"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.
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 too settle an old score while Wayne discovers the true cost of his wife's betrayal and his thoughts turn to revenge.
“Len Joy’s Everyone Dies Famous is a clear-eyed examination of how we live in an uncertain world. By creating imminently understandable characters and skillfully linking them to a specific landscape, one that is so evocatively described, he shows us all the ways in which we’re connected, how fragile those threads are. In clear prose, Joy does real work here. I’m grateful for it.” — KEVIN WILSON, author of Nothing to See Here
“Mr. Joy sweeps us headlong into the swirling fury of lives buffeted not only by hail, rain, and wind, but even more so by disappointment, disillusion, and regret. He captures both physical and emotional dread with inexorable intensity.” — JOE KILGORE, author of A Farmhouse in the Rain
“Len Joy renders a small Missouri town full of heartbroken men, deferred dreams, and the kind of haunting regret that shapes lives. Love—complicated love—is frequently the motive behind flawed decisions, spawning consequences for generations. Joy inhabits multiple perspectives, giving us a diverse cast of characters fighting the natural elements outside and inside themselves. Everyone Dies Famous is a true lesson in empathy.” — Anne Elliott, Author of The ArtStars
“In Everyone Dies Famous by Len Joy there’s a storm brewing in Maple Springs, Missouri. The gripping opening charged the entire story with riveting tension. I was enthralled with the ominous undercurrents of what was to come. Joy’s skillfully paced narrative never sagged. The vivid descriptions and sensory details brought this small town and its deeply flawed characters to life. Len Joy is a gifted writer and storyteller. - Gregory Lee Renz, Author of the award-winning novel Beneath the Flames
“Len Joy’s Everyone Dies Famous is a focused novel about regret and redemption. . . . True to life in a small town where everyone knows everyone, or has at least heard rumors about everyone, the story’s complex characters, and their senses of shared history, give the book depth beyond its central disaster story. Nature forces them to focus on the future, especially on rebuilding relationships, and the book’s conclusion is natural.” — Charlene Oldham, Foreward Reviews
“A writer who speaks for the real lives of men. You can have your Italian and Scandinavian contemporary troubadours of modern life. Len Joy knows our American one. Especially, he knows men, and as a woman reader, I like getting inside men’s heads. Strange as they are, they have troubles and desires and they make mistakes, oh boy, and when they figure that out, they have feelings, too. No fancy stuff. No mumble jumble interiority. This is Do Soimething, Find Out What Happens, Deal With It. In his own way, Len Joy is a fifties writer, no fluff; he isn’t exotic. He’s solid Americana.”
— Sandra Scofield, National Book Award Finalist