The Line That Held Us by David Joy

The Line That Held Us

David Joy

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.

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From critically acclaimed author David Joy comes a remarkable novel about the cover-up of an accidental death, and the dark consequences that reverberate through the lives of four people who will never be the same again.

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.

Advance Galley Reviews

The Line That Held Us" by: David Joy is a gritty, dark, atmosphereic read that is utterly unforgettable, remarkably beautiful, and sadly...human, yet completely disturbing. This title may not be for everyone, however, it definately & easily surpasses 5 stars and does not disappoint! No one in this finely crafted tale is left unscathed. As an accident that causes a death leads us through what happens when the deep seed of revenge is planted amongst 2 families, and from it, hatred blossoms leaving everyone in its wake scarred and changed forever. One of these families is already known to search out vengeance and to be a living embodiment of violence. Make no mistake this is a tragically human tale filled with brutality but, the beauty that lies within is also immensely portrayed; which is why grit-lit is such a relevant and perfect description of the genre & the lyrical writing within these pages. My Thank You to Penguin First To Read for letting me have the oppurtunity to read this title as an advanced galley! The review above is my unbiased personal opinion.

As much as I wanted to read this book, I could not get into the story after trying multiple times. Thanks for the ARC, First to Read.

[author:David Joy|8193230] is quickly becoming one of my favorite modern day writers as one of the current leading voices in the Southern Gothic genre. [book:The Line That Held Us|36343490] is dark, disturbing, gory, violent, grim, but full of love. Love for friends, love for family, love for the world. There are passages that are so disgustingly evocative you can't helped be equal parts moved and repulsed. A poaching accident turns the lives of 3 men and their loved ones upside down. There are consequences for actions, and the concept for "an eye for an eye" isn't dead to everyone. David Joy said that he wanted a memorable "bad guy", like the one in "The Paper Hanger" by [author:William Gay|62659] or Lester Ballard from [book:Child of God|293625] (and I realize it's a crime I haven't read Flannery O'Connor yet). I'd say that for the most part, he succeeded. What's memorable about these characters is that they're the "bad guys" of the story, and their justification of their actions might be eyebrow raising (or perhaps run as far away from them as possible inducing) - but there are times where you as a reader end up siding with them. And that's a horrifying thought to have. Perhaps it's less "siding" with them and more really getting their side of the story. It's the nuance of having a pure psychopath/sociopath as a villain, but having them be completely understandable and having their actions be completely in the realm of understanding even if we think it's abhorrent. And there are times you end up pitying them. Dwayne Brewer in this story is a completely pitiable character doing things that are really understandable, but he's also someone that never seeing him again would just be too soon. I say that David Joy comes close to matching those other two characters listed above. I read Child of God years ago and while I thought it wasn't McCarthy's greater book, Lester is a character I STILL think about. Years later. I've only read it once and that character haunts me. Same with the Paper Hanger. I think time will tell and, that's a horrible cop out, I know. Though I do have to say, no one really quite compares to Cormac McCarthy's gorgeous prose. Though the "bad guy" Dwayne is the memorable person from the story, the story doesn't lack other characters. And though those characters don't have the dynamic personality of Dwayne, they're serviceable to the story itself. I do have to say that Angie, as the only female voice in the story, is unfortunately relegated to girlfriend/damsel in distress/pregnant woman putting the baby first when she was set up to be more. Though the genre itself is very masculine, the female characters have the potential to be so much more than we're given. I noticed the same thing in Joy's previous book. Dude, your female characters are crying out to feel as real as your male ones, and you're so close. This a fast read for a story that can be difficult to get through.

Not a beach read. It starts dark and gets darker. You would think that with a premise of clarifying what you love the most, and what you are willing to do to protect that love, there might be some light moments in this story. You'd be wrong. Apparently, the only way we can achieve real clarity about what matters most to us, is by be willing to die for it. And not to die in a metaphorical way, but in an actual and brutal way. It meets all of my requirements for a dark novel: in the end no one is saved, no one is redeemed, no one is enlightened. If you like that kind of thing, then this is the book for you.

I really liked that this book moved so quickly. The story did not drag on and on. It got right to the action, but was also written extremely beautifully. I liked how Dwayne was written as both a sympathetic character and a villain. I found myself begrudgingly agreeing with some of the statements he made throughout the story while simultaneously hating him. I really enjoyed this book and I look forward to checking out more works by David Joy.

The ties that bind and then broken, lines crossed in an act of violence, premeditated or accidental. All tied along, hearts at conflict with itself in this captivating retribution southern noir tale. A rural redemption narrative, lyrical tied together terribleness and beauty in a line that can hold many with a hook in the narrative, where does the line end and the violence stop ?

