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This Dark Road to Mercy: A Novel | [Wiley Cash]

This Dark Road to Mercy: A Novel

This Dark Road to Mercy is a tale of love and atonement, blood and vengeance, a story that involves two young sisters, a wayward father, and an enemy determined to see him pay for his sins. When their mother dies unexpectedly, twelve-year-old Easter Quillby and her six-year-old sister, Ruby, are shuffled into the foster care system in Gastonia, North Carolina, a little town not far from the Appalachian Mountains. But just as they settle into their new life, their errant father, Wade, an ex-minor-league baseball player whom they haven't seen in years, suddenly reappears and steals them away in the middle of the night.
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Publisher's Summary

Hailed as "mesmerizing" (New York Times Book Review) and "as if Cormac McCarthy decided to rewrite Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird" (Richmond Times-Dispatch), A Land More Kind Than Home made Wiley Cash an instant literary sensation. His resonant new novel, This Dark Road to Mercy, is a tale of love and atonement, blood and vengeance, a story that involves two young sisters, a wayward father, and an enemy determined to see him pay for his sins.

When their mother dies unexpectedly, twelve-year-old Easter Quillby and her six-year-old sister, Ruby, are shuffled into the foster care system in Gastonia, North Carolina, a little town not far from the Appalachian Mountains. But just as they settle into their new life, their errant father, Wade, an ex-minor-league baseball player whom they haven't seen in years, suddenly reappears and steals them away in the middle of the night.

Brady Weller, the girls' court-appointed guardian, begins looking for Wade, and quickly turns up unsettling information linking him to a multimillion-dollar robbery. But Brady isn't the only one hunting him. Also on the trail is Robert Pruitt, a mercurial man nursing a years-old vendetta, a man determined to find Wade and claim what he believes he is owed.

The combination of Cash's evocative and intimate Southern voice and those of the alternating narrators, Easter, Brady, and Pruitt, brings this soulful story vividly to life. At once captivating and heartbreaking, This Dark Road to Mercy is a testament to the unbreakable bonds of family and the primal desire to outrun a past that refuses to let go.

©2014 Wiley Cash (P)2014 HarperCollinsPublishers

What the Critics Say

"Jenna Lamia's remarkable performance makes her the star of this ensemble audiobook. Her impeccable North Carolina accent and pitch-perfect expression enliven Easter's mixed emotions.... Erik Bergman's slow, gentle voice is a match for Brady's kindness, while Scott Sowers makes listeners shiver with his rendering of Pruitt, a sociopathic hit man." (AudioFile)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (147 )
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4.4 (132 )
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3 star
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2 star
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  •  
    W Perry Hall 01-31-14 Member Since 2015

    Atty/CPA, The South

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Easter offers chance at redemption; but no spark"

    Set around the 1998 HR record chase by Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa (now stained by steroids) and traveling from the foothills of NC to St. Louis, this short novel is enjoyable but not nearly as deep a character study, with as complex a texture or as dark as what I consider the best novel to come out of the South in 20 years, "A Land More Kind Than Home," by the author, Wiley Cash.

    The story keeps you interested, though it lags toward the end. The protagonist, Easter, is well-developed and realistic as a 12-year-old whose mom died of a drug overdose and whose father "Wade" is a ne'er-do-well former baseball minor leaguer. Repairing his relationship with Easter offers Wade a chance at redemption. One thing that was not explained enough was the antagonistic relationship between Wade and his pursuer Pruitt and the relationship between the other character Brady (the 2 girls' guardian ad litem) and his daughter could have been more developed and tied into the story.

    The novel is worthy of a read/listen, particularly if you enjoyed "More Kind than Home," but I can't highly recommend it.

    I must say though that it may be worth the purchase if for nothing more than to hear Jenna Lamia's spectacular rendition of the 12-year-old Easter, the novel's protagonist. Ms. Lamia brings Easter to life as a teenybopper, highly nuanced in tone, accent and spunk.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Benjamin 05-31-14
    Benjamin 05-31-14

    Forensic Psychologist in Northern California

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    "A very fine book"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes: Gripping story, with complex, imperfect characters.


    What other book might you compare This Dark Road to Mercy to and why?

    A land more kind than home, Mr. Cash's first book: A book about failed fatherhood told from multiple first person narrators.


    What does the narrators bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    The female reader for the female protagonist lends nice tone and subtlety.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Nope.


    Any additional comments?

    Nice work again from Mr. Cash. A very fine book.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Harriet Kill Devil Hills, NC, United States 02-02-14
    Harriet Kill Devil Hills, NC, United States 02-02-14 Member Since 2014
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    "Another GREAT from Wiley Cash!"
    What made the experience of listening to This Dark Road to Mercy the most enjoyable?

    The narators did a good job, especially on the accents. I'm from NC and nothing upsets me more than fake accents.


    What did you like best about this story?

    I never got bored. Mr Cash does a great job of keeping your interest.


    Which character – as performed by the narrators – was your favorite?

    Easter


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Can't decide between the shock of Wiley's mother's death or the scene at the park.


    Any additional comments?

    Mr. Cash has certainly outdone himself! He is extremely good at conveying to the reader what its like to be in the character's place.

    The first book he wrote was good but predictable. I was so glad to see he has gotten past that stumbling point with this book. It was full of twists and turns.

    I really loved the ending!

