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This Dark Road to Mercy

This Dark Road to Mercy

4.4 23
by Wiley Cash

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The critically acclaimed author of the New York Times bestseller A Land More Kind Than Home—hailed as "a powerfully moving debut that reads as if Cormac McCarthy decided to rewrite Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird" (Richmond Times Dispatch)—returns with a resonant novel of love and atonement, blood and vengeance,


The critically acclaimed author of the New York Times bestseller A Land More Kind Than Home—hailed as "a powerfully moving debut that reads as if Cormac McCarthy decided to rewrite Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird" (Richmond Times Dispatch)—returns with a resonant novel of love and atonement, blood and vengeance, set in western North Carolina, involving two young sisters, a wayward father, and an enemy determined to see him pay for his sins.

After their mother's unexpected death, twelve-year-old Easter and her six-year-old sister Ruby are adjusting to life in foster care when their errant father, Wade, suddenly appears. Since Wade signed away his legal rights, the only way he can get his daughters back is to steal them away in the night.

Brady Weller, the girls' court-appointed guardian, begins looking for Wade, and he quickly turns up unsettling information linking Wade to a recent armored car heist, one with a whopping $14.5 million missing. But Brady Weller isn't the only one hunting the desperate father. Robert Pruitt, a shady and mercurial man nursing a years-old vendetta, is also determined to find Wade and claim his due.

Narrated by a trio of alternating voices, This Dark Road to Mercy is a story about the indelible power of family and the primal desire to outrun a past that refuses to let go.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
★ 11/15/2013
Cash's second novel, after his successful debut, A Land More Kind Than Home, does not disappoint. Twelve-year-old Easter and her six-year-old sister Ruby are caught in the foster care system in Gastonia, NC. Having signed away his legal custodial rights, their erstwhile father, Wade, an ex-minor league baseball player, has always said he would take care of them. One night he spirits them away from the one stable home the girls have known. Add to this mix a thug looking for Wade, owing to some missing money. Luckily the girls have someone on their side: Brady Weller, a court-appointed guardian who begins to look for them. VERDICT Narrated in alternating voices, this book captures the reader's attention from the start and never lets go. Readers who enjoyed Cash's first book or who are fans of well-written Southern fiction will enjoy this novel. [See Prepub Alert, 8/5/13; library marketing.]—Robin Nesbitt, Columbus Metropolitan Lib., OH
The New York Times Book Review - Marilyn Stasio
The voice is Southern and oh so charming in This Dark Road to Mercy, a crime novel by Wiley Cash that's also a road movie and a baseball tale and a wicked twist on Sixth-Grade Father-Daughter Night.
Publishers Weekly
