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NPR called it “great, gothic Southern fiction.” The Richmond Times said it “reads as if Cormac McCarthy decided to rewrite Harper Lee’s ‘To Kill a Mockingbird.’ But I was sold when I saw that ‘A Land More Kind Than Home’ was written by a West Virginian (Wiley Cash is a transplant, but we won’t hold that against him).

I read the book on my flight home this week from the West Coast. The characters were so absorbing and the plot so engrossing, that I was turning the last page before the plane even landed. The book is steeped in holy rollers, snake handlers, unscrupulous characters, redemption in unlikely places and people who get exactly what they deserve, as well as those who pay the price for others’ sins.

The story is told in three distinct voices: a small boy who has seen too much, an elderly woman who has struggled to do right and a sheriff who is picking up the pieces in between while fighting his own demons. The story is told in the span of a week, but through Cash’s seamless writing the reader gets to see the last 50 years unfold without ever realizing they’ve been lured into the past.

While the book is not a thriller, at times it reads that way. You can’t help but scan ahead to see what’s going to happen next. You find yourself rooting for characters you know you shouldn’t and wishing the book had a different ending for others.

I definitely recommend this book. If you’re Southern, you’ll feel right at home. If you’re not, you’re in for a ride.

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