The 50th anniversary of the assassination of U.S. President John F. Kennedy next November is expected to see a flood of new works on that topic. Two alternative history novels have already appeared on this theme. In Stephen King’s “11/22/63: A Novel” (Scribner), Maine high school teacher Jake Epping finds a portal by which he can travel back in time to 1958.
Determined to change history and spare Americans the anguish of losing their beloved president, Jake goes to Texas and bides his time for the next five years until he can stop Lee Harvey Oswald from slaying JFK. In “The Third Bullet” (Simon and Schuster) — a reference to the head shot that fatally wounded JFK — Stephen Hunter weaves his expert knowledge of firearms and forensics into a thriller with a chillingly plausible new explanation for how the killing occurred.