Cash's follow up to his bestselling debut novel, A Land More Kind Than Home, picks up as Easter Quillby and her younger sister reconnect with their deadbeat father, Wade. With help from Brady Weller, an ex-cop, Wade and the daughters are on the run from clichéd bad man Pruitt, who on multiple occasions raises his sunglasses to deliver punch lines as he hunts Wade for stealing money from his gangster boss. The plot unfolds against a backdrop of Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa's race to break the season home run record—an all-too-obvious metaphor for the main story, which culminates in a bathroom confrontation at a baseball stadium where the two players meet. Most of Cash's characters lay flatly within the high drama of the plot. Brady's friend, the Black & Mild–smoking, rap-music-listening Roc, the novel's most notable character of color, delivers cringe-worthy lines like, "What up, playa?" and "Damn, son." Even fans of Cash's first novel may find the melodrama of his latest more of a quick fix than a memorable read. Agent: Nat Sobel, Sobel Weber Associates. (Feb.)
New York Times Book Review
“The voice is Southern and oh so charming in This Dark Road to Mercy, a crime novel that’s also a road movie and a baseball tale and a wicked twist on Sixth-Grade Father-Daughter Night.”
Garden & Gun magazine
“[Cash is] a new master of Southern gothic.”
The Guardian
“Exciting and suspenseful as well as moving, with a captivating heroine, this is a tremendous book.”
O Magazine
“Darkly mesmerizing.”
Wilmington Star News
This Dark Road to Mercy will stick in readers’ minds, especially Cash’s heroine, feisty, red-haired and freckled Easter, who joins Scout and Kaye Gibbons’ Ellen Foster in the pantheon of Southern kids in literature.”
Jill McCorkle
“A time capsule and at times an edgy thriller, but at its fine emotional center it’s all about what it means to be a father.”
Lee Smith
“The endangered little sisters Easter and Ruby will go straight to your heart, which will be thumping like crazy the entire time you’re reading this novel straight through as I did.”
Jess Walter
This Dark Road to Mercy is a terrific, moving and propulsive novel: Harper Lee by way of Elmore Leonard.”
Garden & Gun
“[Cash is] a new master of Southern gothic.”
Kirkus Reviews
Cash (A Land More Kind Than Home, 2012) follows his evocative debut with another striking take on Southern literature. Wade Chesterfield's a failed baseball player. He claims to have been Sammy Sosa's teammate on the Gastonia Rangers, a North Carolina minor league team. Now, Wade hangs drywall. Brady Weller used to be a Gastonia police detective, until he killed a teenage boy in a traffic accident. Now, Brady sells home security systems, offering silent penance by serving as a court guardian ad litem. That's how Brady meets Easter and Ruby Quillby, wards of the state. They're Wade's children, their mother dead of an overdose. Wade, parental rights signed long ago, now wants to be a true father. Wade's enabled by found money: a backpack of cash linked to an armored car robbery. In the rhythms and cadence of the South, Cash offers a tale about family and about the tenuous link among the right choices, living with consequences or seeking redemption. The story unfolds in three voices: 12-year-old Easter, echoing from naïve to wise, hopeful to fearful, believing and doubting; Brady, weary, bitter, intent on finding justice where he can; and finally, Robert Pruitt, former baseball player, now an ex-con driven by 'roid-rage and mindless hatred for Wade, who long ago hit him with a beanball and maimed him. Wade persuades his daughters to flee their foster home. In dread of being sent to Alaska to grandparents she's never met, Easter agrees, since "leaving with him seemed like the best answer." Despite admonitions from his former partner and threats from the FBI, Brady's intent on finding the girls. Then he learns Pruitt's being paid by Tommy Broughton, a small-time hood who engineered the armored car heist, to find Wade and the stolen money, and Brady's pursuit grows more urgent, realizing Pruitt will kill the girls to get to Wade. A story of family, blood loyalty and making choices that can seem right but end up wrong.

