First edition cover
|Genre||Black Comedy novel|
|Media type||Print (Hardback, Paperback)|
|LC Class||PZ4.C746 Wi PS3553.O487|
|Preceded by||Arigato (1972)|
|Followed by||The Star-Spangled Crunch (1974)|
Winter Kills is a black comic novel written in 1974 by Richard Condon exploring the assassination of a U.S. President. The novel parallels the death of John F. Kennedy and the conspiracy theories about it.
The novel begins with U.S. President Timothy Kegan already having been assassinated in Philadelphia at Hunt Plaza. The ensuing presidential commission condemns a lone gunman as the killer. The narrative starts years later, when Kegan's half-brother, Nick, witnesses the death-bed confession of a man claiming to have been part of the killing's 'hit squad'. As the protagonist attempts to uncover those behind it, he encounters numerous groups and persons that could have led or been part of the conspiracy. One is Lola Camonte, a hostess, lobbyist and fixer. She recounts the story of President Kegan asking her about appointing a member of organized crime to the Court of St. James's. The character "Joe Diamond" is the fictional representation of the killer of Kennedy's alleged assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, the Mob-connected Dallas nightclub owner Jack Ruby.
Condon's book describes numerous intertwined threads, variously implicating (or proffered as diversions to put the protagonist off the trail) the Jewish/Italian-American Mob, figures related to Cuba, even possible domestic police connections. Only in the final act, in which Nick meets with his vicious and perverse Joseph P. Kennedy-like 'father-figure', is the truth revealed with a twist ending implicating the "system" of interrelated interests embracing Organized crime, the U.S. covert world, Big Business, and political fixers.
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