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34 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Southern Writer Rises Again
Having read "A Land More Kind Than Home" by Wiley Cash I anxiously chose his brand new offering, "This Dark Road to Mercy." I made a stellar choice. That southern grit, colloquial dialogue, acute descriptions, and flowing, purposeful plot is right here again in "The Dark Road to Mercy.

Easter and Ruby, two young sisters in foster care are awaiting a home...
Published 13 months ago by Gayla M. Collins

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Heartfelt story
This is a heartfelt story about 2 children, living in terrible conditions with a drug addicted mother, who dies and leaves them homeless. They are put in an orphanage, together, in which they are given clothes, bedding, and food. The orphanage is a nice place, and they are cared for by the staff. One day, their father comes to try to claim them, but because he signed...
Published 8 months ago by Celestialsky29


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34 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Southern Writer Rises Again, November 5, 2013
This review is from: This Dark Road to Mercy: A Novel (Hardcover)
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Having read "A Land More Kind Than Home" by Wiley Cash I anxiously chose his brand new offering, "This Dark Road to Mercy." I made a stellar choice. That southern grit, colloquial dialogue, acute descriptions, and flowing, purposeful plot is right here again in "The Dark Road to Mercy.

Easter and Ruby, two young sisters in foster care are awaiting a home because their mother overdoses and their father, a wayfaring drifter whose scope is aimed at an easy dollar, left years before. One night he kidnaps the girls from their bedroom and Easter, 12, is a prominent narrator of the debacle she and Ruby find themselves in. Though the police give a half-assed look into the case, their ex-partner, Brady Weller, now turned guardian ad litem, grabs up the case in a fire's flaring hurry. He's aware that Wade stole something that belongs to a criminal. A ruthless, soulless hit man, Pruitt, is hired to find Wade and his kids; leave the first dead and return the latter. Such enthralling suspense occurs that your skin is actually crawling; your brain is embedded with the characters and the plot line. I read it in one day. I tried putting it down, but my mind was hooked till the last word.

Though a bit dark at times, this reads more gently than one would think.

Cash deserves all the favor that is befalling him. His southern writing cohorts must be proud to gather round in praise.

P.S. As a sideline this author, Cash, could be writing book titles...it is what caught me the first time and I admired this title too. :-)
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wiley Cash, a writer at the top of his form, November 6, 2013
This review is from: This Dark Road to Mercy: A Novel (Hardcover)
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THIS DARK ROAD TO MERCY is a strikingly original and powerful novel that embraces suspense, emotional loss and the human need for love with sympathetic arms of mercy. What beautiful and compassionate insights grace this novel and yet how thrilling it is too, and even dangerous and frightening! Wiley Cash proves to be an author possessed of a generous wisdom and a humanitarian spirit of benevolence, forgiveness and kindness. Yet he is equally adept at portraying a vengeance and violence that can transform the heart into a cold, blackened ember.

This is the second novel of Wiley Cash but only the first one I have read and it is already clear to me that he is a writer at the top of his form.

This is masterful storytelling that crackles with a tactile tension that immediately pulled me into its narrative power and held me captive in its sure, dramatic clutches. The narrative voice alternates between three of the story's main characters, people who are brought so fully alive in only a few quick pages that I quickly felt familiar with each of them and especially endeared to the youngest ones.

The novel's main character and deeply affecting heroine is a baseball-loving twelve year old girl on the cusp of womanhood, Easter Quillby. Her supporting characters are three adult men which include Wade Chesterfield - the down on his luck, once promising baseball pitcher and errant father who has abandoned her and her six year old sister Ruby; Brady Weller - a former police detective who now serves as Easter and Ruby's legal guardian in the foster care program they are placed following the recent drug overdose death of their mother; and finally, representing the dark side, is Robert Pruitt - an ex-con, former ball player and now ruthless hitman with an ax to grind with Wade.

Cash's narrative method melts each narrative perspective into the next with such a nuanced fluidity that there are no abrupt transitions between them, ever. The reader perceives both the simplicity of a child's innocent perspective blended with that of the experienced adult and the result is remarkable... a Bildungsroman of sorts for both the child and the adult in terms of overcoming difficulties and mistakes and achieving emotional maturity and social acceptance.

THIS DARK ROAD TO MERCY is a short novel that can be read quickly, so I will not provide a plot summary here. What I will say is THIS DARK ROAD TO MERCY is a love story that is as much about the difficulties and compromises of love as about love's redemptive power.

I really love the title of this book, particularly the brilliantly chosen word of "mercy." The Latin root of the word means "price paid, wages" and that concept strikes me as very significant to the themes found in this intense and moving novel.

