herself of this burden, to take the steps necessary to put the matter to rest once and for all. And the first step, she knew—against every instinct and desire—was to watch that film.
During the reading of her mother’s will, Sheila Baker discovers that she has inherited everything her parents ever possessed, including their secrets. A mysterious safe-deposit box key leads her to the answers to one of history’s greatest conspiracies: Who killed John F. Kennedy? Not only does she have the missing film, revealing her mother as the infamous babushka lady, but she has proof that there was more than one shooter.
On the run from people who would stop at nothing to keep secrets buried, Sheila turns to billionaire sleuth Jason Hammond for help. Having lost his own family in a tragic plane crash, Jason knows a thing or two about running from the past. With a target on their backs and time running out, can Jason finally uncover the truth behind the crime that shook a generation—or will he and Sheila become its final victims?
Conspiracy theories regarding President Kennedy’s assassination have existed from almost the moment he was killed. Out of the other three presidential assassinations, only that of Abraham Lincoln matches it in notoriety. We can name these two assassins immediately. The other two take a little longer to remember, if we know their names at all. But of the events of November 1963, the biggest question is still did Lee Harvey Oswald act alone?
The theory revealed in Frame 232 is fiction, but compelling nevertheless. It presumes there were three shots and that a second person was involved in the events at Dealey Plaza. This is revealed in the film of the Babushka Lady. In reality, this woman’s identity remains unknown, only adding to the mythos of that day. In Frame 232, her name was Margaret Baker. After she watched her film, she rented a safe-deposit box at a bank where she wasn’t a customer and buried the film reel in it. Forty years later, her daughter Sheila inherits the box and learns her mother’s secret. She turns to billionaire mystery solver Jason Hammond to investigate further. The trail will eventually lead to Havana and a disillusioned Cuban with a story to tell.
This is a cracking, fast-paced novel that I had difficulty putting down. There are multiple characters with their own agendas, but they’re introduced gradually enough that I didn’t have to pause and remember who was who. There were multiple twists and turns; just when I thought I had something figured out, I had to re-evaluate. Yes, there are a couple of plot holes and a scene or two requires a momentary suspension of disbelief, but the same might be said of novels by established secular thriller writers such as Tom Clancy, Brad Thor and Steve Berry. But we want these moments. We want the excitement of the impossible situation. Will the good guys succeed in what they’re trying to do? How will the bad guys attempt to stop them? This is what keeps us turning the page.
I have one final note for my Christian readers. Unlike some books I’ve reviewed, Frame 232 definitely has a Christian component in the form of Jason’s faith struggle. There are, however, a couple of elements which are decidedly non-Christian. There are gun fights and murders, and characters that have few hesitations to kill, or order the killing of, other human beings. One of the bad guys also has a liaison with a prostitute, although there is no description of the activity. Thankfully, the good guys do have scruples and it’s easy to cheer for them while reading this novel.
Thank you to Tyndale House for my free electronic copy of Frame 232 which I downloaded from NetGalley. No review was required.
Publisher: Tyndale House
Publication Date: 21 June 2013
Page Count: 448