That One Cigarette
by Stu Krieger
My rating: 5 stars
Publisher: Harvard Square Editions (November 24, 2017)
Publication Date: November 24, 2017
Genre: Adult Fiction | Alternate History
Print Length: 307 pages
Available from: Amazon
That One Cigarette is a counterfactual history novel following four families, from November of 1963 to January of 2009. In November '63, Ed Callahan is an assistant manager at the Texas School Book Depository in Dallas. His promise to his wife to quit smoking as soon as he finishes the pack in his pocket ends up changing the course of events on November 22. The fallout of this action alters the lives of the Scott family in Rochester, New York, the Kaufman/Goldman family in Los Angeles and the extended Kashat family in Baghdad, Iraq. That One Cigarette delves into questions of fate, love, loyalty, and validates the ability of each of us to make defining contributions to our world by simply being present in our own lives.
That One Cigarette by Stu Krieger
We’ve all thought about it, “What would happen if...?” Stu Krieger not only expands on one small “what if” in history, but he walks us through the lives of four families, separated by distance and culture over four decades and proves that anyone of us no matter how insignificant can alter the lives, history and events of the world around us. And it all began when one man needed that last cigarette on a day in November and his lighter was not in his pocket…and a President didn’t die.
THAT ONE CIGARETTE proves that the power of the Butterfly Effect is in all of us and even the most insignificant action can be felt around the world.
Stu Krieger doesn’t write about celebrities or super heroes, he writes about the average guy on the street, the one we really don’t even notice as we pass by. Ed Callahan promised to stop smoking, but that last cigarette in the pack was calling to be lit and only the lighter given as a gift from his parents would do. It was his journey to one of the upper floors of the Texas School Book Depository to retrieve that lighter that prevented a fellow employee from taking the shot heard around the world and for Ed, the rest, as they say is history.
This isn’t a fast-paced adventure story, it is a story of humanity, of flawed humans and how a seemingly normal action taken within these other families living their day to day lives would all become intertwined in the stream of history as lives are changed, lives are saved and the rest of the world goes on, completely unaware that somewhere, that “butterfly” has just fluttered its wings again. Stu Krieger’s tale is well-written, almost like living a “day in the life” with these characters who are very realistic, very human and very average.
Witness the emotional struggles of these families, realize the changes Stu Krieger presented, none over the top, none overly drastic, but each actually quite fascinating to watch unfold from the safety and anonymity of our favorite reading chair. Think about it, just by existing, aren’t we part of the waves of history that are being created? What if you didn’t just eat the last piece of your child’s Halloween candy?
I received an ARC edition from the author. This is my voluntary review!