William Shakespeare wrote of mercy in THE MERCHANT OF VENICE:

The quality of mercy is not strain'd.
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest:
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.

and I think that's a sentiment that serves me well for finishing this review of one of my favorite, best new books I have read this year.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Heartfelt story, March 30, 2014
This review is from: This Dark Road to Mercy: A Novel (Hardcover)
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This is a heartfelt story about 2 children, living in terrible conditions with a drug addicted mother, who dies and leaves them homeless. They are put in an orphanage, together, in which they are given clothes, bedding, and food. The orphanage is a nice place, and they are cared for by the staff. One day, their father comes to try to claim them, but because he signed away his rights years ago, he isn't granted his wish. Desperation takes over, and he convinces them to leave with him, in the middle of the night. Neither girl trusts him, especially the oldest, Easter, who has been her younger sisters caretaker all of her life. Wade takes them on an adventure, and takes them places they never dreamed of going, like the ocean. But, all good things must come to an end, in a conclusion we can all see coming.

This book was easy to read, well written, and captivating. The characters were well developed. The chapters alternate between Easter's point of view, the social workers point of view, and the thug's (that is searching for Wade) point of view. This made the story much more interesting, as we get to know each of these characters well.

I liked the story, it was okay, I just didn't love it. It was an entertaining read, but it wasn't as great as the description made it out to be.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This Dark Road to a Beautiful Story, April 22, 2014
By 
Bookasaurus (Washington, D.C.) - See all my reviews
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This year, I spent Easter Sunday with Easter. Easter Quillby, that is, the 12-year old protagonist of Wiley Cash's novel, This Dark Road to Mercy.

It's quite a heavy sounding title and as you might expect having seen the book's cover, this tale is somewhat stormy. Easter and her sister Ruby are living in foster care, after the sudden death of their mother. Easter is used to caring for herself and her sister, but when her father Wade returns, she apprehensively follows his lead. In the middle of the night, he takes the two girls, fleeing those whom he owes money, and trying to provide his daughters with the father they deserve. Ultimately, it is not only the police who are trying to hunt down the trio, but also more sinister and vengence-motivated forces who threaten to destroy the lives of all three.

The world that Cash conjures is irrefutably gritty, yet it also bears a Southern gentleness. The book strikes a delicate, yet poised balance between the dark characteristics of its antagonist(s) and the innocence of Easter and her sister. Easter's voice shines from within the recesses of this otherwise overcast world. It was her story that caught me from the start, and despite the shifting narration from chapter to chapter, it was Easter who propelled my reading of the novel forward.

I think the categorization of This Dark Road to Mercy by critics as a work of the Southern Gothic genre is spot on. It might take a little thinking back to earlier school days to recall this genre. His work evokes the aspects of the writings of historical greats, including Truman Capote, Harper Lee, and Cormac McCarthy. It's a bit of the setting of Capote's In Cold Blood, mixed with the dangerous undertones of To Kill A Mockingbird, and the love amidst desolation of McCarthy's The Road. Yet, I found Cash's style most reminiscent of Flannery O'Connor. You probably read her short story, A Good Man Is Hard To Find in school, but if you have a little extra time and are debating reading Cash's latest, take a scan through.

This isn't to suggest that this novel should rank amongst those mentioned above. However, it is to say that Easter's story plants itself firmly within that genre. Though the novel will likely not be remembered as one of the greats, I'd say it is pretty darn good. However, please note that this recommendation is coming from someone who relishes in darker tales and is not bothered by a little grit. Nevertheless, I found the read to be thoroughly enjoyable. Coming in at just under 250 pages, with a plot that moves quickly, this would make for a wonderful rainy afternoon read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Captivating, March 16, 2014
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I love Wiley Cash!! I had finished his first book, A Land More Kind than Home, in the fall. Then I heard him speak and he was such a funny, witty, all-around great guy. He talked about this book and how he grew up in Gastonia, etc. So, first chance I got, I bought the book. I wasn't disappointed. His character development is very strong and the storyline is also held my attention. You will enjoy this book, I guarantee it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Coming of Age Story AND Page Turner, March 28, 2014
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Prior to reading This Dark Road to Mercy, I was not familiar with Wiley Cash. I’m so glad I gave him a shot because I’m always looking for new Southern fiction writers – and Cash is a great addition!

Cash’s writing flowed easily and the story built steam slowly, mostly because it starts out as a coming-of-age story before turning into a suspenseful page turner. I loved this blend of coming-of-age story and page turner – they are two of my favorite types of books and Cash managed to blend them seamlessly (which I imagine is hard to do well!).

The first part – the coming of age story – focuses on Easter and Ruby’s reaction to their mother’s death, their move into foster care, and their memories of their absentee father (Wade). Easter’s voice really comes through here – it was sweet and diligent and served as the rational counterpoint to other, shall we say, less rational characters that emerge later in the story. Later in the book, Easter, Ruby, and Wade are pulled into an unsolved crime that adds the “page turner” element. Though I enjoyed the entire book, I really couldn’t put it down once I hit the 60% mark (can you tell I’m a Kindle reader?!).

