11/22/63 by Stephen King
Epping is a thirty-five year-old school teacher in Maine. His friend Al, who owns a small diner, tells Jake that the storeroom of his diner contains a portal to the
past-- to September, 1958. Al says that he's spent the last
four years living back in the late 1950's and early '60s in an effort to
prevent the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Al has a fatal disease now and asks Jake to use the portal to take his place and stop the assassination. Al believes that maybe the Vietnam War may never occur and lots of good will come from this action.
Jake willingly complies and does a test travel where he is able to kill one of his students' father before the father kills everyone else in the family. He comes back to plan with the help of Al's notes and return to 1958 which resets actions. Jake must again kill his student's father and live for the remaining 4 years planning his actions to counter the assassination.
King does a masterful job of setting the scenes with obvious research. Were there conspiracies? Where the book falls short is that Jake was a non-descript person going through the motions of life and all of a sudden is the big hero. He is able to murder with no qualms and seems to handle all the ugliness of the situation having had no prior experience at all. I did enjoy Jake going through the ordinary life of the early 60s. I particularly enjoyed King's take on what would happen if we were able to change past events.