    I read this book in 2 days!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Suzn F Fletcher, VT, US 04-13-14
    Suzn F Fletcher, VT, US 04-13-14 Member Since 2013

    I believe a reviewer should finish a book before submitting a review. What do you think?

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    "Should Have / Could Have Been a Good Book"

    This book lacks depth and heart. The overall plot has promise but the author just takes it nowhere. The characters are cardboard and shallow. The story is underdeveloped and full of innuendo that goes nowhere. The narration is less than stellar and most likely it's just me, but I find Jenna Lamia's voice irritating. So this one is a waste of time & credit, a giant snooze-fest.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Beverly Newnan, GA, United States 06-04-14
    Beverly Newnan, GA, United States 06-04-14 Member Since 2014
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    "Well done"
    Would you listen to This Dark Road to Mercy again? Why?

    I don't listen to anything twice, because too many excellent books are out there!


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Easter seems very real, true to life and believable.


    What does the narrators bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Multiple narrators contributed to this book. The voice of Easter was exceptional.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No


    Any additional comments?

    The story was so enjoyable that I purchased another book by this author.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Janice Sugar Land, TX, United States 01-30-14
    Janice Sugar Land, TX, United States 01-30-14 Member Since 2010

    Rating scale: 5=Loved it, 4=Liked it, 3=Ok, 2=Disappointed, 1=Hated it. I look for well developed characters, compelling stories.

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    "Well told but lacks punch"

    Wiley Cash set the bar very high with his debut “A Land More Kind than Home”, and as often happens, the highly anticipated follow-up fell just a little short.

    Once again Cash uses the 3-voice format, and two of the three work. Easter Quillby sets the tone and tells the largest portion of the story, effectively communicating the very complex emotions that accompany abandonment and the need to grow up way too early. Brady – the court appointed guardian to Easter and her sister, is well written and believable but is essentially utilitarian to the arc of the story. But Pruett, the bad guy pursuing the girls and their father, is a cardboard villain with no more depth or motivation than The Terminator. Because the characters in each storyline don’t actually cross paths with each other in the chase, there is no exploration of their relationships beyond the one dimensional POV of each narrator. I think that was the reason this story lacked the punch in the gut delivered by “A Land More Kind”. That said, I do like the very end of the story – two small surprises that suggest how the story will move forward.

    Which takes me to the narration. Again, 2 out of 3 narrators do their job well. Jenna Lamia shows why she is the go-to voice for young southern girls. Eric Bergmann lends Brady the seriousness of a man trying to do right to make up for a past mistake. But Scott Sowers takes an already stereotyped bad guy and caricatures him into a hillbilly Snidely Whiplash. I actually stopped listening to his chapters and ordered the Kindle version to get past his awful narration. (This makes the second time I have abandoned an Audible of his narration in favor of the print version). For overall narration, I can only give 3 stars because of Sowers.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kelli 07-22-15
    Kelli 07-22-15 Member Since 2015
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    "Good book"

    I liked this book. It ended a little abruptly, but really good story and loved the characters. His first book was a bit better for me personally but worth reading.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    L. M. Roberts Southern California 06-01-15
    L. M. Roberts Southern California 06-01-15 Member Since 2013

    Reader And Listener

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    "A Safe Choice"

    This was a pleasant story, well told by a cast that presented the various characters nicely. It's not life-changing or even terribly memorable, but it kept me listening. This is an example of a book that is better on audio, and where having multiple readers was an excellent choice.

    Two young girls who have been kicked around terribly by life, are faced with a choice: escape with the father they barely know, or face an uncertain future with grandparents they've never met? Unsurprisingly, they take off with Dad, and encounter unexpected adventure.

    I could have done with more danger, and some actual resolution at the end. The characters are well developed (and this is emphasized by using multiple readers), the situation wonderfully conceived, but the plot is weak. It's as if Cash got too attached to the girls and didn't want to get them into too much trouble.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susan Tipton Portland, Or United States 05-14-15
    Susan Tipton Portland, Or United States 05-14-15 Member Since 2013
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    "Stunning Writing, Stunning Performance"
    If you could sum up This Dark Road to Mercy in three words, what would they be?

    Engaging, Family love and ethics.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The characters were fully developed; mom was still loving and taught the girls life lessons despite her life style and drug dependence, dad was loving even though he was flawed and weak, The slow development of love that grew from the anger that Easter had towards her dad. I liked the Brady character, he too had depth and his behavior demonstrated his conflict between doing what was required and following his heart. Pruitt was truly evil and was the perfect villain.This story had me hooked from the first with good dialogue, an excellent plot and the pitch perfect voices of the narrators. All three were top notch and really made the story come alive.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Near the end; where Easter sends her father a message on two levels, the observable and the underlying message of love and acceptance.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    A family trip on many levels; from distrust to love, trying to escape evil, and the struggle to try for a new start.


    Any additional comments?

    The narrators did an outstanding job; the voice of Jenna Lemia was just perfect in her dialogue of both Easter and Ruby as well as the voice of Wade. She has such control of tone and she was a joy to listen to because of her smooth delivery and pitch of tone for each character. Both Pruitt and Brady's voices were to me exactly the voices I pictured for the characters.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Marisela 04-22-15
    Marisela 04-22-15
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    "I liked it"

    Very good story line; perspective from different characters. I recommend this book. will be looking for others from same author and narrators.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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