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The third and final installment of the Bonnie and Clyde series by Clark Hays and Kathleen McFall hit bookstores May 23 with an atomic blast.

“Bonnie and Clyde: Radioactive” follows the bank robbers-turned-government secret agents to Richland, Washington, in 1945, during World War II, where they pose as saloon owners in the dusty town that has sprung up around the Manhattan Project. Their regular back-room poker parties feature a collection of people under suspicion of selling the secrets of the project to foreign powers, and it’s the job of the infamous pair to suss out whose arm is being twisted due to a shady past — something all the suspects seem to have.

The action heats up as the body count rises, par for the course in any situation involving the troublemaking twosome. Throw in a pair of Russian circus performers, goons lurking around every corner and a firebomb or two, and it all adds up to business as usual for Bonnie and Clyde.

The new book continues to jump back and forth between Bonnie and Clyde’s exploits on the behalf of the government and the modern-day story of an elderly Bonnie enlisting the help of a newspaper reporter to finally tell the story of what really happened all those years ago — and to discover the real identity of the couple’s handler, Sal. Bonnie and her new cohort travel across the United States in search of clues, followed at every turn by people who don’t want the story to come to light — and will do anything to keep the secret buried.

Will the Russians, the Germans, the Chinese or the Japanese get the plans for the bomb? Will Bonnie and Clyde figure out who’s being blackmailed for the secret? Will Bonnie survive long enough to bring her story full circle?

Hays and McFall have a knack for creating strong, clever female characters paired with steady, supportive (though sometimes clueless) partners. Building an alternate history around two of America’s most notorious criminals, where Bonnie and Clyde’s reluctant participation evolves into active patriotism over the course of the series, is nothing short of incredible.

”Bonnie and Clyde: Radioactive,” by Clark Hays and Kathleen McFall. © 2019, Pumpjack Press.

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