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When These Mountains Burn

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Acclaimed author and "remarkably gifted storyteller" (The Charlotte Observer) David Joy returns with a fierce and tender tale of a father, an addict, a lawman, and the explosive events that come to unite them. When his addict son gets in deep with his dealer, it takes everything Raymond Mathis has to bail him out of trouble one last time. Frustrated by the slow pace and lim Acclaimed author and "remarkably gifted storyteller" (The Charlotte Observer) David Joy returns with a fierce and tender tale of a father, an addict, a lawman, and the explosive events that come to unite them. When his addict son gets in deep with his dealer, it takes everything Raymond Mathis has to bail him out of trouble one last time. Frustrated by the slow pace and limitations of the law, Raymond decides to take matters into his own hands. After a workplace accident left him out of a job and in pain, Denny Rattler has spent years chasing his next high. He supports his habit through careful theft, following strict rules that keep him under the radar and out of jail. But when faced with opportunities too easy to resist, Denny makes two choices that change everything. For months, the DEA has been chasing the drug supply in the mountains to no avail, when a lead--just one word--sets one agent on a path to crack the case wide open . . . but he'll need help from the most unexpected quarter. As chance brings together these men from different sides of a relentless epidemic, each may come to find that his opportunity for redemption lies with the others.


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Acclaimed author and "remarkably gifted storyteller" (The Charlotte Observer) David Joy returns with a fierce and tender tale of a father, an addict, a lawman, and the explosive events that come to unite them. When his addict son gets in deep with his dealer, it takes everything Raymond Mathis has to bail him out of trouble one last time. Frustrated by the slow pace and lim Acclaimed author and "remarkably gifted storyteller" (The Charlotte Observer) David Joy returns with a fierce and tender tale of a father, an addict, a lawman, and the explosive events that come to unite them. When his addict son gets in deep with his dealer, it takes everything Raymond Mathis has to bail him out of trouble one last time. Frustrated by the slow pace and limitations of the law, Raymond decides to take matters into his own hands. After a workplace accident left him out of a job and in pain, Denny Rattler has spent years chasing his next high. He supports his habit through careful theft, following strict rules that keep him under the radar and out of jail. But when faced with opportunities too easy to resist, Denny makes two choices that change everything. For months, the DEA has been chasing the drug supply in the mountains to no avail, when a lead--just one word--sets one agent on a path to crack the case wide open . . . but he'll need help from the most unexpected quarter. As chance brings together these men from different sides of a relentless epidemic, each may come to find that his opportunity for redemption lies with the others.

30 review for When These Mountains Burn

  1. 5 out of 5

    Debra

    Gifted storyteller and poet at heart David Joy has crafted a heartbreaking and harrowing tale of addiction, family, love, revenge/vengeance and chasing the high. Ray "Raymond" Mathis receives a call saying that his son is in trouble. He owes a lot of money and his dealer needs Ray to pay up in order to save his troubled son. It won’t be the first time he has had to save his son. His son's addiction has created havoc and heartache in their lives over the years. Fed up with it, Ray decides it's tim Gifted storyteller and poet at heart David Joy has crafted a heartbreaking and harrowing tale of addiction, family, love, revenge/vengeance and chasing the high. Ray "Raymond" Mathis receives a call saying that his son is in trouble. He owes a lot of money and his dealer needs Ray to pay up in order to save his troubled son. It won’t be the first time he has had to save his son. His son's addiction has created havoc and heartache in their lives over the years. Fed up with it, Ray decides it's time to act. Denny has spent years chasing that high after a workplace accident left him unemployed and in pain. He supports his habit through theft but when he finds himself in a certain situation, he decides that well.... Two men, the DEA and the mountains themselves set the stage for this tragically beautiful tale which leaves a mark. David Joy's writing is beautiful, lyrical and powerful. His characters are raw, flawed, fragile, hard and vulnerable all at the same time. He spins a bleak tale with such beautifully worded sentences that it seems odd to say it was a pleasure to read such a sad, gripping and captivating tale. No one writes pain quite like David Joy. I could actually feel his characters pain seeping from the pages. Thank you to G.P. Putnam's Sons and Edelweiss for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All the thoughts and opinions are my own.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Farrah

