Bonnie and Clyde: Reviews and media kit
Saving democracy, one bank robbery at a time
Media and trade reviews
A taut, fast-paced, fun read
Bonnie and Clyde: Portland authors Clark Hays and Kathleen McFall have launched a new alternate-history series centered on an intriguing question: What if the outlaw couple Bonnie and Clyde weren't gunned down in 1934, but were instead kidnapped by a secret organization that wanted to ensure the New Deal overcame bitter opposition from the 1 percent? "Bonnie and Clyde: Resurrection Road" (Pumpjack Press, 308 pages, $15.95) is a taut, fast-paced, fun read that cuts agilely back and forth between the anti-heroes' Depression-era escapades and a modern-day reporter trying to revive his career with a big scoop, all while addressing serious topics such as income inequality.
THE OREGONIAN (MAY 19, 2017)
Outlaws become patriots in this imaginative, suspenseful what-if story.
In this novel, Bonnie’s and Clyde’s deaths are faked so that they can save President Franklin D. Roosevelt from an assassin.
In 1984, a Texas newspaperman named Royce Jenkins, who typically covers obituaries and cattle shows, gets the scoop of a lifetime: the true story of Bonnie and Clyde, who—the woman claiming to be Bonnie says—didn’t die in the famous 1934 shootout. Instead, their deaths were faked, and a woman calling herself “Sal” gave the outlaws a second chance at life, saying “This moment is when you get one last chance to rise above your past….I see two people with the unique talents to do a job we need done.”
And that job is to prevent Roosevelt’s assassination by wealthy industrialists Percival Stubbs, Angela Dunthorpe, and Archibald Farquist, who oppose FDR’s social welfare plans and have already attempted to kill him. Another attempt is planned, so Bonnie and Clyde—now Brenda and Clarence Prentiss—have 10 days to discover and stop the next assassin. They come up with a dangerous plan to infiltrate the conspirators’ organization, identify the assassin, and keep FDR safe.
Along the way, they discover that they enjoy making a difference: “Probably we were fighting against the wrong things before, robbing those little stores and banks,” says Bonnie. Hays and McFall (The Last Sunset, 2016, etc.) make their Depression-era tale timely with reflections on wealthy fat cats and a rigged economic system that still ring true: “ ‘They need us to believe some fairy tale that we can improve our lot if we just work hard enough and save careful enough,’ Bonnie said. ‘But we can’t—not when everything is stacked against us. Not the way things are.’ ” A few references are too contemporary, such as “Trust, but verify,” a Russian proverb made famous by Reagan.
Overall, though, Hays and McFall call out authentic historical and biographical details. More than that, the story is an exciting ride, with tight corners, narrow escapes, and real romantic heat between Bonnie and Clyde.
KIRKUS REVIEWS (Issue May 1, 2017)
The authors' signature blend of sex, danger and intrigue, coupled with just the right dose of cheeky humor, is along for the ride.
In the depths of the Great Depression, Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow were front-page news with their daring robberies and cop-killing escapades. Seen by the working class as anti-heroes thumbing their noses at the economic system that impoverished them, Bonnie and Clyde died in a hail of bullets on May 23, 1934, when law enforcement and a posse of vigilantes ambushed them near Sailes, Louisiana.
Or did they?
Clark Hays and Kathleen McFall are back with an alternate-history series exploring what might have happened if Bonnie and Clyde were given a second chance to atone for their crimes, and their signature blend of sex, danger and intrigue, coupled with just the right dose of cheeky humor, is along for the ride.
Bonnie and Clyde: Resurrection Road posits that the murderous duo didn’t perish that day, but instead are given a choice: Embark on a secret life to save American democracy, or pay the ultimate price. President Franklin Roosevelt is trying to pass his New Deal legislation, but the fat cats of Wall Street are willing to go to any lengths, including murder, to maintain the status quo: All for us, and none for the common man. Will America’s favorite bad seeds save the day, and their own skins in the process? As the rich get richer and the middle class becomes more desperate in present-day America, “Resurrection Road” is a timely reminder that sometimes the solution to a problem comes from the least likely source.
