This Dark Road to Mercy: A Novel (Hardcover)

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Staff Reviews

Cash has done it again with This Dark Road to Mercy. With A Land More Kind than Home, Wiley Cash established himself as a powerful novelist and has continued his success with This Dark Road to Mercy.

Easter and Ruby Quillby’s mother is dead. Their father, Wade Chesterfield, a former minor league baseball player, signed away his parental rights years ago. Easter and Ruby have no one who knows them except perhaps for their court-appointed guardian, Brady Weller, a disgraced cop.

Chesterfield’s failed baseball career has made his life difficult. He is at his lowest when he comes across an unexpected, but dangerous windfall and plans to get his girls back. To do this, Chesterfield must steal them from the children’s home they’ve lived since their mother’s death. Topping off the main cast of characters is Robert Pruitt, who played minor league baseball with Chesterfield and has his own reasons for meeting up with Chesterfield.

We follow Chesterfield across the country with Easter and Ruby as they attempt to break free from the past. This fractured family must find a way to trust even when each breaks that bond at every turn. Weller and Pruitt are in hot pursuit of Chesterfield’s family, in separate ways and with separate motives. Weller and Pruitt have something to prove to themselves and those around them.

You can see the complexity in Cash’s story, can’t you? Cash uses multiple points of view with Easter, Weller and Pruitt to tell the story and, I will say, he does an excellent job in my opinion. As you know if you’ve read my other reviews, I’m not wild about storytelling using multiple POVs. However, I have discovered several authors who are helping me see the value of this method and the skill necessary to do it well. Cash is one of these authors. Cash’s writing and dead-on dialog complete this extraordinary tale.

This Dark Road to Mercy is about loyalty, trust, friendship, the power of family and love. If you haven’t read A Land More Kind than Home, Cash’s first novel, then pick it up now. Read his books one after the other. You won’t be disappointed. Wouldn’t you rather spend a few hours with good books? I guarantee you’ll read these two books at a record pace. These are No Chores Today (NCT) books so get comfortable with Wiley Cash and your beverage of choice. Everything else can wait.

(Read my review of A Land More Kind than Home on Redbery’s website: Wendy’s Easy Chair, page 2.)

— From Wendy's Easy Chair 3

February 2014 Indie Next List

“While the nation is consumed by the competition between home-run hitters Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire, two young motherless girls in North Carolina are approached by their estranged and unpredictable ex-baseball-player father. Their court-appointed guardian becomes alarmed as a sinister man with an axe to grind reveals himself. Told in alternating voices, this spellbinding novel is reminiscent of the dark, spare work of Cormac McCarthy. At once gritty and evocative, This Dark Road to Mercy is riveting and not to be missed!”
— Tova Beiser, Brown University Bookstore, Providence, RI


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.

About the Author

Wiley Cash is the award-winning and New York Times bestselling author of A Land More Kind Than Home and the acclaimed This Dark Road to Mercy. He won the SIBA Book Award and the Conroy Legacy Award, was a finalist for the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize, and has been nominated for many more awards. A native of North Carolina, he has held residency positions at Yaddo and the MacDowell Colony and is the writer in residence at the University of North Carolina Asheville. He lives in Wilmington, North Carolina with his wife and their two young daughters.

Praise For…

“[Cash is] a new master of Southern gothic.”
Garden & Gun magazine

“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.”
Jill McCorkle, author of Life After Life

“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.”
Lee Smith, author of Guests on Earth

This Dark Road to Mercy is a terrific, moving and propulsive novel: Harper Lee by way of Elmore Leonard.”
Jess Walter, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Beautiful Ruins

“Cash follows his evocative debut with another striking take on Southern literature. . . . 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.”
Kirkus Reviews

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.”
Wilmington Star News

“Darkly mesmerizing.”
O Magazine

“Exciting and suspenseful as well as moving, with a captivating heroine, this is a tremendous book.”
The Guardian

“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.”
New York Times Book Review

Coverage from NPR

Product Details
ISBN: 9780062088253
ISBN-10: 0062088254
Publisher: William Morrow
Publication Date: January 28th, 2014
Pages: 240
Language: English