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Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
Burn What Will Burn

Burn What Will Burn

A Novel

C.B. McKenzie

Minotaur Books

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"Burn What Will Burn is a gritty, gripping mystery and an enthralling character study of its poet-protagonist, who is self-exiled and bedeviled by the locals, the summer Arkansas heat, and his own past. I was hooked by sentence one and burned right through the pages."—Michael Kardos, author of Before He Finds Her

Bob Reynolds doesn't recognize the body in the creek, but he does recognize the danger of it. He's a newcomer to town, not entirely welcome, and not entirely on good footing with the sheriff. So far he's kept his head down, mostly over the bar at the Crow's Nest. But he has interests other than drinking and spending his inheritance, including one that goes by the name Tammy Fay Smith and who may have caught the sheriff's eye as well.

Reynolds would rather pretend he never saw the body, but when it disappears, he begins to doubt what little he knew about this secretive town, a town that seems to become more unwelcoming by the day. Try as he might, he just can't forget the body, despite the advice he's been given to do so, and despite the evidence to suggest that he might be disappearing himself soon enough.

Following his acclaimed, award-winning debut, Burn What Will Burn confirms CB McKenzie as a one-of-a-kind crime novelist with an unforgettably original voice.

CHAPTER 1



The body floated stubbornly in The Little Piney Creek, one and four tenths miles of graded dirt almost due south on Poe County Road 615 from my place, what used to be the Old Duncan Place.

I had stopped my morning...

Praise for Burn What Will Burn

"A suspenseful, hard-boiled crime novel filled with well-drawn, quirky characters and written in a tight, literary prose style." —Associated Press

“It’s atmospheric to the nth degree, with prose that borders on poetry and a story that will put you off traveling south of the Mason-Dixon Line, perhaps forever.” —Bookpage

"Every one of [McKenzie's] characters is tilted just a little to the left of normal. That, along with his poetic but gritty writing, will capture readers at first sentence." —Mystery Scene

"Evil comes in all shapes and sizes, and McKenzie gets the best out of that premise in this chilling portrayal of murder and mayhem. Careful development of each personality adds an outstanding facet to the story." —RT Book Review

Following the Edgar Award–nominated Bad Country, McKenzie takes another fascinating look at life in rural America. The lyrical writing balances out the bleakness of his ­protagonist’s existence." —Library Journal

"Thematically very different than McKenzie's outstanding first novel (Bad Country, 2014). But the prose is just as pure and the story just as riveting." —Kirkus Reviews

"Burn What Will Burn is a natural successor to Bad Country, and it will scorch the literary landscape with perfectly structured sentences and blistering prose." —Matthew McBride, author of A Swollen Red Sun

“There’s a tightness to life in a small town—part of it is fierce loyalty, part long memory. In Burn What Wi… More…

"A suspenseful, hard-boiled crime novel filled with well-drawn, quirky characters and written in a tight, literary prose style." —Associated Press

“It’s atmospheric to the nth degree, with prose that borders on poetry and a story that will put you off traveling south of the Mason-Dixon Line, perhaps forever.” —Bookpage

"Every one of [McKenzie's] characters is tilted just a little to the left of normal. That, along with his poetic but gritty writing, will capture readers at first sentence." —Mystery Scene

"Evil comes in all shapes and sizes, and McKenzie gets the best out of that premise in this chilling portrayal of murder and mayhem. Careful development of each personality adds an outstanding facet to the story." —RT Book Review

Following the Edgar Award–nominated Bad Country, McKenzie takes another fascinating look at life in rural America. The lyrical writing balances out the bleakness of his ­protagonist’s existence." —Library Journal

"Thematically very different than McKenzie's outstanding first novel (Bad Country, 2014). But the prose is just as pure and the story just as riveting." —Kirkus Reviews

"Burn What Will Burn is a natural successor to Bad Country, and it will scorch the literary landscape with perfectly structured sentences and blistering prose." —Matthew McBride, author of A Swollen Red Sun

“There’s a tightness to life in a small town—part of it is fierce loyalty, part long memory. In Burn What Will Burn, small town life is rendered a snake-pit where self-interest and self-preservation inform every action. Our guide through the backwaters, diners, and abandoned cabins is Bob Reynolds, a fish-out-of-water weirdly suited to his search for truth in a verdant hollow of lies. CB McKenzie builds a world so compelling that the Little Piney Creek showed up in my dreams. I loved every page.” —Christian Kiefer, author of The Animals

“Poe County has plenty to hide, but newcomer Bob Reynolds is interested only in drinking away his inheritance at the Crow's Nest. That is until he discovers a dead body afloat in nearby creek. And steals something from it. A bleary-eyed and sharp-tongued philosopher-poet, Reynolds proves the perfect guide to the hollers and dirt roads of Poe County, where a crisis greets him at every turn, and the secrets hang as thick as the shadows. I'm already looking forward to going back there.” —Bill Loehfelm, author of Doing the Devil’s Work

“Written in richly poetic language and infused with sly humor, CB McKenzie's brooding, gothic tale of eccentric characters set in backwoods Arkansas will appeal to readers of Daniel Woodrell and Joe Lansdale.” —Terry Shames, author of The Necessary Murder of Nonie Blake

Burn What Will Burn is a gritty, gripping mystery and an enthralling character study of its poet-protagonist, who is self-exiled and bedeviled by the locals, the summer Arkansas heat, and his own past. I was hooked by sentence one and burned right through the pages.” —Michael Kardos, author of Before He Finds Her

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Reviews from Goodreads

C.B. McKenzie

CB MCKENZIE is the author of Bad Country, which won the Tony Hillerman Prize and the Spur Award from the Western Writers of America and was named a finalist for the Edgar and Shamus Awards for Best First Novel. A graduate of Arkansas Tech University, he lives on the Slow Coast of California when he's not traveling.

image of C. B. McKenzieo
Kimberly Adilia Helmer

Minotaur Books

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