Charles Dodd White

How Fire Runs
A Novel
By Charles Dodd White
Independent Publisher Book Award (IPPY) GOLD MEDAL for Best Fiction in the South
A SIBA Fall 2020 Okra Pick and Foreword INDIES Finalist

"With artfully complex characters…White’s work captures the rhythms of rural life as they begin to beat faster in the face of calamity."


"[A] spellbinding tale...Well-drawn characters are matched by evocative prose. Socially conscious readers will want to check this out."

                                                             Publishers Weekly


"White's novel is an artful and suspenseful page turner."

                                                                            The Observer



A chilling, timely reminder of the moral and human costs of racial hatred.


What happens when a delusional white supremacist and his army of followers decide to create a racially pure “Little Europe” within a rural Tennessee community? As the town’s residents grapple with their new reality, minor skirmishes escalate and dirty politics, scandals, and a cataclysmic chain of violence follows. In this uncanny reflection of our time, award-winning novelist Charles Dodd White asks whether Americans can save themselves from their worst impulses and considers the consequences when this salvation comes too late.

Advanced Praise

“Both action-packed and introspective, How Fire Runs is a timely literary thriller that is hard to put down. Charles Dodd White continues to prove himself as one of the best prose stylists of Appalachian literature in a novel that transcends region to become raw commentary on this volatile moment in America.”


Silas House, author of Southernmost

“How Fire Runs is at once elemental and blisteringly contemporary—a story rooted in our past, yet crackling amid the fires of the American present. Charles Dodd White writes with the steady hand of a master, confronting complicated truths and emotions with clear eyes and grace, giving us a constellation of characters grappling over the identity of their town… and America itself. This is a brave and important novel from one of our best.”


Taylor Brown, author of Gods of Howl Mountain and Pride of Eden

“Charles Dodd White puts to use his deep knowledge of the people who live in eastern Tennessee, the good as well as the bad. How Fire Runs is a powerful portrayal of contemporary life in a landscape that serves as its own omnipresent character. White’s work gets better and better.”


Chris Offutt, author of Country Dark

“A work of both artistic merit and a significant (and timely) contribution to our ongoing national discussion of extremism.”


Mark Powell, author of Firebird and Small Treasons