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Dodging and Burning

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  205 ratings  ·  53 reviews
A lurid crime scene photo of a beautiful woman arrives on mystery writer Bunny Prescott's doorstep with no return address—and it's not the first time she's seen it. The reemergence of the photo, taken fifty-five years earlier, sets her on a journey to reconstruct the vicious summer that changed her life.

In the summer of 1945, Ceola Bliss is a lonely twelve-year-old tomboy,
Kindle Edition, 288 pages
Published March 6th 2018 by Pegasus Books
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Average rating 3.82  · 
Rating details
 ·  205 ratings  ·  53 reviews

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Katie McGuire
I've had to sit with this one for a little bit before diving into my review. Full disclosure: I had the privilege of acquiring and editing this moving, mysterious, fantastic novel. To that end, I've had a lot to mull over since first reading it in one feverish evening over a year ago. Every draft has brought new wonder, and I consider myself more than lucky to have gotten to work with John in the final fine-tuning of his story.

On the surface, this is a mystery. Was there an abduction? A murder?
Jun 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, 2018, debuts
I received John Copenhaver's debut novel in my March PageHabit box. I have to admit I was disappointed at first. Dodging and Burning flew under my radar. I had never heard of John Copenhaver. But here I had this book gathering dust on my shelves. That is until Amberly from The Life of a Book Addict picked this book for me. YAY! Thanks so much Amberly!!!

Dodging and Burning is not merely a mystery. It is a bildungroman that highlights social convention and women's roles. It is an historical fictio
Jul 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
It's hilarious that you can review your own book on Goodreads. I wonder if authors, many books in, will look back on their oeuvre and reassess it on social media.

Methinks, not. : )
Apr 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
A well-written mystery that paints a fascinating picture of small town life in the 1940s. Copenhaver skillfully balances the novel’s alternating perspectives. The reader is compelled forward not just by the central mystery, but also by the deep characterization.
Ariana Fae
Aug 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing

When I began reading John Copenhaver’s DODGING AND BURNING, his language and the way he started the story to me were reminiscent of To Kill A Mockingbird. And like To Kill A Mockingbird this story is about love, family, friendships, and coming of age.

Copenhaver’s writing is beautiful, descriptive and lush, and like the cicadas you hear in the hot summer months, his words slowly lull and hypnotise you. He introduces you to two vastly different characters,
31st Annual Lambda Literary Award Finalist

Wow. A list price $27.55, but it is a good deal for $22.55 at the moment. As a kindle edition.
I don't remember EVER to purchase an ebook under 300 pages for over 20€. It has to be VERY good. By all respect, why a kindle edition is more expansive than a hardcover?!
Matthew Galloway
Sometimes it is incredibly hard to write these without spoilers... particularly for a mystery.

So, I kind of love this and was kind of incredibly irritated by this. There’s a theme here that has been regaining popularity over the last couple years in thrillers and mysteries. It’s one that often makes me angry. I am sort of disappointed to see it here... but not near as much as I would be normally. The author just does such a good job of making it natural. If there weren’t a larger body of litera
George Lichman
Mar 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A powerfully moving story about loves, lies, and secrets in post-WWII America. What seems acceptable today was not the case in 1943. Two men in love, parents sending a son to war to conceal what can’t be hidden. And hope that lasts a lifetime for a missing brother.

This story is about more than I can attempt to convey in a review, a weight I expect could take days to set in. Its twisted road will drive readers to an ending that was hopeful and tragic, making clear only that war is hell, society
Sue D.
Mar 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a sad but compelling, well written, and complex novel. It was not at all the story I thought it was going to be when I began reading it. I thought it was a World War II-era mystery, but it was much more than that. It was also a coming-of-age story, an exploration of the trauma caused by war on soldiers and their families, and an exploration of the difficulties facing homosexuals during that era. All these themes are interwoven with the murder mystery, which includes a tragic and emotiona ...more
Annie Bomke
Feb 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is so complex, I don't even know where to begin. It's a coming of age story of two very different women; it's a gorgeous portrayal of the 1940s; it's a psychological detective story; and a deep investigation into the nature of guilt and how we express it, all wrapped inside a page-turning mystery.

The voices of the characters are rich with longing and emotion, and the mystery kept me guessing till the shocking ending.

I absolutely love this book and I'd recommend it to anyone!
Jun 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I probably wouldn't have read this if it hadn't been nominated for an Anthony. I would have missed a very good book and an author to watch. Excellent.
Jun 12, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018-books
This is a bit of a hybrid book- a mystery, a coming of age story and a story within a story. It is set during the last 2 years of World War II in a small Virginia town, and told through the eyes of 12 year old Ceola who is very much adrift after her brother has been killed in the Pacific. Her parents are devastated and her home is now a miserable place to live, as her mother is sad and angry and her father is mostly in a drunken stupor. She spends her days with her brother's best friend trying t ...more
May 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
It seems fitting that I would finish this novel the same day I went and watched Sunset Blvd in theaters. I have seen the films many times but upon this watching, I was blown away to realize that the storytelling device used in the movie is similar to that of the film. Instead of having the dead person narrate the story, we instead get Bunny and Ceole, two of the man characters involved in the mystery of the tale.

