cover image Dodging and Burning

Dodging and Burning

John Copenhaver. Pegasus Crime, $25.95 (384p) ISBN 978-1-68177-659-0

Complex and multilayered, Copenhaver’s outstanding debut combines a murder mystery with a coming-of-age tale. In 2000, Bunny Prescott, a mystery author living in Washington, D.C., receives an old crime scene photo in the mail from an anonymous source. The photo, which she recognizes, moves her to get back in touch with a person she knew long ago, Ceola Bliss. Flash back to the summer of 1945 in Royal Oak, Va. Jay Greenwood, a wounded soldier and avid photographer, shows Bunny, then 18, and Ceola—the 12-year-old sister of his best friend, Robbie, who died in WWII—a picture he took of a dead woman he found in the woods outside Royal Oak. When the three go look for the body, they find only a pair of bloody shoes. Jay’s connecting the photo to a missing woman in a nearby town raises more questions that Jay is hesitant to answer. Copenhaver’s darkly lyrical exploration into the consequences of war—and prejudice—in small-town America will resonate with readers long after the last page is turned. Agent: Annie Bomke, Annie Bomke Literary. (Mar.)