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Dodging and Burning

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  132 ratings  ·  35 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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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
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?
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,
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
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
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 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!
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 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.
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!
Kristen McQuinn
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
Jun 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
Dodging and Burning is a soulful, mournful tale of people coming of age and grappling with difficult realities of identity, war, and connection. Its twists and turns are unpredictable, but not unbelievably so. It left me sad, but also moved by the connection to the difficult challenges of being "different" in a place and time where different was so alienating.

I loved Copenhaver's descriptions of places. Having grown up in small town rural Appalachia, his description of Royal Oak grabbed at my h
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.
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.

Thomas Garguilo
Jun 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I thoroughly enjoyed Dodging and Burning. I won't repeat what other reviewers have written, except to say... The language and storytelling were lush and beautifully descriptive. Every page created a vivid mental picture of a time and a place that I'd never read about before. The mystery is multilayered and unfolds brilliantly. Clever. Compelling. Creatively woven. I'm looking forward to the author's next novel based on this imaginative debut.
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.
Len Shields
Sep 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was a lovely peice of writing, hard to put down and keeping you guessing what might happen. I liked the characters and you get the feel of a movie in your head. I would describe it as a minor summer flick. That movie would develop a cult following, to be dissected by professors.
Helen Hollick
Sep 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book has received a Discovering Diamonds Review:
Helen Hollick
founder #DDRevs

"Dodging and Burning has some truly lovely writing, filled with deep imagery and complex, living characters. "
Oct 09, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not the story I expected, but a well written World War II era story.
Kylie Gough
Jul 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
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DODGING AND BURNING (Pegasus Crime) is Copenhaver's debut novel. He has been awarded an Artist Fellowship from the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities for four consecutive years. In 2015, he launched and continues to maintain a crime fiction column for the Lambda Literary website called “Blacklight.” His short fiction has appeared in Glitterwolf Magazine, Roanoke Review, and Gaslight, the L ...more