Friday, October 24, 2014
Published: reprint edition September 2014 by William Morrow Books
Source: my copy courtesy of the publisher and TLC Book Tours in exchange for an honest review
After their mother unexpectedly dies, twelve-year-old Easter Quillby and her six-year-old sister, Ruby, aren’t expecting to see their errant father, Wade, ever again. But the ex–minor league baseball player who’s been gone for years has suddenly appeared at their foster home to steal them away in the middle of the night.
Brady Weller, the girls’ court-appointed guardian, begins looking for them, and quickly turns up unsettling information linking their father to a multimillion-dollar robbery. But Brady isn’t the only hunter on the trail. Robert Pruitt, a mercurial man nursing a years-old vendetta, is determined to find Wade and claim his due.
Narrated in alternating voices that are at once captivating and heartbreaking, This Dark Road to Mercy is a soulful story about the emotional pull of family and the primal desire to outrun a past that refuses to let go.
Not gonna lie - didn't even read the summary for this one until just now. Didn't read it when it was pitched to me because it, frankly, didn't matter what is was about. I was so impressed with Wiley Cash's debut novel, A Land More Kind Than Home, that it was a given I would read this one. My mom is of the same opinion - she texted me and asked to borrow it as soon as she read on this blog that I was reading it.
As he did in A Land More Kind Than Home, Cash delivers a mystery told from multiple points of view, including that of a child, filled with tension and characters that gradually reveal themselves.
Easter's and Ruby's lives have been filled with pain and difficulty. Their mother's choices have forced Easter to grow up quickly and take Ruby under her wing. After their mother's death, the girls are living in a foster home but Easter has plans to get them away before they are shipped off to live with grandparents they have never met in Alaska. Wade was definitely never a part of her plan and she is none too happy to have him back in her life, especially because he's brought serious trouble into their lives. Easter, like most kids, desperately wants a parent to love, though, and Wade just might not be as bad as she's thought.
The changing narratives made this one a bit of a slow start for me but I was soon caught up in the story. The tension Cash created made it a book I couldn't put down. I had to make sure the girls would be okay, I needed to know that the bad guys would get theirs and I wanted to figure out if Brady and Wade would do the right thing. Wiley Cash has quickly become one of my favorite authors and I'm glad to read he's currently at work on a third novel.
Baseball plays a big part in this book; Wade and Pruitt have both played minor-league ball and they are a sad note on what can become of a person when their dreams aren't reached. But it's the 1998 home run record chase between Mark McGwire of the St. Louis Cardinals and Sammy Sosa of the Chicago Cubs that it the running background of this story. We watched went to a game at Busch Stadium between these teams and followed the battle between the two men closely so this piece of the book pulled me even more deeply into the book.
There is a clear sense of the south throughout this novel, although there is also the feeling that it could have been set in any part of the country giving it a broad appeal. The writing is sharp and there is plenty here that book clubs would find discussion worthy. I highly recommend This Dark Road To Mercy, a terrific sophomore effort.
Thanks for the ladies of TLC Book Tours for including me on this tour. For other opinions, check out the full tour !
Wiley Cash is the award-winning and New York Times bestselling author of A Land More Kind Than Home. A native of North Carolina, he has held residency positions at Yaddo and The MacDowell Colony and teaches in the low-residency MFA program at Southern New Hampshire University. He and his wife live in Wilmington, North Carolina.