    ⭐5 𝙎𝙩𝙪𝙣𝙣𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙎𝙩𝙤𝙧𝙮 𝙏𝙚𝙡𝙡𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙎𝙩𝙖𝙧𝙨⭐ In Tooter's review she said this is the best book she's read in two years. That is such a strong statement that I decided to read this immediately and I'm so glad I did because this is one hell of an amazing book! Set in a small town in North Carolina, we meet Ray. He's recently lost his wife and is dealing with his adult son who is a heroin addict. After being pushed to his limits, Ray devises a plan to rid his town of its head drug dealer. Other POVs are of Denn ⭐5 𝙎𝙩𝙪𝙣𝙣𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙎𝙩𝙤𝙧𝙮 𝙏𝙚𝙡𝙡𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙎𝙩𝙖𝙧𝙨⭐ In Tooter's review she said this is the best book she's read in two years. That is such a strong statement that I decided to read this immediately and I'm so glad I did because this is one hell of an amazing book! Set in a small town in North Carolina, we meet Ray. He's recently lost his wife and is dealing with his adult son who is a heroin addict. After being pushed to his limits, Ray devises a plan to rid his town of its head drug dealer. Other POVs are of Denny - a local addict who's story intertwines with Ray's in surprising ways, and two detectives working the case. This is 𝘯𝘰𝘵 a flashy story that had me turning the pages in a frenzy. Instead it is a very honest, heartfelt, character-driven talented display of writing. I now plan to read all of David Joy's previous books! However, if you or a loved one have struggles with addiction, this book may be too difficult for you. 𝙄𝙩 𝙝𝙖𝙙 𝙣𝙚𝙫𝙚𝙧 𝙗𝙚𝙚𝙣 𝙩𝙝𝙖𝙩 𝙖𝙙𝙙𝙞𝙘𝙩𝙨 𝙙𝙞𝙙𝙣'𝙩 𝙘𝙖𝙧𝙚 𝙬𝙝𝙚𝙩𝙝𝙚𝙧 𝙩𝙝𝙚𝙮 𝙡𝙞𝙫𝙚𝙙 𝙤𝙧 𝙙𝙞𝙚𝙙, 𝙞𝙩 𝙬𝙖𝙨 𝙩𝙝𝙖𝙩 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙛𝙚𝙚𝙡𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙮𝙤𝙪 𝙬𝙚𝙧𝙚 𝙘𝙝𝙖𝙨𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙧𝙚𝙨𝙩𝙚𝙙 𝙧𝙞𝙜𝙝𝙩 𝙖𝙜𝙖𝙞𝙣𝙨𝙩 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙗𝙧𝙞𝙣𝙠 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙨𝙤𝙢𝙚𝙩𝙞𝙢𝙚𝙨 𝙮𝙤𝙪 𝙟𝙪𝙨𝙩 𝙛𝙚𝙡𝙡 𝙤𝙫𝙚𝙧.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Carol

