No novel could be more timely than this suspenseful thriller that follows a delusional white supremacist who gathers an army of supporters who seek to turn an East Tennessee community into a bastion of his racist precepts. Antagonism within the community builds as environmental issues compound racial antagonism in ways that reveal many political exigencies until conflict escalates into violence. “Although a deftly crafted work of fiction, How Fire Runs offers a sobering perspective on America today. A compelling and original work… especially and unreservedly recommended for community, college, and university library Contemporary Literary Fiction collections.”—Midwest Book Review. “How Fire Runs in saner times might read as a cautionary tale against the lure of authoritarianism and racist agitators. As it stands, however, the novel instead reads like reportage from the front lines of an increasingly polarized and frightening political and social landscape… White delves headfirst into the difficult questions of how a community must respond to a threat anathema to what they believe.”—Jim Coby. “Moments of introspection from White’s well-delineated characters help How Fire Runs straddle successfully the contingent and the literary, transcending the ‘ripped from the headlines’ nature of many works dealing with political issues. Loss and the need to build an identity through connections that are more intimate than ethnic kinship is a theme that pulsates just as strongly in the personal stories of Kyle, Gavin, and Delilah’s partner, Harrison. Coupled with the tense pacing of a thriller and an apocalyptic ending [that] pits its characters against the fury of nature, White’s novel is an artful and suspenseful page turner.”—Gonzalo Baeza. Charles Dodd White teaches at Pellissippi State in Knoxville. This is his fourth novel.
Athens: Ohio University Press, 2020. 271 pages. Trade paperback.