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The Spectacular Bets On...

The Spectacular

December 2023

When I heard that Fiona Davis had written a book set at Radio City Music Hall, I decided to hold off on reading it until November when the Christmas Spectacular kicked off there. Pun intended. I am glad I did. THE SPECTACULAR opens in 1956 when 19-year-old Marion Brooks seizes an opportunity and auditions for the Rockettes. And she is selected. Her father, Simon, is furious. He had plans for her --- she would marry her boyfriend, Nathaniel, and they would continue to live in Bronxville. Instead, she moves into a rooming house with other Rockettes and theater folks and embarks on a grueling yet invigorating schedule to perfect the tightly choreographed routines.

Fiona takes us backstage at Radio City, as she has with so many New York City buildings, and gives us the skinny on what goes into creating this on-stage magic. However, she layers in a new element to her historical fiction here --- a mysterious bomber nicknamed the “Big Apple Bomber,” who has been terrorizing the city for 16 years, setting off bombs in landmark NYC locations. One goes off in Radio City with tragic consequences for Marion. But her keen eye also gave her a good look at the bomber, which allows her to give the police details.

A young doctor, Peter Griggs, is brought on the case. He has been working on something very new --- criminal profiling. And from the details he is told, he forms a picture of the bomber’s behavior that they can layer in with Marion’s description. His research is mocked by the police, but when the bomber continues to confound them, they learn that Peter had it right. It is 1992 at the beginning and end of the book, and we learn what has happened to the characters.

I think this is Fiona’s best book. Not only did she undertake a big subject with Radio City Music Hall and the Christmas Spectacular, she also crafted a smart thriller. I have been a fan of her work since her debut, and it’s really lovely when you have an author who ups her game with every book!

The Spectacular
by Fiona Davis

  • Publication Date: June 13, 2023
  • Genres: Fiction, Historical Fiction
  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Dutton
  • ISBN-10: 0593184041
  • ISBN-13: 9780593184042