Further Reading is a new feature on The Booklist Reader, designed to provide readers’ advisory for today’s headlines.
Kellyanne Conway has dominated the headlines since her most recent appearance on Hardball, when she cited “the Bowling Green Massacre” as the reason for President Trump’s travel ban. The massacre was, of course, easily disputed as fiction—but Conway’s hardly the first person to make stuff up about Kentucky. The following novels, linked to their excerpted Booklist reviews when possible, imagine the Bluegrass State as a locus of horrors.
First Blood, by David Morrell
The novel upon which Rambo is based concerns a Vietnam veteran having a really bad flashback.
My Heart and Other Black Holes, by Jasmine Warga
Fearful for her sanity and grieved by her father’s crimes, 16-year-old physics nerd Aysel has decided the only way to combat the black slug inside her that eats any possible happiness is to kill herself. But she doesn’t trust herself to do it, so she uses a website to find a suicide partner who will make the journey with her.
The More They Disappear, by Jesse Donaldson
When the tobacco-spitting sheriff of a little Kentucky county is gunned down, underachieving deputy Harlan Dupee must investigate. He finds that small-town desperation and family misery have created an eager audience for a drug company’s release of OxyContin.
EDITOR’S NOTE: An earlier version of this blog post wrongly identified Bowling Green, Ohio as the location of the fake massacre. We regret the error.