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HarperCollins Publishers
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Meet the Author

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.

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This Dark Road to Mercy: A Novel 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 23 reviews.
Burgher More than 1 year ago
This is a good read with enough suspense to keep you turning the pages to find what will happen. The chapters are short with intriguing enough characters to make the story believable. I found the ending a pleasant redeeming surprise.
Avid_Reader25 More than 1 year ago
I met Cash's mother right after his first novel, 'A Land More Kind Than Home', was published. She said it was fantastic, but what else would a mom say? Susan was absolutely correct. I loved his first book and was concerned that he might not live up to his own hype in his second venture. Fear not, 'This Dark Road To Mercy' does not disappoint! A page turner all the way through. Cash has a unique writing voice and a way of bringing each of his characters to life and giving them souls. I can't wait to read whatever he produces next! Buy 'This Dark Road To Mercy' and while you're shopping, pick up 'A Land More Kind Than Home'. You'll love them both!
RonnaL More than 1 year ago
After Wiley Cash's first spectacular book, A LAND MORE KIND THAN HOME, I wondered if he would become another one book wonder, but this new book does not disappoint.  Through the voices of a 12 year old foster child, her ex-policeman guardian ad litem, and a psychopath out for revenge, Wiley has produced another fast paced suspense developed around the ideas of a father's love and redemption.  Twelve year old Easter, and her six year old sister, Ruby haven't had an easy life. Now in foster care, their mother just recently died and apparently their negligent father, Wade, who signed away his parental rights, has come back into their lives.  Unfortunately, he's also gotten himself into trouble with a mobster who wants him dead and has hired a killer who has his own reasons for wanting to destroy Wade. Brady is the girls court appointed guardian, but he's also an ex-policeman and divorced father, with a teen aged daughter of his own.  This story builds empathy and suspense as Wade tries to reconnect to his girls without being caught by anyone who could change his plans for a new family life.   Brady gets caught up with the investigation of a robbery, while he remember's his own failings as a father as he tries to help the girls in his care. And the psychopath is right behind everything, leaving destruction in his path.  Wiley Cash travels this road with them, adding the exciting 1998 home run race between McGuire and Sosa as a backdrop tying everything together masterfully.  Once again, Wiley Cash has created the emotional Southern Novel at it's best.  Since I was also a Court Appointed Special Advocate, and I followed the 1998 batting record race between McGuire and Sosa all the way to attending the game with the 62nd homer by McGuire, this book took on an even greater attraction for me. Cash has definitely joined my list of all time favorite authors, with his ability to write a great book, and tie it all up so uniquely. 
KrittersRamblings More than 1 year ago
Check out the full review at Kritters Ramblings My second book by Wiley Cash and this one was even better than the previous!  An expert in Southern fiction, Cash set this book near where I lived for four years in Gastonia, NC with perfectly crafted southern characters that felt true.   Told through three points of view - one of the daughters - Easter, their court appointed guardian and ex cop - Brady, and the man hunting their father down for a reason - Pruitt.  The author did a fantastic job of moving the story forward through all three views and allowing each to have a completely distinct voice that added depth to the story.  the mystery of how each of these characters were connected and the backgrounds they each brought to the table was so interesting and kept me reading.  
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Quick and easy read with great characters. Some might say this book could have been longer, but I think it was just enough to tell a great story. A lot of baseball talk, which normally would bother me as I don't follow the sport, but it worked well with the story line. Will be reading more by this author.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good southern srorytelling
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wiley Cash is starting to be one of my most favorite authors. Really enjoyed both of the books he has written. I will definitely get the next book he publishes.
jldarden More than 1 year ago
Many reviewers here have given story descriptions so I well refrain. What I liked about this story was the ability to identify with various characters, which Cash builds well. As our families expand with children and grandchildren we have more opportunity to experience dysfunction. Some of the characters here represent that, and we can see ourselves in them. Experience with absentee parents, abandoned, fostered or adopted children place our hearts in the story. The father here had good intentions but poorly implemented decisions. The older daughter, through life experience, is common-sensical beyond her years and her protection of her sister feels real and natural.  Telling the story with three different voices worked for Cash and was not disjointed as some other books with this trick seem. Not sure I loved the conclusion but overall a great read. Recommended.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
brf1948 More than 1 year ago
Wiley Cash just keeps getting better. This novel was one I had to read fast to get there, and read again to savor the nuances of this classic southern tale. You too will fall in love with Easter and Ruby, and can't help but feel a little sympathy for Wade, despite his failings as a father and, basically, a human being. All of the characters in this novel are fully rounded and believable. The setting is the south in the the pre-electronic years, so easily pictured. Told in the first person of three of the characters, each with a strong individuality, this book though a quick read had everything it needed to satisfy the reader. I can hardly wait for the next Wiley Cash story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Fantastic author! I can't wait to see what he will write next.
Twink More than 1 year ago
