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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

"Exquisitely written, heart-wrenching...Joy's descriptions are lyrical and lingering." (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel)

"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)

"Poverty, class, violence, addiction, isolation: No one writes about the issues facing rural America as clearly, as fairly, or as well as David Joy. The Line That Held Us plumbs the depths of friendship and family, uncovering truths that are stamped on the page with blistering realism." (Wiley Cash, author of The Last Ballad)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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Captivating

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

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Michael
  • Washington, DC, United States
  • 08-21-18

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 of 2 people found this review 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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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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.

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great writing/narration

Seems this would make a great movie...but I would probably hate it because it wouldn't match the vivid screenplay in my mind. I'm not sure if it was the writing or the narrator's performance that made the setting and the conversation feel so real to me.

I was leery of reading this book. The last book I read by this author was well written, but the story had one bad horrible thing after another happen til all the main characters were dead. That seems as unrealistic to me as always a happy ending...it's not character driven.

This author is so talented that despite the contrived ending of one of his books, I had to try another. This story felt more true to it's characters.

Not for those with sensitive stomachs as this guy can describe a decomposing human corpse in such detail I could almost smell it! Loved the strong woman character in this one. Great Southern Goth use of Scripture. Narrator perfect for story (though I'm not real familiar with accent/dialect of the geographical setting).

Over all a very good book.

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Really Good Listen!

If a fast-paced thriller with a little southern vibe sounds good to you, give this a listen. The reader is awesome and the writing is powerful. Loved it! Perfect match. I wish it was 10 hours longer...

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  • sandra
  • carlinville, IL, United States
  • 09-05-18

He keeps the tension tight

If you haven’t read or listened to this one yet do yourself a favor. One of the best audio books I have listened to.