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When These Mountains Burn by David Joy

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This is the fourth novel by David Joy, formerly a student of Ron Rash who is nipping at his mentor’s heels in terms of accolades from people who matter. After graduating from Western Carolina University, Joy settled down nearby and has been able to make a living as a writer ever since! The protagonist of this novel is Denny Rattler, a victim of the opioid epidemic who victimizes others to sustain his habit. DEA agents figure into his story that revolves around how his father, Raymond Mathis, will chose to defend his son. “Indelible characters from every side of the law converge in this fast-moving story. As fine a piece of writing as you are ever likely to encounter.”—Lee Smith. “The story is fast-moving, the characters are richly fleshed out, and despite its gritty settings and subject matter, wraps up with a sense of redemption and hope for the possibility of better days ahead. Simply put, Joy is at the top of his game.”—Sylva Herald. “With memorable characters, deft plotting, and an attention to detail, Joy has written a powerful work of crime fiction."—Kirkus Reviews, starred review. “Unforgettably powerful. . . What stands out here isn’t the story [but] rather Joy’s unflinching and gritty depiction of his fully realized characters, from their raw loss to their helplessness and rage to their final acceptance. Joy has thoroughly captured their experiences in vivid, memorable prose that burns to be read.”—BookPage. "Joy portrays his characters with unflinching realism. Creative turns of phrase and creative colloquialisms move the story forward and keep the otherwise disheartening subject matter full of thrilling surprises. As Southern noir-tinged fiction gains a well-deserved audience, Joy is one voice that never disappoints.”—Booklist. “[An] engrossing drama of violence and vengeance. . . Joy’s razor-sharp prose details disturbing, graphic images of brutality that begin when Raymond resolves to protect his son. . .  Joy handles everything with ease, proving himself to be one hell of a writer.”—Publishers Weekly,

New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 2020. 272 pages. Hardback in dust jacket.