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Cry Father

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  593 ratings  ·  116 reviews
In the tradition of Cormac McCarthy and Larry Brown comes a haunting story about men, their fathers, their sons, and the legacy of violence.

For Patterson Wells, disaster is the norm. Working alongside dangerous, desperate, itinerant men as a tree clearer in disaster zones, he’s still dealing with the loss of his young son. Writing letters to the boy offers some solace. The
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published September 16th 2014 by Gallery Books
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Average rating 3.95  · 
Rating details
 ·  593 ratings  ·  116 reviews

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Jul 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
this is a really great literary foil to We Are Called to Rise. it is a different take on the same theme - that one act can have unexpected consequences and set off a chain reaction of events. but there's none of the nicey-nice of w.a.c.t.r. here. in this book, when that act happens, you are fucked, brother.

here, you can rescue a naked woman tied up in a tweaker's bathtub in the first scene and still somehow end up being the bad guy by the end of the book. or one of the bad guys, anyway.

this is
Dan Schwent
Jan 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Patterson Wells is a tree clearer who has never gotten over the death of his son and writes letters to him and lives a life of self destruction. He meets Junior Bascom, a drug runner traveling down a similar path. Will they be one another's salvation or ticket to the grave?

I got this from Netgalley. It took the publisher almost five months to approve my request and the ARC is full of spaces inside words and weird characters at the beginning of some sentences, making some paragraphs hard to read.
I won a copy of this from a Goodreads giveaway.

I really want Benjamin Whitmer to become a wildly popular writer, but not because he deserves to be recognized for his talent, which he does. Instead I’ve got more selfish reasons. I met Mr. Whitmer a few years back at Bouchercon in St. Louis and bought a copy of his book Pike that he was nice enough to sign for me. Pike was a very good novel that far too few people have read. If Mr. Whitmer turns into The Next Big Thing, then I’d have a signed firs
Shelby *trains flying monkeys*
This type of book is quickly becoming one of my favorite "genres" to read. Dark, gritty fiction that will either make you think twice about your fellow man or stick your head in that oven. I have an electric oven so that rules that out for me. So I'm just gonna keep on reading em.

This book starts with Patterson going over to a friend's house to go fishing. When he goes to the bathroom he realizes that his good buddy Chase has his wife "hog-tied" in the bathroom. Well, she did piss him off. Patte
James Thane
Oct 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed Benjamin Whitmer's Pike, and I like his new book even better. It's a tough, gritty examination of the relationship between fathers and sons: violent, profane, and beautifully written.

The characters are all compelling, principal among them Patterson Wells. Wells leads a tough existence by any standard, working as a member of a crew that goes in and cleans out fallen trees in the wake of hurricanes, tornadoes and other natural disasters. It's a brutal job, consisting of long hours
Aug 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Compared to other books that are placed in the "crime" section, not much action really happens in Cry Father. But it's miles away from being uneventful or boring. Thanks to Whitmer's uncanny sense of characterization and his vivid and forceful prose, this book is a standout and is more engaging than many of the popular crime novels these days. It probably shouldn't even be considered "crime." It's a portrait of two damaged men: Patterson Wells, a tree clearer in disaster zones that are just as t ...more
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

“It’s been a hell of a summer for your drinking.”
“It’s been a hell of a summer,” he says, without looking at Patterson.

Patterson Wells is a tree trimmer in disaster zones and is returning home from a job when he stops off to see his friend Chase. He finds Chase “working on a heap of crystal meth the size of his shrunken head.” He also finds a woman hogtied in the bathtub. He sets her free and leaves Chase to work on his heap of meth but this single incident sets in m
Nov 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: literary
You want great storytelling with a bit of gun play, twisted family histories, and a sense of hope? Then read CRY FATHER. To say anything about the plot would only spoil the experience of reading this incredible novel.

The Shayne-Train
Jun 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Benjamin Whitmer may just be the reigning potentate of grit-lit. The viceroy of hillbilly noir.