    If you haven't read David Joy yet, you are missing out - if you're a reader that appreciates unvarnished stories about family relationships, aging, economic struggle, characters who have been battered by life's random cruelties and limited options, as told by an author who is a master of plotting and pace, and isn't afraid of dwelling in the darkness his characters inhabit. He understands the people who populate his novels and he only introduces the reader to those that are essential to the stor If you haven't read David Joy yet, you are missing out - if you're a reader that appreciates unvarnished stories about family relationships, aging, economic struggle, characters who have been battered by life's random cruelties and limited options, as told by an author who is a master of plotting and pace, and isn't afraid of dwelling in the darkness his characters inhabit. He understands the people who populate his novels and he only introduces the reader to those that are essential to the story. Not for Joy the random walk-ons and utterers of two lines used as a device for informing the reader of something that occurred off-stage or long ago. No event or twist seems forced or inauthentic. He's a master of the beginning, the middle and the end, and I say that because I've read quite a few novels in 2020 written by authors who excel at the middle of the book, but the on-ramp and off-ramp are awkward or sudden or provoke a response of, "is that all? what was that ending?" Individual sentences in When These Mountains Burn don't necessarily display the literary quality of Joy's writing, but the structure and discipline of his story-telling are on full display here. If you haven't seen the Netflix documentary, The Pharmacist, or aren't familiar with the arc western North Carolina and Appalachia, generally, took from oxycontin to heroin and fentanyl as the mines and the textile and furniture factories closed, and the 2008 recession hit, and the jobs that allowed kids to grow up and stay where they're from disappeared and weren't replaced with anything but the occasional Wal-Mart job, if you're willing to drive aways, you might be surprised by the hopelessness in When These Mountains Burn. But if you have been paying attention, and have empathy for people making different choices than you might, and if you're willing to spend some time with drug dealers, young junkies pawning off their relatives' and their neighbors' possessions, and a father who knows his actions won't forestall the inevitable, Joy tells the tale like few others. These are familiar themes for Joy. Raymond Mathis is a complex and interesting character. Mountains didn't satisfy my soul like his 2018 novel, The Line That Held Us, which I found to be stunning and original, and I almost had a sense here that Joy was coasting in comfortable territory, when he's capable of stretching his gifts into something new. But that's akin to faulting one of your favorite restaurants for serving the same stellar dish for a dozen years simply because you've had and enjoyed it before. New and different have their place. Sometimes excellence and consistency is enough. The release date is August 18. If you are looking for a way to help out one specific and gifted artist who isn't a multi-millionaire and runs the risk of his latest novel's success being dimmed by the COVID-19 impact on book purchases, pre-order When the Mountains Burn. It won't burn a meaningful hole in your bank account and it will mean a lot to David Joy. If you want to do yourself a favor, buy The Line That Held Us at the same time, if you haven't read it already. Read that now. In August, you get to enjoy Mountains. Helping a writer pays dividends for you. Thanks to Edelweiss and G. P. Putnam & Sons for an ecopy.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Carol

    There's a massive drug problem in the western North Carolina mountains and a frustrated 6'5" Ray Mathis with a junkie son is fed up....especially after the threatening phone call....and broken agreement.There's lots of law here bouts with the Cherokee tribal police and US Drug Enforcement field division, but nothing ever seems to get done.And Ray has had enough....so he and his explosive and fearless buddy decide to take matters into their own hands, and all seems to go well until the visit from There's a massive drug problem in the western North Carolina mountains and a frustrated 6'5" Ray Mathis with a junkie son is fed up....especially after the threatening phone call....and broken agreement.There's lots of law here bouts with the Cherokee tribal police and US Drug Enforcement field division, but nothing ever seems to get done.And Ray has had enough....so he and his explosive and fearless buddy decide to take matters into their own hands, and all seems to go well until the visit from Deputy Leah Greene chastising him for a big screw-up. Now in serious danger, Ray approaches an intruder with a deadly agenda and receives help from an unlikely adversary.Love old Tommy Two-Ton and the addictive writing of David Joy! Great read! (Thanks Tooter!)

  5. 5 out of 5

    Zoeytron

    With wildfires ablaze in the North Carolina mountains, a deep haze of smoke hangs over the area below.  It's business as usual for all things drug related.  Junkies, tweakers, and addicts all seem to be drawn to an outlet mall of sorts, made up of trailers rather than storefronts.  Pick your poison, it will surely be available here.   Our actions carry consequences, and some of these consequences demand to be set right.  This is a story of a world weary father who has bailed his son out of troubl With wildfires ablaze in the North Carolina mountains, a deep haze of smoke hangs over the area below.  It's business as usual for all things drug related.  Junkies, tweakers, and addicts all seem to be drawn to an outlet mall of sorts, made up of trailers rather than storefronts.  Pick your poison, it will surely be available here.   Our actions carry consequences, and some of these consequences demand to be set right.  This is a story of a world weary father who has bailed his son out of trouble time and again.  A man name of Denny Rattler who is a junkie looking for a reason to change but failing miserably.  And a undercover agent who has been left too long in the field.  David Joy has written another one that is not to be missed.  Grit lit at its finest.  The ugliness of lives written with beautiful passages.  It may not sound like it would work, but it does.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Kelly (and the Book Boar)

    Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/ “There was something someone told me the other day that really struck home. They said everything in this world carries consequences. I think that’s about right, don’t you?” In case you aren’t familiar with David Joy, he’s an author who writes “rural noir crime novels” (a/k/a Hick Lit). And he’s one of the best. He’s one hundred percent my go-to guy when I’m looking for . . . . . He also gives great book recs, posts some delish lo Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/ “There was something someone told me the other day that really struck home. They said everything in this world carries consequences. I think that’s about right, don’t you?” In case you aren’t familiar with David Joy, he’s an author who writes “rural noir crime novels” (a/k/a Hick Lit). And he’s one of the best. He’s one hundred percent my go-to guy when I’m looking for . . . . . He also gives great book recs, posts some delish looking foodie pics and has about 12,473 nicknames for his four-legged best pal. I mean, that’s what I’ve heard. I definitely don’t internet stalk him or anything. Back to the book. I was lucky enough to get a rare approval from Edelweiss for this title months and months and months ago and promptly read it . . . and kind of didn’t know if I liked it or not. I’m not going to go into details because I poured my heart out in some sort of sobby oversharing review regarding my family’s experience with a heroin addict once and I ain’t about to do it again. Let’s just leave it with the first part of this book was a bit of a gut punch and hit a little too close to home in its reality. It’s one thing to read a sympathetic fictional character – it’s quite another when he could be your own Daddy. Anyway, so I read this and like I said I wasn’t quite sure I really liked where it went so I never wrote anything up about it – and then I re-read it last week since I knew release date was coming up. I stand by this still missed the mark just an eeeeeensie bit for me, but really I think it’s because I want things as black as Mitchell’s soul and this one provided a little bit of hope at the end. This is a story of a father and son, the opioid crisis, drug runners, lawmen (and women), The Outlet Mall and it takes place while the mountains surrounding it all burn. It’s tightly woven, perfectly paced and well told. Recommended. ARC provided by Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Faith

    I didn’t think that this book was as wonderful as some of the author’s other books, but it is still very good. Although I am not all that fond of reading about drug addicts or dealers, I thought the author did a good job of showing the impact of drugs on segments of the population. People seem to be caught in an endless loop. I particularly felt for Raymond Mathis who ran out of options to help his 41 year old son. This author writes beautifully and creates believable characters and excellent di I didn’t think that this book was as wonderful as some of the author’s other books, but it is still very good. Although I am not all that fond of reading about drug addicts or dealers, I thought the author did a good job of showing the impact of drugs on segments of the population. People seem to be caught in an endless loop. I particularly felt for Raymond Mathis who ran out of options to help his 41 year old son. This author writes beautifully and creates believable characters and excellent dialog. If you haven’t read him before you might want to start with “The Line that Held Us” or “The Weight of this World”. His books are grit lit with fewer cliches than usual. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Tooter

    5+++++++++ Stars. Best book I've read in two years.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Donna Davis