I am new to this author and so happy I was able to read an advanced copy. This has definitely made my "to-buy" list. Stunning all the way through. If the synopsis doesn't get you, take a chance for a spectacular ride. The Line That Held Us is worth the time. 5 stars!

The book was very interesting. I enjoyed the pacing of the novel, especially in the beginning. I appreciated that it wasn't a spitfire "event 1, event 2, event 3". There was legitimate development and it flowed well with the progression of the novel. I was slightly disappointed in the diction and syntax, but that stems more from my reading experience in the last few years being strictly historical documents (I'm a student, I read heavily in my government classes and that's about it). Other than that, it was fascinating and I'm very excited for this to hit the presses. Will definitely buy in hardcover!

What a strange book, and I mean that in the best way possible. This is so unlike anything I have ever read, and I don't think I am a stranger to weird books. This book is a bit difficult to review for me; while it was definitely dark and slightly sadistic, it also had parts that were filled with beauty and love and redemption, and left a lot to be pondered. While I honestly felt after the first few chapters this book was not for me, and almost quit reading it because it is dark and had some fairly graphic violent scenes (in my opinion) and I am not into guns and hunting and such, I am glad I stuck through to the end. Again, it is a strange one, but one that exceeded my expectations. I would recommend this to anyone wanting to read something that is a bit different from the typical mystery/thriller/psychological fiction novel.

I have never read anything written by David Joy and I do not expect novel this to be my last. "The Line That Held Us" was an excellent read in what I would consider a southern gothic/thriller genre. It it not what I would normally pick out for myself but I am grateful I received an advanced reading copy. I thought this book was excellent and highly recommend it. (5 star Goodreads rating) The story begins simply enough: while hunting deer out of season a man named Darl accidentally shoots another man, Calvin, in the woods . Rather than deal with the potential violent repercussions of the dead man's notorious family, Darl calls upon his best friend Calvin to help him quickly bury the body so that no one will be the wiser. Soon enough Dwayne, Calvin's brother, notices he is missing, searches for him, and stumbles across clues that eventually implicate the two friends. He tracks the men down and seeks revenge for the way he feels his brother's life and body were shamefully disrespected. Other families and friends of the men become collateral casualties of Dwayne's retaliation. The plot is not complicated and has a few twists and turns, but it is the psychological torment that afflicts all of the characters' life choices that really drive the novel. They begin to learn whether their choices were affirming or damning, myopic or forward thinking. The characters learn to focus on what is really most important to each of them as they fight to hold onto their friends and family. When destruction and sin begin to surround them, it is only then that love and redemption become the clear choices, at least to those who can see them.

This book did draw me in from te begining. There was a lot of tension and suspense but The ending seemed unfinished to me. There was such a huge buildup and I just felt like it didnt go anywhere.

