Friday, May 21, 2021

Jake Tapper, CNN anchor, also a novelist with "recent history" based fiction (hard to pull off)


White House, Dec 1, 2007

Jake Tapper, a CNN anchor, is getting quite successful as a novelist, with the second novel in his series of “Charlie and Margaret Marder” mysteries.  The first one had been called “The Hellfire Club”, set in the 1950s, and the sequel now is “The Devil May Dance”, 336 pages, from Little Brown.

The plot gimmick is that Attorney General Robert Kennedy, in 1961, contacts Charlie to infiltrate the “Rat Pack” to see if the mafia has intentions against the president.  Presumably all of this would have to be wrapped up well before Nov. 22, 1963.

There was controversy over the idea that the novel refers to a song with the same title as the book, and there was concern over copyright or trademark, and Tapper had to reassure everyone the song is fictitious.  He also put such disclaimer in the book.  Now, I could compose a song for him and work out a deal.  (I’ve already offered such to the David Pakman show, which was thinking about a musical jingle theme song and then wondered about the legal mess that could result.)

But what’s more remarkable is the idea of constructing an involved historical novel about national security in the past with fictitious characters as well as real people (like Hollywood stars of the day).  I’ve been leery of the idea because, well, the past has already happened and is settled.

Janet Maslin reviews the book in more detail for The New York Times, and mentions some of the problems of the day, such as the military draft.  Kennedy did not believe we could do without it.

I wonder how long the (adaptation) movie deals will take to materialize, and who will do the screenwriting. This material may lend itself more to miniseries treatment (sounds like Netflix).  One particular film pops into mind, "Seven Days in May" (novel by Fletcher Knebel ("The President's Plane Is Missing", which I read in 1971 when I was working for the Navy Dept) and Charles W. Bailey II.  Of course we can wonder about "The Manchurian Candidate" (1962 version, Richard Condon novel).  

The Kennedy assassination event and the period to follow as in some ways uniquely traumatic for me. But that’s another discussion.

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