Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “This Dark Road to Mercy” as Want to Read:
This Dark Road to Mercy
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

This Dark Road to Mercy

3.73  ·  Rating Details ·  5,659 Ratings  ·  1,033 Reviews
The critically-acclaimed author of the New York Times bestseller A Land More Kind Than Home returns with a resonant novel of love and atonement, blood and vengeance, involving two young sisters, a wayward father, and an enemy determined to see him pay for his sins

When their mother dies unexpectedly, twelve-year-old Easter and her six-year-old sister Ruby are shuffled into
Hardcover, 232 pages
Published January 28th 2014 by William Morrow (first published 2014)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about This Dark Road to Mercy, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Will Byrnes
Jan 08, 2014 Will Byrnes rated it really liked it
Shelves: baseball
There is a lot of used-to-be in Wiley Cash’s sophomore novel, This Dark Road to Mercy. Wade Chesterfield used to be a baseball player, used to be a husband and used to be a father. But he went oh-for three and now, as a guy who used to hang drywall and is on the run, he is mostly a crook.

Bobby Pruitt had been a ballplayer too, but his damaged youth led him in a dark direction, and now he is an enforcer for a local thug. He would like to apply his professional skills to Wade, not only in service
Angela M
Jan 21, 2015 Angela M rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wiley Cash has shown once again that he is a writer I will continue to follow. I have to admit that I didn't feel the grip of the writing quite as much as I did with A Land More Kind Than Home; this one was a little less edgy . But I was so taken with one of the narrators, 12 year Easter. It's impressive how Cash gets inside the head of this young girl. I fell in love with the precocious Easter and her sweet younger sister Ruby.

They've had sad little lives right from the beginning . It's heartb
Dec 28, 2016 Rebbie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, 2016
There is so much more going on inside this novel that the synopsis doesn't mention. I'm not talking about plot points, either. I'm talking about the nuances between our perceptions of certain kinds of people versus how they feel about themselves, especially after they're forced to deal with the consequences of their actions.

Easter and Ruby, 13 and 8 respectively, are stuck in the foster care system after their mother dies from an overdose. Their father has long since disappeared, having signed
Dec 05, 2015 ❀Julie rated it really liked it
Shelves: library
Having read two of this author’s books now, there were common features in both stories that I really liked. In both he creates a vivid Southern atmosphere, along with unforgettable characters, portraying the young and innocent in a way that tugs at your heart strings. Two young sisters are kidnapped from their foster home by their estranged father after the loss of their irresponsible mother. It was impossible not to care about these adorable sisters, Easter and Ruby as their safety was at risk. ...more
Diane S ☔
Nov 04, 2013 Diane S ☔ rated it really liked it
3.5 Wiley Cash has the enviable knack of writing about siblings needing to protect each other and he has created two sisters this time that find themselves in that same situation. Just the protecting because Easter and her little sister Ruby, are not in danger from their father Wade, but from a man who is after Wade for revenge.

I liked this book, liked outspoken and incredibly wise for her years, Easter and loved little Ruby who looks on so many things with wonder. Loved the baseball talk and th
Jun 19, 2016 Snotchocheez rated it it was amazing

I'll get my rant out of the way: I totally hate(d) the cover and the title of this book. Sure, the photo's beautiful, but what's it trying to convey? Bleak rural America? Wiley Cash's North Carolina? The Great Depression? There ain't no telling. And that pseudo-poetic title, This Dark Road to Mercy, so wordy, unspecific, and unmemorable, I'll be forever doomed to refer to this as "Wiley Cash's Second Novel" as there's no way my peabrain's gonna cull that title from the recesses of my addled brai
Aug 05, 2016 Lynn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-group, reread
My memory is not infallible....plots and characters get scrambled because I read too much (is this even possible?). Well, anyway, the opening scene of this book stuck with me 2.5 years because it was so powerful. I knew immediately where it was going when I reread it, and still I felt dread and admiration for the understated storytelling.