This is a finely-crafted, blood-soaked, swear-filled, action-packed, horrendous fucking decision of a novel. Meth and beer and bullet wounds, stolen cars and broken teeth, and an old dog named Sancho.

And beneath the whip-smart writing is an investigation on the way fathers affect their sons, and sons affect their fathers.
Benoit Lelièvre
Jul 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Stark. Powerful. Thoroughly masculine. These are the words I would use to describe CRY FATHER to a fellow reader. It's not a novel you can easily summarize, though. It's syncopated, broken and its mastery of language goes beyond the act of definition. That Benjamin Whitmer guy is GOOD. So GOOD I spent half of the time I was reading CRY FATHER being ridiculously inspired and half of the time intimidated by Whitmer's preternatural talent at drawing the subtlest shades of the human condition.

This m
Paul Pessolano
Jul 10, 2014 rated it liked it
“Cry Father” by Benjamin Whitmer, published by Gallery Books.

Category – Fiction/Literature Publication Date – September 16, 2014

Patterson Wells has never gotten over the death of his son. He tries to relieve the pain by writing him letters. He has forsaken his wife and his former life. He now is an itinerant worker doing a dangerous job of clearing trees. However, his real danger is in the life and leads and the people he keeps in contact with. His world has become one of violence, drugs, and al
Amanda Gowin
Aug 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I stopped halfway through to think this one over, because it's different. Surface-wise, thematically I mean, there's a lot of the same rough and tough modern day transgressive/noir fare: meth, guns, the desert, quiet men - but I've got it, now. A lot of modern novels take a slick behaviorist approach to their "other side of the tracks" characters and lifestyles, sticking to that Skinner/Watson style, smooth and observational. I'm not disrespecting those books at all when I say that Ben takes hol ...more
Steve Weddle
Jan 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
From the woods of Colorado to the dive bars of Denver, Benjamin Whitmer’s CRY FATHER creates a setting, a mood that digs into you like a splinter.

Hiding in a small cabin with his dog, Patterson Wells works professionally at disaster clean-up, travelling across the country following storms to clear debris and get the power back on. In his personal life, though, he can’t seem to do the same. For Patterson, the disaster was the death of his son due to a doctor’s mistake. Not only did this take the
Nik Korpon
Oct 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
Reading Whitmer is both a treat and an exercise in masochism. He leads readers through broken landscapes littered by broken people who are somehow rendered sympathetic (or at least you trust them long enough to turn your back, which might be your undoing) with beautiful and understated prose that is evocative as it is devastating. All of which makes me want to quit writing altogether because I'll never do it as well as he does.

Cry Father is more subtle than his debut, Pike. It's not quite as ph
Aug 02, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: grit-lit-noir, 2015
This Whitmer guy is on his way to become one of my favorite authors.

“I think it’s about loss. That when you lose someone or something important there’s a hole that gets left where it used to live inside of you...because it’s only a hole, so they make up stories just as awful and terrifying as it is. They throw all these things down into it, hoping to fill it up.”

“We’re all everything we’ve lost... Nothing ends, nothing heals.”
Jan 10, 2015 rated it liked it
Hard book to review. Strong writing and just to repeat myself solid characters but a little slow I think if my mind was in a different space while I read it I would have rated it higher, will have to reread sometime to see if my view of the novel changes but not in immediate future:)
Dec 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Very impressively written with a spare but powerful style this was a dark, grittily realistic, and violent (though not gratuitously) look at life, choices, and loss.
May 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A cast of characters without a trace of moral fiber. I loved it!
Oct 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This novel is a major accomplishment and I hope that it gets the attention and respect it deserves. It's rare one can find this kind of texture blended into fast-moving crime story. If it even is a crime story, I think it's much more. It's been compared to Cormac McCarthy and I can see why. The prose is often straightforward, deceptively simple, and at other times infused with language so delicate and well-chosen it leaves you shook with it's poetic beauty. It's the mark of true talent when you' ...more
Mar 06, 2016 rated it it was ok
Well, here it is. My first official Goodreads review.

