The Line That Held Us

By: David Joy
Narrated by: Macleod Andrews
Length: 7 hrs and 8 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (186 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

From critically acclaimed author David Joy comes a remarkable novel about the cover-up of an accidental death and the dark consequences that reverberate through the lives of four people who will never be the same again.

When Darl Moody went hunting after a monster buck he's chased for years, he never expected he'd accidentally shoot a man digging ginseng. Worse yet, he's killed a Brewer, a family notorious for vengeance and violence. With nowhere to turn, Darl calls on the help of the only man he knows will answer, his best friend, Calvin Hooper. But when Dwayne Brewer comes looking for his missing brother and stumbles onto a blood trail leading straight back to Darl and Calvin, a nightmare of revenge rips apart their world. 

The Line That Held Us is a story of friendship and family, a tale balanced between destruction and redemption, where the only hope is to hold on tight, clenching to those you love. What will you do for the people who mean the most, and what will you grasp to when all that you have is gone? The only certainty in a place so shredded is that no one will get away unscathed.

©2018 David Joy (P)2018 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

“Unflinching... Joy writes about rough-hewn men and women eking out a living in an economically depressed area, trying to avoid - but often affected by - violence and drugs that permeate the region. Their lives are tied to the land, its history, and their families who established lives there decades ago.” (Associated Press

“A suspenseful page-turner, complete with one of the absolutely killer endings that have become one of Joy’s signatures.” (Los Angeles Times

“Joy has proved adept with southern noir in his first two novels, and he nails it again here, in the actions of characters who act as they must, for the sake of family and friendship, given their nature. This is fiction as beautiful and compelling as it is searing.” (Booklist, starred review)  

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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Not sure ?

This a brilliantly written story. But the major themes of death, vengeance, and evil are very difficult to handle. I’m just not sure if it is worth it.

3 people found this helpful

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Meh

This is a novel trying to do two different things: capture the spirit of Appalachia and tell a ghoulish murder story. I think the book makes a good attempt at the first, especially in the opening scenes, but goes way over the top in the telling of the ghoulish murder story.

Whereas the novel tries to ground itself in the gritty reality of the Blue Ridge mountains in North Carolina, complete with a scene in a Walmart where a character wanders around the aisles drinking beer, the plot lacks believability.

I was actually very excited to read this book, but ultimately disappointed in the storytelling. The story really drags in the middle and towards the end.

2 people found this helpful

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The Blurred Lines that Held Me

It’s been a few days now since I finished listening to David Joy’s The Line That Held Us; and I’m still not sure I can speak to it in a worthy fashion. Mr. Joy’s first two listens were stunning, so this one had an uphill battle, so to speak. And, you know what, that uphill battle was conquered with his amazing talent for ultra dark, vivid and ever-so-flawed characters; his deftly exquisite prose to define and craft them; and the just sheer design of the story itself. The darkest yet, to me anyway, of his books, The Line That Held Us appears to have allowed the continuing depth of Mr. Joy’s talent to filter through and emerge. Dwayne Brewer is a terrifying, brutal, emotionally riveting man who is both the gold standard of rage and love simultaneously. If nothing else, listen to the book to get a glimpse of him. But, his presence does little to distract from the story and the other characters (both primary and secondary), though he does seem to be such a pivotal person. At various points during this book, I began to question Mr. Joy’s mental status UNTIL I realized that I was right there with him, my own viscera on constant alert for the next jolt. Top all this with the superbly brilliant audio presentation by Mr. MacLeod Andrews and you have a substantially challenging book. I did have some reservations regarding the somewhat lengthy ending chapters but I’ll go back and re-listen to make sure I didn’t miss anything in my stunned-into-silence last two chapters. The Line That Held Us offers lines that are drawn and lines that are blurred...and it’s those blurred lines that held me.

5 people found this helpful

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Captivating

Extremely well written, the narrator was brilliant. The story line was riveting. I couldn’t stop listening.

4 people found this helpful

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Destruction and Redemption

There is savagery, violence, vengeance, and just a hint of madness in this taut, compact thriller from David Joy. In the deep woods of North Carolina, a man goes hunting for a trophy buck, and accidentally shoots another man instead. When the victim’s Bible-quoting brother seeks revenge, things get ugly fast, and then weird. Macleod Andrews delivers a profoundly authentic narration.

1 person found this helpful

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Hillbilly poetry

Eloquent telling of a raw "Winters Bone" style tale set in the Appalachian Mountains. The story soars off of the page with MacLeod Andrew's performance. Listen and then listen again and again.

2 people found this helpful

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just amazing.

I live in Jackson County. I have driven the roads that were talked about. I could see all that was in the story. just great can't wait for his next book

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Deliciously Dark Appalachian Noir

From the opening line, this book draws you in. I listened to the entire thing on a road trip back from Mississippi on a cold, crisp day, and it was the perfect accompaniment. The reader is incredible: the accent, using his voice to create tension and drama. Dark lyricism, reverent descriptions of the landscape, and dead-on depiction of Appalachian life. Highly recommend!
#Noir #Thriller #SouthernLiterature #Tagsgiving #Sweepstakes

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My Favorite This Year

This is my first experience with this author. He has a skill with words that may move into company with the masters.

The narrator is the most skillful in a long time.

There are some hard, hard stories within this novel. If you can handle that, you will fall in love with this book.

PS Don’t try to figure out what comes next. You will be wrong.

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Just brilliant!

Holy crap this is my new fav author. I have a massive book hangover from this one. This (his) third book just came out in August. What am I going to do now? 😭😭. I’ve read thousands of books and let me tell you, David Joy needs to be on your radar. I recommend so much the audiobook version of this too (I bought ebook & audio 🤗). It was like listening to a movie! Macleod Andrews is a brilliant narrator. Lately I can’t seem to get enough of Southern Noir/Grit Lit. So this genre isn’t for the faint of heart. But let me tell you of this genre, Joy has a way of making you Care for a character- rather than just detest them all. I can’t wait to see the future ahead for this author.