    David Joy writes some of the best Grit Lit published in the U.S. of A, and if you haven’t read him yet, it’s time to get started. This soaring, wrenching tale of addiction, community dysfunction, and miserable unrelenting poverty delivers some hard truths about the distribution of wealth in this country, and about the uneven way that justice plays out. Lucky me, I read it free and early; my thanks go to Net Galley and Putnam Penguin for the review copy. It’s for sale today. Ray Mathis is a big m David Joy writes some of the best Grit Lit published in the U.S. of A, and if you haven’t read him yet, it’s time to get started. This soaring, wrenching tale of addiction, community dysfunction, and miserable unrelenting poverty delivers some hard truths about the distribution of wealth in this country, and about the uneven way that justice plays out. Lucky me, I read it free and early; my thanks go to Net Galley and Putnam Penguin for the review copy. It’s for sale today. Ray Mathis is a big man with a big burden. His wife, Doris, has been dead for three years, but his grief hasn’t ebbed. A stoic man, he goes in and out of every day carrying out necessary tasks, but he feels as if his arm is missing, all the time. His companionship comes solely from his old hunting beagle, Tommy Two-Ton. His only child is Ricky, and although Ricky is in his forties, Ray still thinks of him as “the boy.” When the boy comes home, Ray is suffused with a sense of dread. Ricky is a hardcore addict, and all those stories you were told in junior high health class are true: a junkie has no loyalties and no shame great enough to override his need for the substance he’s come to crave. When he sees that Ricky is home for a visit, Ray’s first instinct is to check his few valuables that haven’t been stolen and pawned yet to see if they’ve vanished. Is this all too familiar to some of you? Because it hit close to home for me. Not long after he arrives, Ricky is gone again, and that’s not unusual; but later he gets a phone call from someone he doesn’t know. The caller says that Ricky has failed to meet a payment and will die if Ray doesn’t pay up. Because Ricky has no shame, he has told them exactly how much is in his father’s savings account. And though he understands that it’s only going to postpone the inevitable, Ray pays up, but he tells the men that collect that he will be back for them if they ever sell to his son again. And when Ricky is back on opiates before he has even recovered from the savage beating administered by the dealer’s goons, Ray tells him, “I’ve thrown you ropes till my arms is give out, and I ain’t got no more to throw.” Meanwhile, our second protagonist, Denny Rattler, a Cherokee burglar, is arrested and offered treatment for his own addiction, but he declines. It turns out that the very purest heroin is sold on the Cherokee Reservation, and so jurisdictional issues complicate law enforcement. Still worse, there are dirty cops right on the other side of the state line. Denny finds himself in the middle of it all. One of the nastiest villains in literature is Walter Freeman, who goes by “Watty.” “I ain’t calling you that,” Ray tells him. “That’s the stupidest fucking name I ever heard.” Ray confronts Watty after his son’s death to deliver some “backwoods justice,” but Watty is entirely unmoved. He doesn’t even remember Ricky. He leaves the individual users to the minions beneath him. He tells the bereaved father, “Your son is small potatoes. They’re all small potatoes. It’s too much of a headache, dealing with junkies.” It’s forest fire season in the Appalachian Mountains, and as the conflict between Ray and Watty, between Watty and local law enforcement, and among the addicts, law enforcement and Watty build, a conflagration begins on the reservation, encompassing the “Outlet Mall,” where drugs are sold. The entire ordeal rises to a fever pitch that left me sitting forward, as if the outcome was just beyond my physical reach. At one point I was sure everyone would die, and I told myself I’d be okay as long as nothing happened to Tommy Two-Ton. What Joy does with the conclusion is tremendously satisfying. When I reviewed his last book, I felt as if he had wimped out on the ending, but this time it’s rock solid. It isn’t predictable, yet there are no new people or facts introduced at the last minute to prevent us from foreseeing the outcome, either. In fact, this may be his best book yet. I’ll offer a final word about genre. This book is billed as Crime Fiction, and that’s not how I see it. I consider this novel to be gritty Southern Fiction at its finest. The fact that it happens to involve crime as an integral part of the story is almost beside the point. But call it what you will, this book is one of the year’s best, and you should get it and read it.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Eric

