A lurid crime scene photo of a beautiful murdered woman has arrived on mystery writer Bunny Prescott’s doorstep with no return address—and it’s not the first time she’s seen it. Believing that her estranged childhood friend, Ceola Bliss, may have sent it to her, Bunny writes to her, wanting to make amends: “I remember the moment well … your dark eyes burning and blood on your lips. You said, ‘Bunny, you’re a murderer. To this day, I believe it. I do.'”
The horrifying yet seductive photo was taken fifty-five years ago by a young gay man, Jay Greenwood, to whom both Bunny and Ceola had intimate ties and who first showed them the image in 1945 weeks before the end of the war. The reemergence of this photo sets both women on a journey into the past, compelling each to tell her version of what happened that summer.
At the center of the story is Jay, an amateur war photographer, wounded on the front in Belgium and home again in the little town of Royal Oak, VA, trying to mend his body and spirit. He tells Bunny and Ceola that he stumbled on a woman’s corpse while exploring the woods and in a frantic gesture took pictures of the evidence. However, when he leads them to the crime scene, the body is gone. Soon, they discover that a local woman, Lily Vellum, is missing and may be the woman in the photo.
Dodging and Burning is the story of Bunny and Ceola’s desire to understand the young man they both loved—a soldier ravaged by war and rejected by his home, an artist who only found solace through the lens of a camera.