Independence Day weekend, 1960: a young cop is murdered in Stamford, Connecticut. More than sixty years later, journalist Lisa Belkin explores the paths of the three men whose lives collide on that summer night.
How did one grandson of immigrants become the cop, one his killer, and one her stepfather — a doctor who inadvertently set this shooting into motion? Her canvas is large, spanning the first half of the 20th century: immigration, religion, prison reform, medical experiments, the nature/nurture debate, even the infamous Leopold and Loeb case, and history of motorcycle racing.
It is also intimate: looking into the workings of the mind and heart, as each family — one Irish, one Italian, one Jewish — experience the obstacles thrown in the way of immigrants pursuing the “American Dream”.
Following these threads to their tragic outcome in July 1960 and beyond, Belkin examines the coincidences and choices that led to one fateful night. The result is a brilliantly researched, narratively ingenious story, which illuminates how we shape history even as we are shaped by it.