Finally, the way this story ends really makes you think about what is morally “right” versus deemed “right” in the eyes of the law. I loved the ending and the fact that it still has me thinking.

This Dark Road to Mercy is Cash’s second novel and I’m looking forward to reading his debut effort (A Land More Kind than Home). This Dark Road to Mercy would also make a great Book Club selection.

For more reviews, check out my blog, Sarah's Book Shelves.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fine book but it's over sold, March 10, 2014
This review is from: This Dark Road to Mercy: A Novel (Hardcover)
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I had a little trouble reconciling the hype about this book with the actual book. From the title to the quips comparing it to To Kill a Mockingbird by way of Elmore Leonard this book promises to be something very special.

I think that promise takes away a lot of the enjoyment from this book.

There are great characters. Easter, Wade, Brady and Pruitt are interesting characters. They have credible voices of their own even if I dislike jumping from one first person narrative to another constantly. I was particularly impressed that Wade stayed a real true person and didn't become a caricature of the slacker dad.

The pace of the story is fine. The novel is fairly short so you are always headed somewhere. But the end was a little dull. There was no big pay off just a few run ins at a baseball stadium.

It is a fine story. It isn't Carson Mc Cullers or Stienbeck. It isn't even Grisham. But if you can separate out what it is and what it puports to be, it is worth reading.
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16 of 22 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Short Novel That Tries To Be A Little Bit of Everything, January 15, 2014
This review is from: This Dark Road to Mercy: A Novel (Hardcover)
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Wiley's Cash's new novel THIS DARK ROAD TO MERCY has a couple of appealing motherless sisters, a really dark villain bent on revenge, a good hearted former cop recovering from his own tragedy and a bumbling father who wants a relationship with his daughters but usually seems to make the wrong choices. The novel is set in the late summer of 1998 when baseball players Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire were both attempting to set a new record for hitting home runs in a single season. Baseball is a reoccurring motif in the novel. Most of the action takes place in Gastonia, North Carolina though the characters do travel to other areas as the novel progresses. The book has three narrators.

The first narrator introduced is Easter a twelve year old girl living in a social services home with her younger sister Ruby at the story's start. The girls' father Wade a former minor league baseball player had relinquished his parental rights, their mother has died of a drug overdose and their maternal grandparents are far away in Alaska. One day Wade shows up wanting a relationship with his daughters and soon afterwards he persuades them to go on the run with him.

Pruitt another former baseball player who is working as a bouncer after recently being released from prison is the next narrator. Pruitt has an extreme hatred of Wade who accidentally injured him and ended his professional ball career. When Wade steals a large amount of money from an underworld figure the cruel and ruthless Pruitt is happy to be hired to track Wade down both for the paycheck and a chance to get revenge.

The third narrator is Brady Weller a former cop whose career ended prematurely after he was involved in a tragic accident. Brady is the guardian ad litem for Wade's two daughters and when they disappear from their social services placement he joins the hunt to find them and their father.

THIS DARK ROAD TO MERCY tries very hard to please its audience with poignancy as well as action and suspense. Because of this the book's style often seems both self-conscious and uneven. The villain Pruitt is very derivative of other crazed people trackers who have recently appeared in print and on film. For me the book is not original, convincing or well written enough to give it more than the three star OK rating though I am sure it will find its fans.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars a little short on character development, March 5, 2014
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I adored Land More Kind than Home. one of the best ever! this was a bit shallow and felt like a screenplay. I had to fill in a lot myself.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful!!!!, March 20, 2014
By 
Stephen R. Winham (Saint Francisville, LA USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: This Dark Road to Mercy: A Novel (Hardcover)
As soon as you finish this book, you'll know you're going to read it again. Those who compared Wiley Cash to Harper Lee after A LAND MORE KIND THAN HOME, may (like I do) see a Harper Lee with strong notes of John Grisham thing going on in THIS DARK ROAD TO MERCY. The book starts strong and ends strong and it is hard to imagine who wouldn't see the wonder of the in-between. I've made it a practice in recent years to reserve 5 stars for things that are either perfect or so close to perfect the difference doesn't matter. This book clearly deserves 5 stars.

I was fortunate enough to meet and spend time with Wiley Cash recently. To say he is a nice guy is to understate his persona. He is a genuinely real person, even in celebrity, and his characters reflect the reality of humanity in an unparalleled way.
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This Dark Road to Mercy: A Novel
This Dark Road to Mercy: A Novel by Wiley Cash (Hardcover - January 28, 2014)
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