There is a lot to dread in this novel, but much more to admire and enjoy.
Originally read Feb 2014. Reread Aug 2016 for DCL book group.
Ron Charles
Nov 13, 2013 Ron Charles rated it liked it
‘Moderation in all things” is not bad advice, but Aristotle never wrote any good Southern gothic novels. In that macabre world, the last thing we want is moderation. Faulkner knew this. (Necrophilia? Check.) Ron Rash knows this. (Pet killer eagle? Check.) And in his first novel, “A Land More Kind Than Home,” Wiley Cash proved that he knew it, too. (Snake-handling preacher? Check.)

But now, in his second novel, the poetically titled “This Dark Road to Mercy,” Cash seems to have lost his nerve, whi
Cathrine ☯
Jul 11, 2015 Cathrine ☯ rated it liked it

It was a goodread. But not great. I loved his first novel so it is easy for me to say if you can only read one of Wiley Cash’s two books I recommend A Land More Kind Than Home. That said, this was not unworthy of my time.

The great: The narrative of Easter Quillby. Her character was so authentic and I loved the sections told from her POV.

The not so great: The sense of drama fell flat. Unlike his first novel, I never felt the sense of dread, danger, and edginess that was so well done and palpa
Jan 03, 2014 Perry rated it really liked it
Don't Wanna Miss One Smile; Just Want U to Know Who I Am

"You're the closest to heaven that I'll ever be
And I don't wanna go home right now."
Goo Goo Dolls, Iris, 1998

"I don't wanna close my eyes,
I don't wanna fall asleep,
'Cause I'd miss you, baby,
And I don't wanna miss a thing.
Aerosmith, I Don't Want to Miss a Thing, 1998

Set during the summer of 1998, during which the above 2 songs dominated the airwaves, and in which St. Louis Cardinal Mark McGwire and Chicago Cub Sammy Sosa chased the single-se
Nov 05, 2013 Britany rated it it was amazing
Wow- I must've read this book in two sittings, once I started, I was hooked. Easter and Ruby Quillby are two sisters living in a foster home after losing their mother, relying on each other and making the best of a sad situation. Their father, Wade Chesterfield shows up and decides to take fate into his hands by taking the girls on a road trip that they will never forget. Mix in this family dynamic another side plot of money being stolen and Wade being on the run from a mob boss, seedy bar owner ...more
Nov 05, 2013 Connie rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014
I really looked forward to this after loving A Land More Kind Than Home and I was pleased to read another wonderful story from Mr. Cash.

I would say that this one does not smack you in the face quite as quickly as his first, but the tension builds slowly and the page turning becomes faster as you move along. Cash creates some characters who have suffered broken dreams, hard times and have not always made the best choices. Some of them are trying to pull themselves up (without much luck) while o
Nov 20, 2013 Jessica rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, arc-egalley
I think I am the only one so far who was very underwhelmed by this one.

It's the story of a pair of girls whose mother passes away suddenly and are shuffled into state custody. Their father, who signed away his rights a long time ago, shows up and decides he wants them back. When the officials balk at his request, he decides he's just going to take them. The problem is, Wade's made more than a few enemies and the court-appointed guardian is not the only person looking for him.

The book alternate
Nov 28, 2015 ☮Karen rated it really liked it
Shelves: audio, read-in-2015
First let me say how much I adore  stories  involving little  girls.  I cannot resist them.  Secondly, the three narrators on the audio version were just so good, I don't think I missed a word, which rarely happens.  Third, the story itself is simply irresistible.  So very fine.  Great Southern lit; a dad on the run from a particularly  bad fellow while at the same time trying to win the approval of the two girls, his estranged daughters, so they can be a family; and a very loveable ex-cop who i ...more
In "This Dark Road to Mercy" Wiley Cash spins a yarn that readers will not soon forget.

