The Line That Held Us
By: David Joy
Fiction, Thriller, “Appalachian Noir”
Published: August 14, 2018
From the Cover
When Darl Moody went hunting after a monster buck he’s chased for years, he never expected he’d accidentally shoot a man digging ginseng. Worse yet, he’s killed a Brewer, a family notorious for vengeance and violence. With nowhere to turn, Darl calls on the help of the only man he knows will answer, his best friend, Calvin Hooper. But when Dwayne Brewer comes looking for his missing brother and stumbles onto a blood trail leading straight back to Darl and Calvin, a nightmare of revenge rips apart their world. The Line That Held Us is a story of friendship and family, a tale balanced between destruction and redemption, where the only hope is to hold on tight, clenching to those you love. What will you do for the people who mean the most, and what will you grasp to when all that you have is gone? The only certainty in a place so shredded is that no one will get away unscathed.
I thought I knew what I was getting myself into when I picked up this book. I was wrong. You know those books where you try and think ahead of the story and make guesses as to what is most likely going to happen to the characters/plot? I am guilty of this and let me tell you, this book shatters your expectations and guesses. I thought to myself on many occasions, “There’s no way ______ will happen. ______ never happens in books.” Buckle your seatbelt and prepare to be shocked each step along the way. It felt almost as if I was watching Game of Thrones… no one is safe.
Probably the reason why I liked this book so much was its unpredictable nature. It’s fast, gritty, action-packed, and shocking. It’s not at all what I expected when I picked up this book. This book is also gut-wrenching. It highlights some of the struggles of the people living in Appalachia. As someone from North Carolina, I’m aware of the poverty and struggles that many people face living in the western region of my state and along the Appalachian Mountains. I’m glad that David Joy–a NC native himself–was able to highlight these struggles in a raw and uncensored fashion.
I tend to read a lot of thrillers because I like the unpredictable nature of the plot lines. This one appealed to me in a very different and distinct way. It felt real, almost as if I was reading an extended news article or hearing about the story from a local in town. I don’t doubt that stories like this can happen in real-life (I’m looking at you Dick Cheney).
Joy poses many questions to the readers of this book. It’s not just an action-packed thriller; it’s thought-provoking and provocative. It’s worth the read.
“For whom are you willing to lay down your life? Till a man knows that, he doesn’t know anything.”
Seasons for reading Do you ever read a book and feel like it just HAS to be read during a particular season? That’s how I felt about this one. It gave me feelings of fall or early winter. I think that reading a book during its appropriate season or even in a similar setting as the book itself helps transform the reading experience. Part of me wishes I would have saved this book for November during a trip to the mountains where the leaves are orange and there are hints of a winter’s chill in the air. If you have that luxury, I suggest you save this until then!