Copenhaver does a wonderful job of weaving a story told between two vastly differen
Matthew Jepsen
Jan 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
See my MysteryPeople review! And interview!
May 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: wilkes
Dodging and Burning is a beautifully written, intricately plotted novel. Set in post-World War II rural Virginia and Washington, DC, it tells a story of self discovery and acceptance as Ceola and Bunny are drawn into Jay's secret, which he desperately wants to share with both of them. It reminds us that, in the not-so-distant past, being gay was a crime and coming out could result in death. I can't even imagine what it must have been like to be a gay soldier or sailor during WWII.
Jun 23, 2018 rated it it was ok
I wanted to like this book, but I just didn't...liked the gay content and the period details, but wound
up sort of wishing I had not bothered to finish it. Perhaps because the story is built on a bunch of lies to the two female characters. They may be justified in terms of the era, but I didn't like all the manipulation we were put through as readers. Meh.
May 01, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Finally! A legitimate mystery book for the Page Habit "Mystery" subscription! The writing reminded me of a grown-up Nancy Drew/Hardy Boys/Trixie Belden sort of thing -- really good, with the "twists" not being super unbelievable, and the action not being outrageous. A quick read, easy to get sucked in but equally easy to put down. Perfect for a traveling weekend.
May 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Gonna read again!

Great read. 📕 this went to quickly! So, in case I missed something_ gonna re-read!! True to life!! Will be hoping for another authored book!
May 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely definitely worth the read!
Jackie Rogers
Apr 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a well written novel. Also very sad. Nothing uplifting about this story. The characters caused me to love some and hate others. Takes place in 1940's So is also historical fiction. Find it weighing heavy on me as I just finished it. Thanks to Goodreads.
Apr 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Ooooooo....this was a good mystery!
Copenhaver’s debut novel gives readers a gorgeous, critical look at the LGBTQ community in post-WWII society, revolving around a murder. In Royal Oak, VA, three friends - Jay Greenwood, Bunny Prescott, and Ceola Bliss - spend the summer of 1945 trying to solve the apparent murder of a young woman who Jay photographed. As they investigate, it becomes clear that there is layer upon layer of deceit involving Jay, the woman in the photo, and Ceola’s brother, who had gone missing in action in the Pac ...more
Set in the latter days of WW2 in a small mid-American town, the novel is told, in alternate chapters, by 12 year-old Ceola and 18 year-old Bunny. Their common fascination is with Jay, who has returned from the war permanently injured. Ceola's brother - and Jay's contemporary - is Robbie who has been listed as MIA. This has had the effect of emotionally shutting down Cee's parents. As the novel moves forward, Jay is gradually revealed to play the role of puppet-master; guiding and cajoling both C ...more
Apr 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 06, 2019 rated it liked it
I really do not know what to make of this book. In one sense, I think it would have helped had I read a synopsis ahead of time. I never read anything about a book before I read it, as I don't want any spoilers of any kind. In this instance, perhaps knowing more about the story would have led to less disappointment. To me, it really isn't that much of a mystery/crime fiction per se. I would label it more historical fiction. The mystery was all a hoax, and much of the story not all that surprising ...more
Sep 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I first heard about this book at Bouchercon last year during a section call author speed dating. That is when the author is given 2 minute to tell what their book is about. Mr Copenhaver gave such a interesting description it went to my to be read pile.
I just finished the book and it certainly kept me guessing to the end. The story wove together the lives of so many characters and how they were intertwined together through love, sorrow, acceptance or the lack of and societies expectations.
The b
Mar 02, 2018 rated it liked it
Dodging and Burning is several types of books wrapped into one. It's a pulp detective, coming of age, historical fiction, modern mystery all at the same time.

One summer, the lives of Bunny and Ceole were changed. Jay Greenwood changed both of their lives, and brought them into a world that neither imagined. This is a book that deals with loss, guilt and unraveling of who a person truly is.

It's a lonely book. Everyone has their own secrets.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportun
Brian Williams
This book deals with a couple of gay men in love with one another in 1940's Virginia. One is (perhaps) killed overseas in the war (it's never clear what has really happened to him) and the other dies in tragic circumstances in Virginia. The story is told by others in alternating chapters and interspersed there's a short pulp mystery story written by one of the men. It's an easy read on the surface, but will ultimately take some reflection to understand the broader story. A sad tale.

Apr 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
It's hard to describe this book because it's so many things. I chose it for our my mystery book club, and it started as a mystery, but it became much more than a mystery. I enjoyed it although I was often confused by who was talking and had to turn back to the beginning to the chapter to double check. And living in Spartanburg, I was happy to see the mention of Camp Croft. I look forward to more books by Copenhaver.
Rita	 Marie
Jun 09, 2018 rated it it was ok
DNF at about 35%. Too many different points of view, too many different time periods and places. What's going on? When are we? Where are we? Who's speaking? I thought the problem would clear up as I got further into the book and more familiar with the characters, but it didn't. Crazy jumping around.
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John Copenhaver’s historical crime novel, Dodging and Burning, won the 2019 Macavity Award for Best First Mystery Novel and garnered Anthony, Strand Critics, Barry, and Lambda Literary Award nominations. It received a Publishers Weekly starred review, and Library Journal starred review and Debut of the Month. The Associated Press calls it “a riveting debut,” and BOLO Books: “A masterwork of tone a ...more

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