    If someone were to ask me to describe a David Joy novel, this is how I would try: I strongly recall watching my paternal grandmother prepare meals with her well-worn wooden rolling pin. It was so enjoyable to watch her prepare wonderful food items out of basic agreements with her strong, gnarled hands and an object she had used for years and years. One day, I told her I wished to have one just like hers. Not too much later, my grandmother gave me her rolling pin as a gift. It is one of my most che If someone were to ask me to describe a David Joy novel, this is how I would try: I strongly recall watching my paternal grandmother prepare meals with her well-worn wooden rolling pin. It was so enjoyable to watch her prepare wonderful food items out of basic agreements with her strong, gnarled hands and an object she had used for years and years. One day, I told her I wished to have one just like hers. Not too much later, my grandmother gave me her rolling pin as a gift. It is one of my most cherished items and one I continue to use this day. Memories of my grandmother, the existence of her rolling pin, and the thought of decades of meal preparation with such a tool, is what it is like to read words strung together by David Joy. Opening one of his books and reading the words contained therein is like examining a long owned knife, with a much-used blade, now worn narrow from its former width due to sharpening, honing and usage over the years. Joy's writing is like looking at heirloom items and wondering just how many rich tales items such as those could tell if only they could speak. David Joy's When These Mountains Burn is about life - past, present, future - and the destruction of life due to the invasive nature of drugs and what is left behind in their wake. The novel is also about the loss of culture and heritage and how the holes left behind by that loss are filled with many things of less value and meaning. Set in the mountains of Western North Carolina, the novel mainly follows Ray Mathias. Mathias is a widower, living alone with his loyal dog, and with a life encumbered by his transient, drug-addicted son. For some time, Ray no longer locks the doors to his home, knowing one way or another, his son will return to steal what little of value he has left to sell and feed his drug habit. His thinking is why impede his son's entry when that would only mean damage done to barriers that would not keep him out in the first place. Ray's son runs afoul of a violent, local Native American drug kingpin and after the encounter, asks his father for help. In Ray's attempt to do something to protect his son and his own way of life, his actions result in life-threatening repercussions. While it may seem Joy is spinning a bleak story, that is only partly true. Yes, the story is bleak, but while bleak, the story is still uplifting. Joy's writing is filled with such lyrical and poetic wording, where such words paint a vivid picture in the mind's eye of the reader. The story also encompasses how one is able to hold onto memorable and meaningful times, even though if it is thought a person's existence only lasts as long as the last person alive remembers that person. "When These Mountains Burn" clearly shows Joy's consistent talent and an ongoing progression of the quality in his novels. It is easy to predict "When These Mountains Burn" will be landing on many Top Ten lists later in the year when published. This novel could not be more highly recommended and to simply describe it as "Southern noir" or "grit lit" does the writing a disservice. "When These Mountains Burn" was provided through Netgalley for the return of an honest review.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Ellen Gail

    Now available! It’s 100% worth your time to get your hands on a copy. I’m nearly 30. I’ve been steadily reading for most of my life. The fact that there are still new and astounding books out there, books like this one, fills my heart with fiery joy. Thanks to Edelweiss and G. P. Putnam’s Sons for the drc.

  12. 5 out of 5

    ♥ Sandi ❣

    3.75 stars Thanks to Edelweiss and G.P. Putnam's Sons for allowing me to read this ARC. Book published August 18th 2020. I enjoy books by David Joy due to their grit and salt of the earth presentation. The blatant in-your-face, no-holds-barred story telling. Stories told clear and precise. Joy tells stories that other authors placate and tell through assumptions and overtures and by hinting at what is really happening. Even the main characters in one of Joy's novels are not usually brought to li 3.75 stars Thanks to Edelweiss and G.P. Putnam's Sons for allowing me to read this ARC. Book published August 18th 2020. I enjoy books by David Joy due to their grit and salt of the earth presentation. The blatant in-your-face, no-holds-barred story telling. Stories told clear and precise. Joy tells stories that other authors placate and tell through assumptions and overtures and by hinting at what is really happening. Even the main characters in one of Joy's novels are not usually brought to light by other authors - a section of the population that seems too forbidden to write about. Joy takes on the challenge and always comes out a winner. I will admit that I have liked the rest of the books I have read by Joy more than I did this one. It was not due to the writing or the topic - both of those were standard Joy - but it took me longer to get into this book than normal. I was unclear exactly what this book was about for a considerable amount of time and I think that hesitation broke down some of the enjoyment I find in reading Joy's books. As in the biggest of cities, the same drug problems exist way back in the foothills. Whether you come from wealth or poverty the drug epidemic is alive and thriving. This book gives us the knowledge of, the reactions to, and the consequences of three men involved with this epidemic. One is a man on drugs, one is the father of a man on drugs and one is the law, trying to quell the distribution of these drugs. All three face legal and illegal actions stemming from their interaction with each other. As I said, gritty and in your face, makes this a book not to miss.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Karen