Summary: Two good ol’ boys from the Deep South, doing a little drinkin’, a lot of hard-workin’, and liking a lil fishing 'n poachin' on the side. This story takes place around North Carolina/Tennessee area, in an Appalachian rural community where everyone knows everyone, and families have been there since forever. It is a story of bad luck, the consequences of your action/inaction, of what lengths you would go to protect those you love, and how far to exact revenge from those who hurt them. Main Characters: Darl Moody: Single, honest, hard-working, struggling to make ends meet. He helps out his family’s (widowed mother, married sister whose husband cannot earn enough) food budget by poaching, sometimes illegally. He seems a good man, wracked by guilt at the end. Calvin Hooper: Darl’s best friend, almost engaged to Angie, who gets caught up in a storm not of his own making. He is the foreman of a building site, making holiday homes for the wealthy in the mountains. A strong character, he has agonising choices to make in the book, all stemming from the wrong decision made for the right reasons. Carol “Sissy” Brewster: Younger brother of Dwayne, a gentle soul. He has no first-hand dialogue in the book, but it is what happens to him that the book pivots on. We only see him through Dwayne’s rose-tinted memories, and have no idea why he seems to be considered slow. Dwayne Brewster: The only real stereotype in the book, he is a giant of a man with temper to match. His now-deceased father Red gave the brothers a terrible childhood, and Dwayne’s few good memories are of their grandparents, reading the bible, and staying up at their house. He is the resident baddie, but does have a depth to his character. Minor Characters: Angie Moss: Girlfriend of Calvin, ambitious to make more of herself. Plot: It’s not yet open season, but Darl needs to re-stock his family’s food. Money is tight and bellies are empty. After dark, he treks to Coon Coward’s farm, where he has had his eye on a big buck for the past few weeks. Coon is away at a funeral, so the place is empty. Or so he thinks. Darl accidentally shoots and kills Carol “Sissy” Brewer, the slow, gentle younger brother of the local violent man Dwayne. Sissy was also in the woods after dark, on all fours harvesting ginseng illegally, and dressed all in grey, which is why Darl thought he was a wild boar, and shot him. Panicked, Darl did the only thing he could think of. He called his best friend Calvin, looking to borrow an old digger. Ultimately, he collects Calvin and shows him the body. Calvin is of course shocked, but deeply loyal to his lifelong friend, agrees to help him dispose of the body, and cover up the whole incident. They both know that Sissy’s older and slightly unhinged brother, Dwayne, would wreak full and terrible revenge should the truth come to light. This decision ultimately backfires, and creates havoc for the men and their families. Dwayne investigates why his brother never came home, finds evidence that the two friends were involved, and takes justice into his own hands, vigilante-style. What I Liked: - The characters were well written, and had a lot more depth to them than I was expecting. Dwayne was more than the lumbering smash-em-all hulk, and the two friends really emotionally suffered from holding in the secret (long before Dwayne got to them!). - The pace of the book was excellent. It is a real page-turner, and really draws you in. - While the premise of the story is standard enough, the novel itself had a lot more going on in terms of emotion, and a certain level of unpredictability. What I Didn’t Like: - The ending, while not predicted, could have been stronger. Overall: I really liked this book. Dwayne to me had a lot of positive qualities (sorting out the bully in the shop, deep loyalty to his family), even though he had an abusive childhood. Dwayne lost absolutely everything, and reading from his point of view separates this book from similar writings, where the baddie’s character is relatively flat, and focused on killing. You feel for the two guys and their families as well, even though truly it is their fault. The wrong decision was not telling the cops from the start. The fact you empathise with both sides creates a serious level of interest as the story builds. This book won’t have you laughing. It is tough, with some graphical scenes and dark actions, but it is a great and quick read. Definitely one to bring on holidays. Highly recommended. Acknowledgements: Thank you to the author and Penguin First To Read, for sending me a copy of this book in return for an honest and objective review.

David Joy's writing just keeps getting better and better. Poetic, fierce, unapologetic prose runs rampant in this stunning novel. Highly recommended.

The book grabbed my interest from the first page. The characters are sympathetic, well defined by the author. I was taken back by some of the graphic violence, yet I did read this book in two days. Highly recommended

Darl Moody accidentally shoots Carol (Sissy) Brewer while poaching deer on the property of Tillmon (Coon) Coward. Carol was poaching ginseng on Coon's property, when Darl mistook him for a wild hog. Calling the police would have been smart, but that didn't happen. Instead Darl panics and gets his best friend Calvin Hooper to help him, but their efforts wind up tearing apart not only their lives, but those of the people around them. Darl and Calvin aren't smart enough to hide from Carol's brother Dwayne, who is filled with an equal mix of grief and the desire for revenge. Dwayne has spent his whole life protecting Carol and isn't going to stop now. What would you do if someone killed the only person you had to love in this world? How far would you go to help your best friend? Whose life means more to you? Should you spread the pain you feel or can you find redemption and end the cycle? This book makes you think about all of those questions and leaves a giant one unanswered at the end. It was brilliant. This was my third book by this author and I'll read anything else he chooses to write. I like it that he writes southern noir with the minimum of the clichés of the genre. This book had characters with actual jobs other than meth dealer. There were no guys who spend all their time drinking beer as they ride around in their pickups, stopping occasionally to commit senseless acts of violence. Not that this book wasn't violent. It's just that I understood the motivation. Even Dwayne's, who was ultimately a tragic (though scary) figure. There are also some disgusting (non-violent) scenes that are not for the squeamish and some small animals are murdered horrifically. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.

I'm going to be honest. I dont read a book if it doesnt hook me in the begining. This one did not. I didnt like the plot, and didnt identify with the characters. But tryi ti yourself. I think that is my own predjuides though and not the writer. I dont read book for violence even if its not detailed. So I didnt give the book a real go.

This book surprised me. The pace was faster than I expected it to be, and the ending wasn't at all what I had guessed. Although I wasn't pleased with the ending (my preconceived ideas about how it should end were at odds with the outcome), I like that the author did what I didn't expect. The antagonist (Dwayne Brewer) was a fully described character who, although unlikable and misguided, was trying to do what he thought was right for his brother. The flawed humanity in Dwayne was very well illustrated. The protagonists (Darl and Calvin) also were well illustrated as flawed humans, and the feeling of family between them was heartwarming. This was a very good tale -- one of those that transports you into the world of the book.

