A Review of This Dark Road to Mercy by Wiley Cash

This Dark Road to Mercy by Wiley CashThis Dark Road to Mercy: A Novel
by Wiley Cash

Baseball permeates this book. Everything connects to baseball. It takes place at the end of the 1998 baseball season. Sammy Sosa and Mark McGuire are both hitting home runs with an eye to breaking Roger Maris’ record. But this isn’t a baseball story.

This is a story of two young girls who end up in foster care after their mother dies. They receive better care in their foster home than they did when living with their mother, but it’s still a foster home. Their dad, Wade, a washed up minor league pitcher, who used to be a teammate of Sosa, steals a sack of money from a gangster. He knows that they will track him down, so he wants to get out-of-town, and he wants to take his daughters with him. So he steals them from the foster home and leaves Gastonia, North Carolina.

Mr. Cash tells this story though the eyes of three of the characters. Easter Quillby is the older sister of Ruby. Brady Weller is the girls’ guardian. He is trying to find Easter and Ruby before they are hurt. Robert Pruitt lost an eye when Wade’s fastball hit him in the face. He is hired to find Wade and get the money back, but he has a lot more on his mind. He is filled with steroid fueled rage, and hates Wade.

I enjoyed this story very much. The way that the story is told though three different viewpoints works very well. Mr. Cash does a very good job of bringing the characters to life. You are drawn in and feel afraid for Wade and his girls. The backdrop of baseball and steroids and home runs makes everything feels authentically dated, but brings up current steroid thoughts at the same time.

I give this book 4 1/2 Stars out of 5 and a Big Thumbs Up! This book is more than a thriller, it has real characters that you will care about, so if that sounds like your kind of thriller, I strongly recommend This Dark Road to Mercy.

I received this Digital Review Copy for free from edelweiss.com.

Book Description
Release date: January 28, 2014

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.

Product Details
Hardcover: 240 pages
Publisher: William Morrow; First Edition edition (January 28, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0062088254
ISBN-13: 978-0062088253
Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 5.9 x 0.8 inches
Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces

About the Author

I deeply love my native state of North Carolina, especially its mountains. I hope my love for this region is evident in A Land More Kind Than Home’s portrayal of western North Carolina’s people, culture, and religious faith. While A Land More Kind Than Home revolves around a young autistic boy who is smothered during a church healing service, the novel’s three narrators all represent my experience of growing up in North Carolina and being raised in an evangelical church.

Like Jess Hall, the younger brother who secretly witnesses the death, I often found myself sitting in church and waiting for something to happen. As a boy I was promised that I would recognize my salvation when I felt Jesus move inside my heart; however, just as Jess does after his brother’s death, I attempted to rationalize the mysteries of Christianity, and I soon realized that we often use faith to fill the empty spaces in our lives. Like Adelaide Lyle, the church matriarch who straddles the divide between religious faith and old-time folk belief, my own religious beliefs are rounded out with a healthy dose of skepticism. While I’m always suspicious of those who pray the loudest, I can’t help but acknowledge the tug on my heart when I witness a baptism, and I can’t account for the inexplicable peace that comes from humming an old-time gospel. But I most identify with the character Clem Barefield, the local sheriff who must sift through his own tragic past to solve the mystery of the boy’s death, because, like Clem, I’m guided only by what I can perceive of this world, and I’m hesitant to get lost in following those who claim to be led by a spirit from the next.

I began writing A Land More Kind Than Home while working on my Ph.D. at the University of Louisiana, where I spent five long years sweating, celebrating Mardi Gras, and missing the mountains of North Carolina. While living in Lafayette, I took a fiction workshop with Ernest J. Gaines, who taught me that by writing about home I could recreate that place no matter where I lived. Gaines made this clear to me one afternoon while we were visiting an old cemetery near the plantation where he was born. He pointed to a grave marker and said, “You remember Snookum from A Gathering of Old Men? He’s buried right over there.” While none of the characters in A Land More Kind Than Home are based on people who actually existed, they’re all amalgams of the types of people I knew growing up. In creating these people and the place they live I got to watch the sun split the mist on the ridges above the French Broad River. From my desk in Louisiana I pondered the silence of snow covered fields. While living in a place that experiences only summer and fall, I watched the green buds sprout on the red maples, and I was there when their leaves began to shrivel before giving way to the wind. I lived in two places at once, and it was wonderful.

I became a Southern writer because I wanted to recreate the South that I know, and I learned to write about the South from the writers I loved. Because of this, I knew it was important to garner support for A Land More Kind Than Home from authors like Gail Godwin, Fred Chappell, Bobbie Ann Mason, and Clyde Edgerton. These writers wield an enormous influence on my work, and I have no doubt that they can say the same for the writers who came before them. Gaines often recalls William Faulkner’s invocation of Oxford, Mississippi as a little postage stamp of earth that he continually mined throughout his career. Gaines did the same thing in his Louisiana fiction. That’s what I tried to do in A Land More Kind Than Home. My next novel is set in the same region of North Carolina. Fortunately, this part of the country is much larger than Oxford, and I can’t imagine ever running out of stories to tell about it.

The book description is from Amazon.  This Dark Road to Mercy: A Novel

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