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
"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)
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.
I believe a reviewer should finish a book before submitting a review. What do you think?
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.
The narators did a good job, especially on the accents. I'm from NC and nothing upsets me more than fake accents.
I never got bored. Mr Cash does a great job of keeping your interest.
Can't decide between the shock of Wiley's mother's death or the scene at the park.
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!
Rating scale: 5=Loved it, 4=Liked it, 3=Ok, 2=Disappointed, 1=Hated it. I look for well developed characters, compelling stories.
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.
Forensic Psychologist in Northern California
Yes: Gripping story, with complex, imperfect characters.
A land more kind than home, Mr. Cash's first book: A book about failed fatherhood told from multiple first person narrators.
The female reader for the female protagonist lends nice tone and subtlety.
Nice work again from Mr. Cash. A very fine book.
I don't listen to anything twice, because too many excellent books are out there!
Easter seems very real, true to life and believable.
Multiple narrators contributed to this book. The voice of Easter was exceptional.
The story was so enjoyable that I purchased another book by this author.
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