Thank you Penguin Random House for the advanced copy of this book - all opinions are my own. This is a book that packs a punch - dark, gritty, atmospheric, and tense, I picked this book up and devoured it in one sitting. Set in a small mountain town, Darl Moody finds himself in a world of trouble when he accidentally kills a man while out hunting. Terrified of the consequences from the man's family if he is found out, he makes a decision that sets off a ripple effect that may destroy everything he has every loved. David Joy is a master at writing stories that are equally beautiful and devastating. I found myself being pulled through a roller coaster of emotion during this book, where despite horrific actions, I was pulling for those characters to persevere, and simultaneously finding myself empathetic for the darkest and most villainous of characters. Despite the plot of this book, and the actions that carry it through, being wildly bleak and heartbreaking, there was so much goodness that seeped in through the cracks. You can identify with every single character, no matter how twisted, to understand the root of their actions, the why of what pushes them into the messes they get tangled into. This was a terrific read to kick off my month of reading, and has landed itself squarely as a contender for one of my top summer reads of the year. Get this on your list if you want something that is a truly unique twist on a murder mystery/character drama.

This is 100% not a book that I usually would go for, but something about the summary appealed to me. I like a good thriller and this book was fast-paced and dark. It''s my first read by David Joy and he did a fantastic job creating a truly diverse range of characters- many of which were hiding secrets. Darl and Calvin have been best friends for years, so it only makes sense for Darl to call Calvin when he accidentally kills a man while hunting deer. What results is an insane roller coaster of a story that I definitely did not see coming. THE LINE THAT HELD US is very short. I read it on a plane in a few hours but it certainly packed a punch. Darl's actions lead to a ripple effect that ends up impacting almost everyone he knows. The man he kills is a Brewer. The Brewers do not have a good reputation in the town and so when Dwayne Brewer realizes his brother is missing this does not bode well for those involved. This wasn't a typical mystery, it was definitely more of a dark thriller. Still, I was never entirely sure what shocking thing would happen next. I am always impressed by strong character development and while we never got a chance to really know the characters before the "incident", they were all certainly memorable. THE LINE THAT HELD US took place out in the middle of nowhere and focused on the intersection between family, friendship, and trust. Lies were told, promises broken, and quite a lot of blood was spilled. I am interested in seeing the wide spread reaction to this book. The ending left a little to be desired and I had to reread the last few pages to make sure I knew what had happened, but I overall found this a unique and interesting read. It certainly will not be for everyone, but I think the darkness was what made this book so powerful.

This was not the typical story lines that I read. As the story got going I did enjoy the book and was waiting to see what would happen next. I wasn’t crazy about the ending though.

David Joy really knows how to write a story that keeps your attention! Yikes! He describes graphic, tough scenes....very scary! Very good drawing up of the area, the surroundings, the atmosphere, the sounds & the smells.... I've read some of his previous work, & boy, I think he is a force to be reckoned with! Very descriptive author...... I will always look for his work! His stuff kind of 'grabs you & doesn't let you go!' This does contain quite a bit of graphic violence, but it is an element of the it fits.... This is NOT a 'cozy' read! This is a gritty, serious work..... I didn't really like the ending, but far be it from me to tell D. Joy how to end his books!! He's a great author! I received this e-ARC from Penguin's First-To-Read program, in return for my own fair/honest review.

This is a simple story told really well. Daryl Moody was illegally hunting when he accidentally shot and killed a man. Knowing the man's brother will come after him and his family if he finds out what happened, Daryl turns to his best friend Calvin for help. And nothing will be the same again. The heart of this story isn't something that hasn't been told countless times before. However, it's effective because it really plays into the whole what would you do to protect yourself and those you love angle. The book doesn't have to depend on unreliable narrators, crazy plot twists, or whatever the latest trend in storytelling is because the basic premise is enough to keep you interested in the story. Definitely recommend if you are looking for some good old fashioned storytelling but be prepared for a few graphic descriptions. Thank you to First to Read for the advance digital copy!

I felt like the author could have delved deeper with the characters and had more twists in the story. There was never a moment of “wow, I wasn’t expecting that.” Everything that came about was pretty unremarkable except for the crude details of the way the antagonist lived and kept his brother close. The author had a good writing style and knows how to tell a story, but I felt he only scratched the surface with this book.

I liked this book for the most part, it is an engrossing story of a teen going through the sudden break up her family. Therapy for her is bonding with her father's horse, Ian, now her own. Some of the focus is on caring for her horse in detail and interacting with her family. Her father leaves for another woman throwing the family dynamic off. Teagan reels from hurt and feeling left out. Parts are confusing and seem out of focus or an effect. Teagan is depressed and disconnected, at times exhibiting odd behavior. The end is simply heartbreaking. Recommend.


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