Let me start by saying that I don’t like graphic violence in anything-books, tv, movies-and unfortunately This Dark Road to Mercy had some. I ended up skipping a few small chapters, anticipating it. Written by the author of A Land More Kind Than Home, Wiley Cash, I must say I liked his first book much better than his second, even disregarding the violence.
Easter, aged 12 and her sister Ruby, aged seven, are abducted from their foster home by their estranged dad, Wade Chesterfield, a minor league pitcher gone bad. More dumb than malevolent, he steals a substantial amount of money from a local thug, hijacks his kids (of whom he gave up custody many years earlier) and is on the run, wanting to ‘make a life with his daughters’. He’s being followed by a hired killer who is being well paid to get the money back and make Wade disappear.
However, the girls’ guardian ad litem, Brady Weller, a former detective who has problems of his own, is truly on their case, hoping to make sure the girls return safe and sound.
This Dark Road to Mercy has great characters who are well fleshed out. Easter is a girl who is smarter, more cynical than she should be at twelve years old. Her younger sister acts just like a seven year old wanting her daddy. Wade is great as a conniving, not too bright, man, looking for a fast buck and an easy out. Finally, Brady is a divorced man, estranged from his wife, trying to maintain a relationship with a 16 year old daughter. Every parent can understand the trials and tribulations of that.
The characters are the strong point in what is an average story. A Land More Kind Than Home had a unique story, great characters and was thought provoking. It’s hard to follow such a different book. It’s not that I disliked This Dark Road to Mercy. It’s just that I didn’t love it.