This one has been on a TLC Blog tour for several weeks and if you haven't seen any of the other reviews, the list is posted below. I get to wind up the tour so it's a bit difficult to say too much new.
I have the distinct privilege of serving on the panel of selectors of nominees for the annual Maine Readers' Choice Award to present outstanding literary fiction to our readers here in Maine. Last year, Wiley Cash's first novel A Land More Kind than Home, was not only a finalist but was chosen by the readers of the state as their choice for best book of the year. With that in mind, I was anxious but reluctant to read his next book. You know how you feel when a book is so good that you worry if the author can possibly achieve that level of excellence again? Well, Tutu is here to tell you that Wiley Cash is no one-book wonder!
This one is every bit as well-written as the first. This Dark Road to Mercy brings a different story, but uses that same slightly scary setting of young people being raised in a dysfunctional setting. This time parents are absent (at least in the beginning), and rather than the fundamentalist church as the frame, Cash uses baseball and the summer of the Mark McGuire/Sammy Sosa homerun race to underpin the story.
I especially liked the portrayal of the love between the two sisters as they navigated the unfamiliar waters of adult malfeasance. Once again the author gives us a story of confused youngsters, dark secrets from the family past, and compassionate outsiders, provided in three different voices - a technique that might get old if it continues in more of his books, but which, for the time being, works well in this one. I also listened to this one in audio to see how well it works in that format, and HarperAudio has done a wonderful job choosing talented narrators to capture the subtle nuances of the three different points of view.
Cash gives us believable and heart-wrenching characters, a feel for the gritty southern setting, and a story line that has us rooting for all of the players at one time or another. It's a deep, dark, but ultimately liberating story about the power of forgiveness and the endurance of the parent/child/sibling bond.
As for the plot itself, in case you haven't seen any of the previous tour posts, or don't have time to go looking right now, here's what the publisher says:
The critically acclaimed author of the New York Times bestseller A Land More Kind Than Home—hailed as “a powerfully moving debut that reads as if Cormac McCarthy decided to rewrite Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird” (Richmond Times Dispatch)—returns with a resonant novel of love and atonement, blood and vengeance, set in western North Carolina, involving two young sisters, a wayward father, and an enemy determined to see him pay for his sins.
After their mother’s unexpected death, twelve-year-old Easter and her six-year-old sister Ruby are adjusting to life in foster care when their errant father, Wade, suddenly appears. Since Wade signed away his legal rights, the only way he can get his daughters back is to steal them away in the night.
Brady Weller, the girls’ court-appointed guardian, begins looking for Wade, and he quickly turns up unsettling information linking Wade to a recent armored car heist, one with a whopping $14.5 million missing. But Brady Weller isn’t the only one hunting the desperate father. Robert Pruitt, a shady and mercurial man nursing a years-old vendetta, is also determined to find Wade and claim his due.
Narrated by a trio of alternating voices, This Dark Road to Mercy is a story about the indelible power of family and the primal desire to outrun a past that refuses to let go.
Read an excerpt from This Dark Road to Mercy here.
About Wiley CashWiley Cash is the award-winning New York Times bestselling author of A Land More Kind than Home. A native of western North Carolina, he has a Ph.D. in English from the University of Louisiana-Lafayette. He has held residency positions at Yaddo and the MacDowell Colony and teaches in the low-residency MFA program at Southern New Hampshire University. He and his wife live in West Virginia.
Find out more about Wiley on his website, connect with him on Facebook, and follow him on Twitter.
Wiley is scheduled to do a book signing in Portland ME next week, and I'm hoping to be able to get there to meet him in person - so let's all cross our fingers that we don't get any more of this snow stuff that day!
Title: This Dark Road to Mercy
Author: Wiley Cash
Publisher (Print): William Morrow 2014; ARC 340 pages;
Publisher (audio): Harper Audio, 2014,7hrs 53min
Narrators(audio): Jenna Lamia, Erik Bergmann, Scott Sowers
Subject: family relationships, redemption,
Setting: North Carolina
Source: print review copy from the publisher; audio copy purchased from Audible.com
Why did I read this book now? I was invited to join the TLC Blog tour and loved the author's first book. How could I refuse?
To see what others think of this one, check out the previous posts on Wiley’s Tour Stops
Tuesday, January 28th: Book-alicious Mama
Wednesday, January 29th: River City Reading
Thursday, January 30th: Knowing the Difference
Monday, February 3rd: cupcake’s book cupboard
Tuesday, February 4th: Sara’s Organized Chaos
Wednesday, February 5th: she treads softly
Thursday, February 6th: Turn the Page
Monday, February 10th: Girls Just Reading
Tuesday, February 11th: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Wednesday, February 12th: BookNAround
Thursday, February 13th: Kritters Ramblings
Monday, February 17th: BoundbyWords
Many thanks to William Morrow for making the print review copy available. I purchased my own audio copy through Audible.com.