EAST OREGONIAN (April 15, 2017)
A thought-provoking, fantastic story of actions, consequences, and the driving forces that turn the chaos of youth into a measured effort to achieve redemption in adulthood.
The story of Bonnie and Clyde has received embellishment in fiction form in many places; but perhaps none as surprising as this, where a 1980s Texas newspaper man too often charged with writing obituaries uncovers the truth behind the Bonnie and Clyde legend.
Here the story revolves around their faked deaths for the purpose of being hired to protect President Franklin D. Roosevelt from an assassin; and so the resurrected duo is charged with a new - and more acceptable - goal in life that places them on the good side of a scheme by businessmen to kill the President to thwart his social programs.
Can an old woman's memories be trusted? Should Royce stake his career on uncovering the true story of covert agents Brenda and Clarence Prentiss? And if he does, what will be the fallout from exposing and changing one of the most believed characters in American history? Most of all - why would two notorious gangsters be interested in protecting American democracy - the very thing their sprees refute?
As Royce probes deeper, truths emerge with ramifications that even the old woman hadn't anticipated - and with them, a series of events that reach from past to modern times with newfound threats.
In some ways Bonnie & Clyde: Resurrection Road is a thriller; in others it's about a reporter's big break - and one which initially seems too dubious to consider: "This is persuasive circumstantial evidence, but only circumstantial,” Royce said. “Do you want the story or not?” she asked. “Because I can take it somewhere else. They may not tell it as well as you, but it won’t cost me near as much whiskey.” Royce thought. He looked around the room. He rubbed his forehead. He wondered if this was the craziest story he had ever encountered. He thought about the string of future articles on the Lubbock School Board, the cattle auction, and the high school football team waiting for him. What the hell. What did he have to lose but time. “Yeah, I want it,” he said. “I want it.”
While the title Bonnie & Clyde: Resurrection Road would seem to indicate some kind of supernatural forces at work, in reality it's a reinvention of a classic perception that slowly and successfully turns the reader's mind about who are friends, who are enemies, and how loyalties can switch sides under social and political pressure.
If a duo as notorious as Bonnie and Clyde can become secret super-heroes, and if they can turn easily from gunslinging escapades to sleuthing - and if their adversaries are clever yet respected icons of society - what does that mean for those who would easily identify the forces of good and evil in the world?
Bonnie & Clyde: Resurrection Road is anything but a staid thriller or historical re-invention: it's a thought-provoking, fantastic story of actions, consequences, and the driving forces that turn the chaos of youth into a measured effort to achieve redemption in adulthood. As the 'good fight' changes and Bonnie and Clyde realize that their past efforts pale in comparison to this task, so readers receive a healthy dose of introspection to ice the cake of action.
Thriller fans seeking an engrossing read that continually twists history to provide thought-provoking new outcomes will relish the blend of action and psychology that make Bonnie & Clyde: Resurrection Road an exceptional re-working of the past.
MIDWEST BOOK REVIEW (June 2017 issue)
What’s compelling about Bonnie and Clyde? There’s a Robin Hood component to the charismatic outlaw lovers that makes them compelling, but the endurance of their appeal is likely more about bucking a system that seemed designed to crush them and everyone else not lucky enough to be born with access to opportunity or into family wealth. They were dirt poor yet boldly (and at times cruelly and selfishly) rejected a life of what likely would have been grueling, low-wage labor jobs with little chance of getting ahead. Don’t we all sometimes dream about throwing it all away and going on the run? Of course, the reality of their day-to-day life was markedly grittier than the legend, and in the end, they became dangerous criminals. But it’s the daring escape from enforced poverty that sticks in the collective American imagination. The 1967 Beatty-Dunaway film helped cement that myth too.
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