Young sisters Easter and Ruby Quilby have never met an adult they can trust. They've essentially raised themselves since their drug addicted mother offers no support, and their father, Wade, has long-since run out on the family. When their mother dies, the girls move into a foster home. Several months later, their Wade resurfaces, wanting to make a new life with the girls. When told that he had previously sign
Mar 06, 2016 Dana rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobooks
Having just finished the author's first book, A Land More Kind Than Home, I had really high expectations for this one, but This Dark Road to Mercy fell a little short. While I did enjoy the story - especially told from Easter's point of view, I found my mind wandering through the other two points of view at times. I loved the two sisters, and was even fond of their father who had kidnapped them. I even shed a few tears at the end. Part of my disappointment in the book could have been that this w ...more
Nov 06, 2013 Alena rated it really liked it
Shelves: bpl-ordered
I'm not sure what I expected as a follow up to the brilliant A Land More Kind Than Home, but I have to admit it took me a little while to admit to myself that Wiley Cash was writing about a whole new cast of characters in his second novel. Once I accepted I wouldn't find charismatic preachers and deaf-mute children, I settled in for a really good read.

Once again we have broken spirits, vulnerable children, fractured families and one truly bad guy that made my skin crawl; but in this novel the ch
Jan 03, 2014 Cosima rated it it was ok
Wow. To say this book is flat is an understatement.

Once I cracked the book open and saw how it was going to be, I couldn't finish it fast enough even though it's a short novel with little real substance to necessitate attentive reading.

The novel is set in 1998 Gastonia, NC and follows the story of two sisters, 12-year-old Easter and 6-year-old Ruby Quillby, who have been placed in an orphanage after their mother dies. Their father Wade Chesterfield, a hopelessly inept criminal who has no rights
Liz Barnsley
Oct 31, 2013 Liz Barnsley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Coming January 2014 from Random House UK/Transworld Publishers

Thank you to the author and publisher for the netgalley review copy.

When their mother dies unexpectedly, twelve-year-old Easter and her six-year-old sister Ruby are shuffled into the foster care system in Gastonia, North Carolina, a town not far from the Appalachian mountains. But just as they settle into their new life, their errant father, Wade, an ex-minor league baseball player whom they haven’t seen in years, suddenly appears and
Elizabeth of Silver's Reviews

No mother, a deadbeat dad, a foster home, and then a kidnapping.

Easter and Ruby were placed in a foster home after their mother died since their father, Wade, had signed them away many years ago. But now he wanted them back. Wade was bad news all around.

Easter followed all the rules and Ruby followed whatever Easter said. Both girls will steal your heart because of their innocence and sweet ways. Their father will make you worry.

THIS DARK ROAD TO MERCY is told in alternating voices with themes
Cathy DuPont
Feb 09, 2015 Cathy DuPont rated it it was amazing
Sad, check.
Family, check.
Bad guys, check.
Baseball, check.
Good guys, check.
Motherhood, check.
Fatherhood, check.
Foster home, check.
Stolen money, check.
Stole my heart, check.
Great characters, check.
Fantastic storyline, check.

Read it and grateful I have because it might be the best book I'll read all year.
Mar 03, 2015 Shaun rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2015
This is my second Wiley Cash novel, the first being A Land More Kind Than Home, which I didn't really care for (though very popular).

This was a tough one for me to rate. On one hand, I felt as if the writing was competent and the story full of potential and well-paced, but on the other, it was all just a little blah.

There were a few interesting twists and turns that kept my interest, but I never really felt any strong connection to any of the characters.

That said, it's not bad, and I can underst
An excellent top-pick 2014 read. Five, character-driven, suspense stars of dark southern finesse.

Wiley Cash is a talented and gifted author of literary suspense and intrigue. His debut novel, “A Land More Kind than Home” was phenomenal. “This Dark Road to Mercy” equaled, if not surpassed, the same level of pulse-pounding suspense, character-rich depth, and merciful message. Tight crisp writing penned brilliantly and tastefully.

