“There is nothing better than a real good story well told. This is it. Hard to describe but words that come to mind are: elegant, raw, brutal, precise, stark. Even though the story is written I felt that the words were spoken. Looking forward to more by this author.”Michele S wrote this review Friday, October 25, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“wonderful read that i love to recommend. Think: A town that's a twisted version of the Mayberry-like small town, complete with a memorable sheriff that has known his fair share of tragedy. Rash leads readers empathizing for this sad-but-smart-Andy-Griffith-like character patrolling small Mayberry-like town.”lcfromthehills wrote this review Sunday, October 20, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“I wish this had lived up to the blurb on the front cover: "Reads as if Cormac McCarthy decided to rewrite Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird." No, no it doesn't, but this was a good read.”Andrew S wrote this review Thursday, October 10, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Excellent book!”Sharlene K wrote this review Tuesday, September 24, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“This is a novel about a North Carolina "holler" where many of the residents have lived for generations in the same place. Many have never even been far away (like to another state) from it. A "Charismatic" preacher seems to have everyone under his spell there but not quite. He is a snake handler and is responsible for a few deaths but people make excuses for him because they have faith. This is a terrifying story, told partly through the eyes of a 9 year old boy that is trying to make sense of this strange world. It's the only one he knows. ”johna v wrote this review Tuesday, August 27, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“In a small town in North Carolina is a holler where people keep to themselves and defend each other from outsiders.
There is a church led by Carson Chambliss, which has its members hold poisonous snakes or take poison to challange their faith.
A 13 year-old-boy, who is mute, is taken into the church to cure his mutism and something happens and the boy dies.
Then it is hard for the sheriff to get anyone to talk about what happened inside the church.”
“Wiley Cash is a good storyteller! I really enjoyed this book. Great sense of place and character. ”Mrs. Fryda wrote this review Friday, July 26, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“A good book, a first novel by the author. An Appalachian story about a community that accepts and does not take a stand to question unorthodox religious practices. Does the past repeat itself?”Kat Klauer wrote this review Wednesday, July 3, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“I enjoyed the characters in this book, and thought the author --for the most part-- did a beautiful job describing the complexity of their overlapping lives. The book focuses mainly on a small boy and his relationship with his older brother (who appears to have autism although it isn't identified as such in the book), a Sunday school teacher who loves the children in town, and the town sheriff. Many of the themes revolve around relationships between fathers and sons, grief, atonement, and forgiveness.
I've seen the book described as a "thriller" but that's not quite right. While there is a murder investigation in the book, the focus is not on "who" or even "why" as much as the fall out of various actions and the impact on the characters.
I found it absorbing, but I wished the author had given more insight into several of the characters, especially the boy's mother and the town preacher, both of whom are central characters. I found the mother to be particularly inexplicable and her choices were not clear to me; the preacher is presented as charismatic but thoroughly evil--not a character as much as a caricature.
I did enjoy it but I probably won't re-read it; I'll pass along my copy to friends. I do look forward to more books by this author for his gifts of description and evoking a time and place. ”
“A VERY good read: kind of a combination of any number of classic stories you've read of the south involving children seeing things they shouldn't see and having to deal with things beyond what they shld have to experience. Takes place in a tiny town in North Carolina where tobacco is the crop everyone has grown for generations and the local church hs become a literal snake pit. The preacher who came into town years before hs taken over and convinced his flock tht they can handle serpents, drink poison and manage other dangerous pursuits because their faith in God is supreme. The old lady midwife/healer disagrees and takes the children out of the church before they can be harmed, but harm comes anyway. Jess is 10 years old & his older brother "Stump" (Christopher) has never spoken a word. He is quiet in more ways than one & his family knows he is special. Jess loves his brother and wants to protect him, but the actions of too many adults around them bring the brothers into the middle of things where they don't belong. The book follows Jess' thoughts & feelings, as well as those of Addie, the midwife and local healer. The sheriff is the other voice we hear-- he has to intervene too often in circumstances that he dreads. The voices are authentic North Carolina and you just hear the music and cadences of these characters. This story was over too soon and I would certainly bring this as a Book Club selection next year. ”Mary C wrote this review Monday, August 5, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No