I'm not sure what I am missing that everyone else on here is saying is great about this book, but I thought it was a below average read.

I went searching for a true grit lit book and was stoked when I read the first chapter of this book, but after a few more, I quickly became bored of it.

The characters were hardly people you could get excited about or cared about. After every chapter I was left thinking "so what?" I literally could not have car
Easily one of the best books I've read this year. Stunningly real like a PTSD nightmare. Whitmer gets so inside these characters, realizes them so fully, I had scary flashbacks to dangerous dudes I knew who must have been much worse than I ever imagined because they carried this kind of darkness along with their guns. Brutal physical violence, sure. Better get prepared also for an emotional bludgeoning. In this novel's world, redemption means keeping your pain in a chokehold, but making sure tha ...more
Nov 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This book is everything that is right about modern crime and noir. A deeply involved, heartfelt plot that doesn't come at the expense of character. The people being written about in Cry Father are every bit as rich and layered as you'll find in literary fiction. With one helluva story driving the narrative. Simply put, Benjamin Whitamer is one of the genre's best, and this novel shines as a brilliant example of why. The best book about damaged fathers and their damaged sons since Russell Banks' ...more
Justin Robinson
Apr 05, 2016 rated it it was ok
A few good turns of phrase can't really rescue this turgid, overwrought morass. ...more
Mar 05, 2018 rated it liked it
I don't know how I feel about this book. Well written but I just don't know. ...more
Rachel Dawn Drenning
One of my all time favorite books.
Jun 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
They put people in prison for taking drugs. They lock kids away for stealing money from gas stations, for joyriding in cars. But men who abandon their children, they float through life, as light as air.
In Cry Father Benjamin Whitmer introduces us to Patterson Wells, a rough around the edges construction/disaster worker who works scenes from New Orleans to New England. His equally rough crew responds to hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, mud slides, and anything else that leaves wide swathes of w
Oct 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: miscellaneous
Benjamin Whitmer’s Cry Father is a powerful and painful look at the destruction that young men on a lower socio-economic rung bring on themselves and others. Loaded with testosterone, anger, and an inability to deal with psychological pain without alcohol, drugs, or violence, they are doomed to repeat the mistakes of their fathers and to pass the heritage on to their sons.

Patterson Wells is a down-and-out tree trimmer for an electric company in the West. His oldest son, Justin, has died from me
Benjamin Dancer
Oct 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Benjamin Whitmer’s Cry Father is part outlaw, part longing and part philosophy. All of it packaged in an interesting story with compelling characters.

Patterson has made plenty of poor choices in his life. His son is dead, and Patterson spends the present missing his boy, wishing he would have been a better father in the time he had. Some of the most touching scenes in the novel are the letters Patterson writes to Justin, his dead son. Not only is Patterson prone to making bad choices, he cannot
Jan 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
If you live long enough, you have the opportunity to reflect on your choices. If you are fortunate these choices are made deliberately, by conscious will, or not so by the shear movement of life — the propulsion of events that are beyond your control.

Patterson Wells is a man defined by a single event of which he had no choice — the death of his young son, Justin. Unable to cope, though he tries through a journal he keeps with touching, heartfelt letters to his son, he propels himself through the
Oct 06, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: comic-con-2015

I am so happy! After incessant special heroines in YA fantasies I picked this little gem up from my stack in an effort to find something a little grittier. I definitely got what I asked for.

Here, we've got a bunch of people living off the grid as much as possible, with little to no law influencing their decisions and where drunk driving is a regular past time when you're bored. They're almost like nomads; Patterson, our main character, migrates with the seasons and always ends back up in the
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Benjamin Whitmer was born in 1972 and raised on back-to-the-land communes and counterculture enclaves ranging from Southern Ohio to Upstate New York. One of his earliest and happiest memories is of standing by the side of a country road with his mother, hitchhiking to parts unknown. Since then, he has been a factory grunt, a vacuum salesman, a convalescent, a high-school dropout, a semi-truck load ...more

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