“O” The Oprah Magazine Wearing a crotch-length leather mini-skirt, June Angel Host, the adolescent narrator of Maureen McCoy’s novel Junebug (Leapfrog Press), jumps into the erotic oblivion of her boyfriend Floren’s Kelly green Eldorado and takes us on a wild ride to the prison where her charismatic mother, Tess, serves a life sentence for murder and to the Midwestern household where her fumbling New Age mom, Gloria, reads tarot cards and tries to decipher the mysteries of parenthood. McCoy’s swift, edgy prose mirrors the impatient longings of a child-woman’s heart.
The New York Times Book Review, Chronicle: “Tough Girl” fiction Junebug Host is acting out her own personal psychodrama in a small Nebraska town. When her psyche spazzes, Junebug jumps into life. And even though she goes extreme . . . bad girls, evidently, are now allowed to escape unpunished.
Hartford Courant The book, which some have compared to White Oleander and others to The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, is a searching exploration of adolescent angst and anger, told with an almost overwhelming lyric intensity.
San Francisco Chronicle Like her previous novels, Walking After Midnight and Summertime, Maureen McCoy’s third novel is set along the banks of the upper Mississippi, and like the others, Divining Blood is charged both with a sense of place and quirky, good-hearted humor. Delana Mae is a 24-year-old river driver, an anomaly in the early 1970s. Yet the male crew of the Pat Furey has surrendered to this diminutive, headstrong young woman with their confidence and respect. [McCoy’s] characters are genuine yet abstracted, aware yet innocent. They seem to operate purely on instinct, speaking truths they barely comprehend, like a bevy of split-brained prophets. They are constantly stumbling toward the light.
Los Angeles Times It’s an unusual, agreeable story, but Divining Blood is carried by language more than plot. McCoy is an eminently quotable writer. She describes nature as having “a hostess heart: the minute you are out of sight its mild sympathy deserts you.” And “The bright sun on bare skin seemed like a pact in favor of intensity. Dull feeling would be a sin always, the true sin. Let eyes and skin burn. Let the mind flame on.”
Entertainment Weekly McCoy tackles outsized themes, but in individual scenes she also proves herself a superb miniaturist. Divining Blood is an old-fashioned novel that wonders aloud whether blood really is thicker than water.
Washington Post Book World In Summertime, McCoy’s new novel three women are coming to terms with their pasts and their futures over the course of one hot Iowa summer. It is not startling resolution or vivid insight that makes Summertime compelling. Rather it is the wealth of imagery and detail that McCoy offers the reader as the characters move through this summer of change and renewal. It is an impressive piece of work by a mature, intelligent, talented novelist who is just coming into full possession of her power.
The New York Times Book Review A beguiling show of energy, humor and tenderness . . . Summertime has a cumulative power, and in the end an overriding optimism.
Los Angeles Times Book Review McCoy writes beautifully and her characters are equally engaging across the generations.
Walking After Midnight
Los Angeles Times, The Book Review, page one Maureen McCoy takes the sinister and suggestive title of her first novel, Walking After Midnight, from a Patsy Cline country and western classic. She takes the book’s sensibility from it too: true grit, with a side of sweet potato pie. Reading a book like this one, with a sense of place and a sense of humor, is enough to nudge awake the hope that American fiction is alive and well, not just living in Manhattan. Maybe it’s just gone off somewhere, down some dirt road, walking after midnight. Walking After Midnight is just as refreshing as Cedar Rapids’ oatmeal breeze.
The Philadelphia Inquirer Walking After Midnight has a brilliant first chapter. The narrative is punchy, perfectly pitched and genuine. It’s an old plot, the story of an adult who finally grows up. And despite its distinctly American middle-class milieu, what Walking After Midnight most calls to mind is the elegant architecture of a Jane Austen novel. On page after page, McCoy retains precise control. This is a seamless world. Her painterly manipulation of the color wheel suggests a complete spectrum for which the grayish Cedar Rapids proves a perfect canvas. Maureen McCoy has enormous talent, and her first novel isn’t only promising, it’s promise fulfilled.
Cleveland Plain Dealer Terrific. . . Exuberant and funny, bawdy and bold. Everything, in short, that a novelist just starting out might hope to write.