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A native of Texas, Clark Hays spent his early childhood there and then moved for a decade with his family around the world following the job of his father, a legendary wildcat petroleum drilling engineer, before finally landing on a Montana ranch. Kathleen McFall was born and raised in Washington, D.C.
Between the two of them, the authors have worked in writing jobs ranging from cowboy-poet to energy journalist to restaurant reviewer to university press officer. After they met in the early 1990s, their writing career took center stage when they wrote the first book in The Cowboy and the Vampire Collection as a test for marriage. They passed. Their debut novel was picked up by Llewellyn (St. Paul, MN) with a first edition published in 1999, making it among the earliest stories in the resurgence and reimagining of the undead myth for modern audiences.
Since then, Hays and McFall have published five novels together—the latest reimagines the life of the legendary outlaws Bonnie and Clyde.
The pair have won several writing awards, including a Pushcart Prize nomination (Hays) and a fiction fellowship from Oregon Literary Arts (McFall). Their books have been honored with a Best Books of 2014 by Kirkus Reviews, Best Books of 2016 by IndieReader, and a 2017 Silver IPPY Medalist.
Clark Hays and Kathleen McFall
Bonnie and Clyde: Resurrection Road
Paperback, 978-0997411331 (also available as ebook), 308 pages, $15.95
This new take on the 1934 deaths of Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow is a fast-moving action-thriller rich with mystery, socio-political commentary, and lingering questions that set up a path for a possible sequel.
“What if?” is one of mankind’s oldest ways to launch a story. Yet, certain aspects of Bonnie and Clyde: Resurrection Road fit right into today’s contentious news headlines.
What if Bonnie and Clyde had not been killed by Texas and Louisiana lawmen in that infamous ambush that left two bodies riddled with rifle, pistol and machine gun bullets, plus shotgun pellets? What if they had been pulled out of their car before the ambush, gassed into unconsciousness and replaced by a pair of lookalikes who had no idea they were about to die a couple of minutes later and be buried as “Bonnie” and “Clyde”?
And what if the real Bonnie and Clyde now found themselves being given exactly one chance to gain new lives and new identities, but only if they helped a shadowy federal agency prevent the assassination of a very high-ranking government official essential to the success of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal? And if they said no or failed to accomplish the mission? They would be killed and their family members jailed.
In this fanciful, well-written novel, Clyde immediately wants to trick the mysterious government agency. He wants to escape with the offered money and new weapons, get the Barrow gang together again, pull off a few more holdups and flee to Mexico or Canada. But Bonnie recognizes their chance to have better, more honorable lives, a chance to buy a house, settle down and live in safe obscurity, shielded by their new identities. She tells Clyde: “You can be a nickel-and-dime crook until they shoot you down for real….But I’m going to take this chance, for us and for our kinfolks.”
As the story continues, Bonnie and Clyde—or rather Brenda and Clarence Prentiss—repeatedly must rescue each other from possible death. And, repeatedly, they prove their trust and love for each other against a backdrop where wealthy, powerful forces in Washington, D.C., desperately do not want to be taxed to help America’s jobless and homeless stay alive.
Nothing more of this novel’s clever, entertaining story should be revealed here. Suffice it to say that “Brenda and Clarence” get themselves into situations where their quick-getaway driving and shooting skills once again are put to the test. They also get tangled up in messes that are much bigger and more complicated than they faced when they robbed and killed their way around Texas and nearby states.
The writing often is fast-paced—indeed, it seems to race ahead of itself on a few occasions. Speed readers sometimes may have to stop, back up, and re-read a previous sentence or paragraph that flowed by too fast. But the book has been well edited, and no typos intrude.
Clark Hays and Kathleen McFall previously co-authored an award-winning, best-selling set of four books known as The Cowboy and the Vampire Collection.
Bonnie and Clyde: Resurrection Road is an absorbing, danger-rich thrill ride through some of the worst days of America’s Great Depression and troubled early months of FDR’s New Deal.
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