Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Review: This Dark Road to Mercy by Wiley Cash

Wiley Cash earned rave reviews for his first novel,A Land More Kind Than Home, proving that he's a force to be reckoned with on the Southern fiction scene. His newest novel, This Dark Road to Mercy, reinforces his mastery of gothic undertones and characters on the edge. In his latest, a gritty road trip tale, he tackles themes of family, redemption, and second chances as his characters travel down their own dark roads to mercy.

Easter Quillby, named for one of her mother's favorite things, lives in a children's home with her younger sister, Ruby. The girls have been in the home for a short while following their mother's drug overdose when their feckless, former baseball minor leaguer father reappears. Wade Chesterfield is an ex-con as well as a former pitcher and despite having renounced his parental rights to Easter and Ruby years ago, he wants a second chance with his daughters now. But Wade doesn't have the time to go through the proper channels to reclaim his daughters and Easter isn't sure she wants him to either. Even with her reservations, she and Ruby climb out the window of the children's home and into Wade's car, running just ahead of hired thug Bobby Pruitt. Pruitt is a cold, psychopathic character, another former baseball player and ex-con, disfigured and nursing an enormous grudge against Wade.  Pruitt is more than willing to kill Wade and his girls over money missing from a small time, small town crime boss after an armored car robbery. Brady Weller, the girls' guardian ad litem and a former cop who is haunted by his own failures as a father is just as determined as Pruitt to find Wade but he only wants to bring the girls back safely.

As Wade, Easter, and Ruby drive down the southeastern seaboard trying to stay one step ahead of Pruitt, they just as avidly follow along as Mark McGuire and Sammy Sosa race to beat Roger Maris' single season homerun record. And just as no one could know which heavy hitter would come out on top, there is no foregone conclusion in the novel over whether the brutal Pruitt or the determined Brady will find Wade and the girls first. The novel is narrated in fairly equal parts by Easter, Brady, and Pruitt, offering different perspectives on the same set of circumstances. Each of the three has something in the past that has shaped them and continues to haunt them and drive them. The tension is palpable throughout the novel and increases at a measured pace as the ultimate, inevitable showdown comes ever closer. Cash has written a formidable, engrossing second novel rife with vengeance and suspense, baggage from the past and fresh starts, atonement and forgiveness, failure and a sort of redemption. I can't wait to see what he does next.

For more information about Wiley Cash and the book, check out his website, his Facebook page, or follow him on Twitter. Follow the rest of the blog tour or look at the amazon reviews for others' thoughts and opinions on the book.

Thanks to Trish from TLC Book Tours and the publisher for sending me a copy of the book for review.

1 comment:

  1. I haven't read his previous book but based on your review I need to put both that book and this one on my TBR list!

    Thanks for being on the tour. I'm featuring your review on TLC's Facebook page today.


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