Hard-boiled crime novel, exploring ’80s films
“Burn What Will Burn”
by CB McKenzie
After his wife drowns in a bathtub, a death in which he may have been complicit, Bob Reynolds retreats to a tiny town in the wilds of the Ozark Mountains to hide and nurse his wounds.
There, he sets up housekeeping in a rustic cabin where he raises chickens, writes poetry and lives off a sizeable family inheritance. But if his plan was to live a simple life, he picked the wrong place.
First, Reynolds finds himself inexplicably drawn to Tammy Fay Smith, an incompetent automobile mechanic with needle tracks on her arms. And then, on one of his long walks along Little Piney Creek, he finds a decaying body bobbing face down in the water.
But when Reynolds returns to the scene with Sheriff Sam Baxter, the body has disappeared.
As Reynolds pokes into the mystery, he accidentally entangles himself in a web of dark, small-town secrets that the locals never want to see exposed. And he soon finds himself both suspected of murder and in danger of becoming the next victim.
The result is a suspenseful, hard-boiled crime novel filled with well-drawn, quirky characters and written in a tight, literary prose style.
“Burn What Will Burn” is CB McKenzie’s second novel following his 2014 debut, “Bad Country,” which won the Tony Hillerman Prize and was a finalist for the Edgar Award.
— Bruce DeSilva
“Life Moves Pretty Fast”
by Hadley Freeman
(Simon & Schuster)
Hadley Freeman’s ability to explore social guidelines from beloved ‘80s movies is addicting. She analyzes story lines and plot points from films that molded an entire generation, forcing those who grew up with these characters to take a deeper look at why they fell in love with them in the first place. Freeman provides a personalized guide into this phenomenon in “Life Moves Pretty Fast.”
Admitting that “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” was her gateway drug into the world of popular ’80s movies, Freeman proves she’s a bona fide connoisseur of the genre. She tackles the topics of first love, teenage angst, manly bonding, social classes and race using a variety of revered film examples, including “The Princess Bride,” “Dirty Dancing,” “Ghostbusters,” “Back to the Future” and anything starring Eddie Murphy.
This includes an entire section dedicated to John Hughes. If anyone defined a generation, it was this man and his muse, Molly Ringwald. “Pretty in Pink” and “The Breakfast Club” taught the misfits of the world that being different doesn’t mean you have to be a pushover. Freeman also discusses the probability of such films being produced today.
“Life Moves Pretty Fast” is a delightful collection of humorous, witty and sometimes poignant life lessons. It’s smart, clever and creative, much like the films on which it is based.
— Lincee Ray
Week ending June 12.
1. “End of Watch” by Stephen King (Scribner)
2. “The Emperor’s Revenge” by Clive Cussler and Boyd Morrison (G.P. Putnam’s Sons)
3. “After You” by Jojo Moyes (Viking Dorman)
4. “The House of Secrets” by Brad Meltzer and Tod Goldberg (Grand Central Publishing)
5. “Before the Fall” by Noah Hawley (Grand Central Publishing)
6. “15th Affair” by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro (Little, Brown)
7. “The Last Mile” by David Baldacci (Grand Central Publishing)
8. “Dishonorable Intentions” by Stuart Woods (G.P. Putnam’s Sons)
9. “All Summer Long” by Dorothea Benton Frank (William Morrow)
10. “The Nest” by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney (Ecco)
1. “Bill O’Reilly’s Legends and Lies: The Patriots” by David Fisher (Holt)
2. “Hamilton: The Revolution” by Miranda/McCarter (Grand Central Publishing)
3. “Grit” by Angela Duckworth (Scribner)
4. “When Breath Becomes Air” by Paul Kalanithi (Random House)
5. “But What If We’re Wrong?” by Chuck Klosterman (Blue Rider)
6. “Grunt” by Mary Roach (Norton)
7. “The Gene: An Intimate History” by Siddhartha Mukherjee (Scribner)
8. “Valiant Ambition” by Nathaniel Philbrick (Harper)
9. “Cravings” by Chrissy Teigen (Clarkson Potter)
10. “Tribe” by Sebastian Junger (Twelve)
— Publishers Weekly