Not On Fire, Only Dying


It is the fiery pinnacle of autumn in New York’s Hudson Valley when Lola, a troubled recluse, reports her newborn kidnapped from outside a seedy bar. But no one’s seen Lola with a baby, or even heard of him before now. Everyone assumes the boy is one of her delusions. Only Marko—a chivalrous, drug-dealing ex-con of Romani descent—is devoted to Lola. But even he questions her story, given her fragile sanity and reckless self-medication. With help from Mary, the owner of a local salvage business, Marko hunts for answers. From the Hudson Valley to New York City’s East Village, he follows a dark path to the truth, navigating doubt, vengeance, and love.

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“Susan Rukeyser’s novel Not On Fire, Only Dying, is a righteous hybrid: domestic epic, thriller, millennial meditation. Get down with the very real characters, the original milieu. This book will hang you out to dry”.  ~  James Ellroy, bestselling author of L.A. Confidential and The Black Dahlia 
“Made with one part redemption, two parts deception, and a hell of a different hero, Not on Fire, Only Dying will haunt you into the night.” ~  Brad Meltzer, bestselling author of The Fifth Assassin
 “In Not On Fire, Only Dying Susan Rukeyser offers us a gritty and beautiful examination of the people we would rather not see. Giving voice to the poverty stricken, the disenfranchised, those broken by time and circumstance, Rukeyser uses empathy as her paintbrush and with it she creates a landscape we deny as our past, but know in our bones. I hope you will read this book, reader, and love it as I do.” ~  Myfanwy Collins, author of Echolocation
 “Astounding! Susan Rukeyser’s words are surprising, gorgeous, lush. Not On Fire, Only Dying is an adventure of ocean-deep love, sadness and reckoning. A gently heartbreaking joy to read—even in the roughest parts—because what we have here is a sublime author who knows exactly what she is doing as she leaves us to glow in the mystery and wonder and wow. Oh how I loved it.”  ~ Leesa Cross-Smith, author of Every Kiss A War
 “Susan Rukeyser is a hypnotizing storyteller. In her debut novel, she renders the hard-knock stories of Marko and Lola with beauty and grit. Not On Fire, Only Dying is a book you’ll pass on to your friends who love language or who simply love a good story. This book hits on all levels: the sentence, the movement, the heart.” ~ Amanda Miska, Editor, Split Lip Magazine

Susan Rukeyser headshot

Susan Rukeyser lives in the South but hails from New England and dreams of life in the Mojave. She was a Senior Book Buyer for the wholesaler Baker & Taylor before she left to devote herself to writing and mothering and caring for an assortment of rescued cats and dogs.  For a while she owned a tiny used bookstore in New York’s Hudson Valley. It was there she found inspiration for what became Not On Fire, Only Dying, her debut novel.