Wiley Cash's first novel A Land More Kind Than Home was a New York Times bestseller. It garnered rave reviews, and I remember putting it on my never ending must read list. Well, I never did get to it, but his second novel, This Dark Road to Mercy, has just released in trade format - and I jumped at the chance to review it. Twelve year old Easter and her six year old sister Ruby are now living in a foster home. Their mother has died and their father Wade signed away his parental rights years ago. But it is something in the way the man watching the ballgame Easter is playing that rings a bell.....it is Wade and he wants his girls to come with him. There's another man watching too - Wade has something that belongs to someone else. Pruitt will do whatever it takes to get that something back - and extract vengeance on Wade for an event from both their pasts. Easter, older and wiser beyond her years, makes a decision -and the three are on the run. There's a third man as well - Brady is the girls' court appointed guardian - and he too is on the trail of Wade and the girls. I loved Easter's voice from the first line...."Wade disappeared on us when I was nine years old and then he showed up out of nowhere the year I turned twelve." She presents a hard exterior to the world, shielding herself and her sister from further hurt. Small vulnerabilities - wondering if a boy likes her for example, were all the more poignant as she is feeling her way through life without a parent. Each of the characters in the book has a past - a past that influences the direction their present is taking. Wrongs that need righting, hopes, dreams, what could have been and what could be are entwined in the narratives of the three main characters. And somehow, to all three, this moment in represents redemption. From the author's notes "....As a six-year-old, you're called a liar when you tell a story that you know isn't true. But if you can keep telling stories and wait just a few more years, people will eventually call you a writer. Even when they know your stories aren't true."  I think Cash is a great storyteller. This Dark Road to Mercy had mystery and suspense elements, but it was the characters themselves that captured me - especially Easter, with Wade a close second. The ending was absolutely perfect. (And I quiet enjoyed the baseball references.)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
melissaMR More than 1 year ago
I am very impressed with the writings of Wiley Cash! I've recommended these dark, gothic Southern books of Mr.Cash (particularly, if one enjoys the literary writings/styles works of Faulkner, Cormac McCarthy, Faulkner, and the like.
crossword69 More than 1 year ago
I had never read a Wiley Cash book previously, and when a reviewer says a book cannot be put down, this is the exact description of the reader of this book.  The characters are realistic, the premise relevant, and is truly a fast read with a believable ending.  I must read Wiley's previous book asap!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Although his first book is my favorite, i liked this one too! I look forward to more from Wiley Cash. His writing style is wonderfully engaging!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really liked his style of writing and the story had a good amount of suspense too.
grandmareads102 More than 1 year ago
Wiley Cash has written a novel with great emotional depth. It is gritty and realistic. The characters are well written and unforgettable. The author skillfully interweaves storylines. I enjoyed how he uses baseball as a backdrop in The Dark Road to Mercy.It highlights this intense emotional and suspenseful drama.I was pulled into the story of Easter and Ruby and their absent father, Wiley. I wish my words could do justice to this wonderful book. Don't miss reading this story.
quaintinns More than 1 year ago
THIS DARK ROAD TO MERCY was captivating------a thrilling page-turner, and southern family drama----full of suspense and written from the heart (movie worthy). I highly recommend the audiobook --a stellar performance! Each voice resonating the true south, coinciding perfectly with the richly developed characters. If you are a NC native, you will relate to every part of this suspenseful novel, from the dialect, descriptions, setting, the people, and the places—so authentic. The audiobook, narrated by: Jenna Lamia, Erik Bergmann, and Scott Sowers---the author could not have chosen three more perfect performers. Jenna Lamia's remarkable performance was ideal for Easter, with her southern NC accent; Erik Bergman's slow, gentle voice was a perfect match for Brady's kindness and background; while Scott Sowers makes listeners quiver with his rendering of Pruitt, a sociopathic hit man. What I absolutely loved about THIS DARK ROAD TO MERCY, was the inspiration behind this novel---I would encourage all readers to view Wiley Cash’s website. The special meaning behind this original and powerful story, and how it was conceived--- sealing the deal for me as a reader. To connect not only with the words of the book, the voices, but the personal connection with the author and his vision. Wiley Cash, author shared this story, so eloquently through the pages of this striking yet powerful story of the heart. As he mentions, THIS DARK ROAD TO MERCY was inspired by both beauty and tragedy, innocence and evil, and these conflicting elements drive the novel---a story of mercy. A story of emotional loss, mercy, compassion and redemption. Cash mixes love, grace, and sympathy with a thriller suspense novel, making for a must read southern hit. A book of forgiveness and kindness, and characters which will tug at your heart strings. Captivating and heartbreaking, This Dark Road reinforces the bonds of family and a desire to outrun a past, which resurfaces. This is the second novel of Wiley Cash (I have not read the first-- A LAND MORE KIND THAN HOME); however, plan to do so). This is a true southern author, you will want to follow, as envision many more bestsellers to follow! I for one, look forward to the journey-- from this master storyteller which captivated me from the stunning front cover, hooked me within the first five minutes, and held me to the very end – reading (listened) in one day. Fans of Nicholas Sparks (NC), and Charles Martin(Jacksonville, FL) will love Wiley Cash---even though each have their own genre and unique style. They share warm personalities, humanitarians, love of family, and community----their writing talents are reflective through their inspiring writing, and settings within the south. Also fans of Deborah Johnson, Carla Buckley, and T. Greenwood will enjoy reading THIS DARK ROAD TO MERCY. As a North Carolina native, myself--- (currently residing in West Palm Beach, FL, and having spent years in Atlanta, GA); however, have not forgotten my North Carolina roots. With family remaining in NC in Piedmont area near the setting of this book, am very proud to have discovered this dynamic southern writer, also a NC native!