    WHEN THESE MOUNTAINS BURN BY DAVID JOY I am really excited to have received an ARC of David Joy's most recent work called, "WHEN THESE MOUNTAINS BURN." I really loved his first book called, "WHERE ALL THE LIGHT TENDS TO GO," an unforgettable debut first novel that I consider to be one of my all time favorite reads in the last five years. It is hauntingly beautifully written and a book that I will re-read and treasure. I also really loved "THE LINE THAT HELD US." They both have excellent characteri WHEN THESE MOUNTAINS BURN BY DAVID JOY I am really excited to have received an ARC of David Joy's most recent work called, "WHEN THESE MOUNTAINS BURN." I really loved his first book called, "WHERE ALL THE LIGHT TENDS TO GO," an unforgettable debut first novel that I consider to be one of my all time favorite reads in the last five years. It is hauntingly beautifully written and a book that I will re-read and treasure. I also really loved "THE LINE THAT HELD US." They both have excellent characterizations and are wonderfully suspense driven that is taut with such gripping writing that both can be read in one sitting. This latest offering of "When These Mountains Burn," was a compelling story that is written in a bit softer voice. The Mountain's of North Carolina are described in hypnotic prose. It is reckoning that a time and place where one has always lived is changing. There are a lot more character's in this latest narrative. I am so grateful to be gifted with an early copy and enjoyed this one as well. I highly recommend it and rate it Five Plus stars. Publication Date: August 18, 2020 Thank you to Net Galley, David Joy and GP Putnam's Son's--Penguin Group for providing me with my ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. #NetGalley #GPPutnam'sSon's--Penguin Group #WhenTheseMountainsBurn #DavidJoy

  14. 5 out of 5

    debra

    I really applaud the writing of David Joy. There wasn't a lot of plot, but every sentence conveyed so much. Excellent on audio

  15. 5 out of 5

    Ron S

    Set in Western North Carolina, the publisher says this is "a fierce and tender tale of a father, an addict, a lawman, and the explosive events that come to unite them." One might call it a tale of vengeance, but those descriptions miss the mark. This is a lyrical, beautifully written lament for a lost way of life, above all else.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Amie's Book Reviews

