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Publisher's Summary

Acclaimed author and "remarkably gifted storyteller" (The Charlotte Observer) David Joy returns with a fierce and tender tale of a father, an addict, a lawman, and the explosive events that come to unite them.

When his addict son gets in deep with his dealer, it takes everything Raymond Mathis has to bail him out of trouble one last time. Frustrated by the slow pace and limitations of the law, Raymond decides to take matters into his own hands.

After a workplace accident left him out of a job and in pain, Denny Rattler has spent years chasing his next high. He supports his habit through careful theft, following strict rules that keep him under the radar and out of jail. But when faced with opportunities too easy to resist, Denny makes two choices that change everything. 

For months, the DEA has been chasing the drug supply in the mountains to no avail, when a lead - just one word - sets one agent on a path to crack the case wide open...but he'll need help from the most unexpected quarter. 

As chance brings together these men from different sides of a relentless epidemic, each may come to find that his opportunity for redemption lies with the others.

©2020 David Joy (P)2020 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

"Slow-burning.... With memorable characters, deft plotting, and an attention to detail, Joy has written a powerful work of crime fiction." (Kirkus Reviews, starred review)

"Joy portrays his characters with unflinching realism. Creative turns of phrase and creative colloquialisms move the story forward and keep the otherwise disheartening subject matter full of thrilling surprises. As Southern noir-tinged fiction gains a well-deserved audience, Joy is one voice that never disappoints." (Booklist)

"[An] engrossing drama of violence and vengeance.... Joy's razor-sharp prose details disturbing, graphic images of brutality that begin when Raymond resolves to protect his son.... Joy handles everything with ease, proving himself to be one hell of a writer." (Publishers Weekly)

What listeners say about When These Mountains Burn

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  • Overall
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His Best Yet

When These Mountains Burn by David Joy
Narration by Andrew MacLeod

If you are a fan of Southern Gothic ala Mississippi, as we are, you must be familiar with David Joy’s North Carolina/Appalachian Gothic. His most recent book, When These Mountains Burn is his best work yet. Having read and/or listened to all of them so far, that is no small compliment. We’ve been a fan from the get go with his debut novel, Where All Light Tends to Go in 2015. Mind you, he is not an easy read; the stories he weaves are dark, painful, and haunting with woefully wounded, tragic, and flawed characters.

This book is not written; it is crafted via emotion, intuitive talent, and the love of his home state, warts and all. As a visceral reviewer, we do not claim to be an erudite literary (or as our creative writing teacher once called it ‘seri-ass literature’) critic. We do not dissect plots, stories, characters, or word usage. We do not read or listen to a book; we feel a book. And ‘boy howdy’ we felt this one from the first sentence.

We were pulled into the whirlpools of addiction, the the agonizingly beautiful love of a parent for an addicted man-child, the immoral world of those whose greed is their altar, the profoundly discouraging fight for justice, and the disappearing cultures of the Cherokee Nation and mountain culture of Appalachia.

Just as the literary voice of Mr. Joy is showcased in this book, so is the epic narration and talent of MacLeod Andrews. So, get this book and read it; then listen to it for an even more acute resonance.

5 people found this helpful

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A crime novel that dares to go deeper

Loved it from the first chapter to the last. Wonderful performance only made it better! A fantastic story and the characters are so deep. I got it here on Audible but this is one I'm absolutely going to get the hardcover of just so I can re-read it.

3 people found this helpful

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Two kinds of wonderful - David Joy and McLeod Andrews

Each deserves praise for their contribution to this title. David Joy hit so many notes of the places and people of western NC. Those things that pull us together and pull us apart. His writing made me reminisce a time and place I never even experienced. MacLeod Andrews portrayed each character brilliantly. His ability to bring each character to life in dialects with subtle differences is amazing. Every book I have heard him narrate is a worthy journey.

2 people found this helpful

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A Great Listen

David Joy is a contemporary novelist of the highest order. He gives a clear, raw and painful glimpse into his characters that instantly draws you in and holds you throughout. Seeing a slice of America's south through this lens can be hard, but you can't stop looking. I discovered the author last year and went through his books quickly and savored every second of this title. Spread the word: David Joy rocks!

The vocal performance is spot on and my only complaint with When These Mountains Burn is that I wish it would have been much longer.

1 person found this helpful

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  • 05-26-21

Outstanding!

This is absolutely wonderful in every way. I loved everything about it. The narration is perfection! The story is compelling and moving, a truly remarkable listening experience.

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Don’t waste your time

Slowwwww jumps hard to follow to many twist turns all to a dead end which is what I couldn’t wait to happen

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Excellent story, full of heartbreak and healing.

Moving story, haunting and powerful in the best of ways. A must read! Buy this!

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Wow

Excellent story and Narrative!
Truly enjoyed a glimpse into southern America with an eye into our war on drugs.
Worth My Credit!!!!!

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Worthy of one’s time

Great journey into mountains of N.C. through the people, the land, and the problems that reside there. David Joy is a great weaver of words and imagery in this tale both tragic and humorous. It succeeds as a worthy and entertaining distraction. The narration hits the mark.

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Carolina Story

I liked this book mostly cause it was a story about North Carolina and the hick country lingo but overall it was good and I would recommend it