Thanks to Anna Sacca of FSB Associates for inviting me to read and review this book.
ABOUT THE BOOK
As a tornado threatens their town, a stubborn old man who has lost his son teams up with a troubled young soldier to deliver a jukebox to the wealthy developer having an affair with the soldier’s wife.
It’s July 2003 and the small town of Maple Springs, Missouri is suffering through a month-long drought. Dancer Stonemason, a long-forgotten hometown hero still grieving over the death of his oldest son, is moving into town to live with his more dependable younger son. He hires Wayne Mesirow, an Iraq war veteran, to help him liquidate his late son’s business.
The heat wave breaks and the skies darken. Dancer tries to settle an old score while Wyne discovers the true cost of his wife’s indifference and turns his thoughts to revenge. When the tornado hits Maple Springs, only one of the men will make it out alive.
“Everyone Dies Famous” is a story from the heartland about the uncommon lives of everyday people – the choices they make, how they live their lives, and how they die.
When I read this story I was unaware that there had been a previous book about these characters but it didn’t spoil the enjoyment of this story. The story begins at the end after tragedy has struck the small town of Maple Springs, then drops back to fill in the pieces. The story centres around Dancer Stonemason and the events that brought him back to this town and how his decisions that day change the course of other peoples lives as the day goes on.
I liked the laidback pace of the town and getting to know the people. It is weird because knowing at the beginning of the story that some people die feels terribly sad but at that point, I didn’t know those people, by the end I do and the feelings are so much deeper. The author brings this town to life, the way they live, the pace and the hidden hurts that have festered for years because of lack of communication. The things that matter in life.
The author created a perfect atmospheric build-up throughout the book, with the last few chapters being both intense with the characters and the elements. It certainly brought out true heroes and heart in my mouth moments.
If there were any lessons to be learned by this book it is never to take anything or anyone for granted, because you never know if you will see that person again.
I wish to thank NetGalley and the publisher for an e-copy of this book which I have reviewed honestly.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Len Joy had an idyllic childhood, growing up in the gem of the Finger Lakes, Canandaigua, New York. As a typical small town boy, he had a wide range of interests, most involving sports. He lettered in four sports in high school and went off to the University of Rochester with dreams of becoming a football hero and world famous novelist.
Didn’t happen. He switched his major from English to Finance and quit the football team, but started dating one of the cheerleaders – Suzanne Sawada. Three years later they were married, and four decades later, they still are.
They moved to Chicago where Suzanne became a corporate lawyer and Len, with his MBA and CPA, became the auditing manager for U. S. Gypsum. Despite the thrill of auditing gypsum plants, Len found himself wanting a different challenge.
He bought an engine remanufacturing company in Arizona and for fifteen years commuted to Phoenix. Despite the travel, he managed to stay married and have three kids. While flying, he read hundreds of novels, which renewed his dream of becoming a world famous author.
In 2004 he wound down his engine business and started taking writing courses and participating in triathlons.
While world fame remains elusive, Len has made advances in his writing career.
His first novel, AMERICAN PAST TIME was published in 2014. KIRKUS praised it as a “darkly nostalgic study of an American family through good times and bad, engagingly set against major events from the ‘50s to the ‘70s as issues of race simmer in the background…expertly written and well-crafted.”
His second novel, BETTER DAYS (2018) was described by FOREWORD Reviews as “a bighearted, wry, and tender novel that focuses on love and loyalty.” KIRKUS called it “a character-rich skillfully plotted Midwestern drama.”
AMERICAN PAST TIME and BETTER DAYS were awarded the Gold and Silver Medals respectively in the 2019 Readers’ Favorite Award Contest.
Today, Len is a nationally ranked triathlete and competes internationally representing the United States as part of TEAM USA.
His three kids (a son and two daughters) have grown up and moved away, although the daughters return frequently to Evanston to do their laundry and get legal advice from their mother.