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Len Joy
Everyone Dies Famous
Len Joy, author
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.
Plot/Idea: 8 out of 10
Originality: 8 out of 10
Prose: 9 out of 10
Character/Execution: 9 out of 10
Overall: 8.50 out of 10


Plot: Joy's moving and atmospheric small-town chronicle centers on a broad assortment of effectively drawn characters with believable entanglements, grievances, and conflicts. 

Prose: Joy is a sophisticated storyteller, offering a prose style that is poised, rich, and allows readers to differentiate between characters of focus.

Originality: Stories that create a kaleidoscopic view of small-town life and its struggles are familiar. But Joy's novel succeeds in creating a vibrant picture of a place peopled by individuals with rich interior lives.

Character/Execution: Residents of Maple Springs are distinctive and authentic in their development, with Dancer Stonemason being especially powerful as he grapples with his grief.

Date Submitted: April 10, 2022