The Little Red Mustang

I don’t understand.

For some time now I have been overloaded on my Twitter feed with boring, repetitious encomiums to the recent novel by Jake Tapper, The Hellfire Club. If only for shits and grins, I fully intended to read the novel but if you followed the official and unofficial press you’d be convinced the Tapper’s work was the height of literary accomplishments akin to Tolstoy or Mann.

Tapper has reconstructed the Washington, D. C. scene of the mid-fifties and, as popular novels must therefore do, is full of references to events, sites, and objects that are quintessential 1950s. The right music, the correct fashions, the mixed drinks that would be served, the favored breakfast cereals, and events right out of the newspapers of the day. It provides a nice, easy nostalgic flow the lulls the reader into just the right state for the jarring events suggested as the novel commenced.

But then Senator Strongfellow whips around a corner driving a spiffy red Mustang.


This appears to be an unforgivable gaff. I was sitting in Civics class when the teacher announced he had just bought one of the first on the market 1964 1/2 Ford Mustangs. I turned back to the beginning of the chapter and, sure enough, it was clear in the title that it was March of 1954. My normal action is to defenestrate such books and go find something better to read, but in this digital age, I stopped myself before destroying my computer.

I’m certain this anachronism was caught by the publisher; maybe my edition is an early version. But it reminds me again of the unwritten zero-tolerance rule I have with authors or more properly, editors. That red Mustang is a chasm too wide to ignore.

Should I hit delete or continue reading, hopefully not encountering astronauts strolling on the moon?

5 thoughts on “The Little Red Mustang

    1. It’s more of an entertainment than a novel despite all the praise. The writing is competent but the narrative and plotting is a tad clichéd. If you enjoy political thrillers, an overabundance of historical tokens desperately trying to revive a 1950s vibe, and you fondly remember Estes Kefauver, then it will work for you (but it won’t change your life).

      Borrow it in paperback when it comes out.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Delete it is my vote. Sloppy,or lazy editor. How many more errors abound. Lee Iacocoa put his soul into that car. The best selling sports car of all time.


  2. Oh, my! Even I know that mustangs didn’t come out until ’64. How old was that first editor anyway??

    Better than the pizza ads that haunt me and set me off though.


    1. I used to run around with an editor in NYC. She was disabled and worked from home on the phone verifying everything in a text for accuracy. I understand that this type of editor is no longer common. Think of it: Thomas Wolfe would not succeed in todays world (did he really even succeed in his own world?).

      Liked by 1 person

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