“This Dark Road to Mercy” is a multifaceted, time-layered story: pa
Feb 22, 2014 LindaJ^ rated it it was ok
So much promise; so little achieved.

The first two chapters had me hooked - especially the flash back where Easter tells of her mother's death. But ultimately, this book never lives up to its potential. It is an ok read but could have been great. It is just too lacking in intensity.

Two young girls find themselves in foster care after their mother dies of a drug overdose. Their dad, a failed baseball pitcher, gave up his parental rights to them a few years ago but, having learned of the death of
Kim Trusty
Feb 28, 2014 Kim Trusty rated it it was amazing
This book. I'd reserved a copy from the library and was a little more than half way through it when I found it at a bookstores going out of business sale for 50% off the original price. What. A. Steal. This book. Goodness gracious, I've barely finished the last line and the tears are barely dry on my cheeks but I had to say something about this book. Revenge. Redemption, of a sort. Fathers who fail and try to make good. Daughters who don cynical armour that can't quite keep out hope. God, this b ...more
Dec 20, 2013 Raven rated it it was amazing
Along with Ryan David Jahn, Wiley Cash has quickly cemented a place in my affections as an outstanding contemporary American crime fiction writer. In the light of his exceptional debut novel, A Land More Kind Than Home, my expectations were high when embarking on this, his second, This Dark Road To Mercy.

Over the course of the last two years, there have been a plethora of novels, the majority of which American, using a young female character at the heart of the plot, but I can honestly say that
Nov 04, 2013 Ronna rated it it was amazing
I received this book free from first reads. This is my honest review.

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 y
{Enter Name Here}
Feb 18, 2014 {Enter Name Here} rated it it was ok
This book immediately caught my attention with the bleak picture and title but it's not as dark as I hoped. The first half had too much fluff and read like a movie on Lifetime. Somewhere around the middle the pace and plot picked up dramatically which redeemed the book somewhat. I was confused by some of the Pruitt's scenes that did not make much sense even after repeat readings and I thought the entire Sosa/McGuire home run derby was a bit hokey to be honest. Most importantly I had serious ques ...more

While there is a darkness that is somewhat ever-present in this story, the flip side of that is a love story. A fairly messed-up love story, that adds even more darkness and craziness, but also more layers of the love that is just shown in just bits and pieces, tokens here and there in the beginning. Granted this is not your typical love story, but what true love story ever is?

Feb 21, 2014 Barbara rated it really liked it
Easter and Ruby Quilby have lived in a foster home in Gastonia, North Carolina since their mother died from a drug overdose. Their father, Wade Chesterfield - an unsuccesful former minor league baseball player - had unwillingly given up parental rights and longs to get his daughters back. So when Wade gets the chance he robs a gangster of money from an armored truck heist, sneaks his daughters out of the foster home, and runs off with them.

The story is told from three points of view: Easter Qui
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Bound Together: This Dark Road to Mercy Discussion 145 74 Dec 31, 2015 07:32AM  
  • Byrd
  • Where All Light Tends to Go
  • The Tilted World
  • The Resurrectionist
  • Kind of Kin
  • Lookaway, Lookaway
  • Saints at the River
  • The Free
  • The Last Death of Jack Harbin (Samuel Craddock Mystery, #2)
  • Cataloochee
  • The Kept
  • Long Man
  • The Secret of Magic
  • Fear the Darkness (Brigid Quinn, #2)
  • The Long Fall
  • Dry Bones in the Valley
  • Mr Lynch's Holiday
  • Let Him Go
Wiley Cash is the author of The New York Times best seller A Land More Kind than Home (William Morrow/HarperCollins). A native of North Carolina, he and his wife currently live in Morgantown, WV. Please visit to learn more about Wiley's novel or to schedule a visit with your book club, class, or community.
More about Wiley Cash...

Share This Book

“Humph,” she said as if she’d discovered something.” 0 likes
More quotes…