    I had only read a single paragraph and I knew, without a shadow of a doubt that I was going to love this book. Judge for yourself. Here is Paragraph One of "When These Mountains Burn." "Rain bled over the dusty windshield. Raymond Mathis wrung the steering wheel in his fists trying to remember if there was anything left worth taking. The front door of his house stood open and from the driveway he knew who'd broken in. Fact was, if it wasn't nailed down, it was already gone. What pawned easily wen I had only read a single paragraph and I knew, without a shadow of a doubt that I was going to love this book. Judge for yourself. Here is Paragraph One of "When These Mountains Burn." "Rain bled over the dusty windshield. Raymond Mathis wrung the steering wheel in his fists trying to remember if there was anything left worth taking. The front door of his house stood open and from the driveway he knew who'd broken in. Fact was, if it wasn't nailed down, it was already gone. What pawned easily went first and now the boy stole anything that looked like it might hold any value at all." The boy referenced above is Ray's son. And, just like thousands, nay, tens of thousands, of young men and women in America today, Ricky is an addict. His father, Ray has spent every dime he has, and then some, paying for rehabs that do nothing, once even paying off a drug dealer so that his son would not have to pay the debt with his life. But, this is NOT just another book about addiction and the opiate epidemic. It is so much more than that. The first experience I had with author David Joy was his debut book "Where All Light Tends To Go" which was published in 2015 and I absolutely loved. David Joy is not only an author, he is an artist, painting with words rather than pastels and oils, but the result is just as vivid.  WHEN THESE MOUNTAINS BURN takes on several social issues including the Opiate Crisis, forest wildfires, and the residual and ongoing effects of colonization on Indigenous Peoples and Communities. David Joy is somehow able to call into existence characters that feel so real that readers will wonder if they are based on actual people. David Joy's gift for conceiving of plausable scenarios makes reading his books a true experience. In particular, David's books are set in areas that he knows well. This lends a further air of authenticity to When These Mountains Burn. I can easily imagine the film rights for this book being snatched up rather quickly and I will be first in line to see the movie if this happens. David's books are perfect for book clubs and he even offers Discussion Guides on his website. I rate this book as 5+ out of 5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ If you have not yet read any of David Joy's books, you are missing out on a true literary experience. WHEN THESE MOUNTAINS BURN is available for Pre-Order now and will be released on August 18th, 2020. **Thank you to the Publisher for providing me with a free copy of this book.** Follow me on my #bookblog at http://Amiesbookreviews.wordpress.com Also, follow me on Instagram at http://www.instagram.com/Amiesbookrev...

  17. 5 out of 5

    Tim

    I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley to read and review. WHEN THESE MOUNTAINS BURN by author David Joy is a novel that takes place in a rural Appalachia area of North Carolina, and is the story of Raymond, a widowed man who lives a simple live in his modest home and prefers to live a life of solitude that has been made more difficult due to the seemingly hopeless addiction of his son who has recently broke into his home again to steal items to sell to finance his ne I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley to read and review. WHEN THESE MOUNTAINS BURN by author David Joy is a novel that takes place in a rural Appalachia area of North Carolina, and is the story of Raymond, a widowed man who lives a simple live in his modest home and prefers to live a life of solitude that has been made more difficult due to the seemingly hopeless addiction of his son who has recently broke into his home again to steal items to sell to finance his need for heroin, and Ray seems to accept that his son seems incapable or unwilling to escape his addiction in spite of the years of financial and mental strain that has affected his mother and father for several years both mentally and financially, and includes several failed rehab stints. Ray confronts a local tough who’s a dealer, and pays off his son’s debt with the last money he has to save his son’s life, and issues a threat to the dealer that if he sells any more dope to his son, he will pay for it with his life, which the dealer laughs off and informs Ray he is only a part of a much larger operation that Ray wouldn’t stand a chance against. Denny, Ray’s addicted son, inevitably overdoses on heroin that has come from the same source, and Ray makes good on his threat to exact revenge on the dealer that touches off a chain of events that places him in harm’s way and leads to a violent game of cat and mouse. Can Ray bring down the large criminal organization that he feels is responsible for the effect it has had on not only his son, but the entire community? Will he find closure if he’s successful in doing what seems incredible in the face of overwhelming odds against him? David Joy is a very fine writer, and all of his books that I’ve read beginning with “WHERE ALL LIGHT TENDS TO GO” are wonderful novels that illustrate the surroundings in the rural settings they take place in, and provide a window into the thoughts of the characters in his stories that capture their hopes and dreams, along with their ability to rise above their circumstances, making it possible to feel the complexity of the situations faced by seemingly simple people who possess a depth and understanding sometimes only known to themselves. I can’t say enough good things about the author and his books, and I only regret that I become so drawn into his novels that I fail to capture individual quotable sentences and paragraphs that are priceless; but thankfully others have done so and I’d recommend reading reviews by others that include them. Needless to say, even though I’ve just recently finished this book I’ll be anxiously awaiting the next novel written by David Joy. 5 stars.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Elaine

    Grit Lit by a master. How long until his next book?? Set in rural North Carolina in the 1990's, When These Mountains Burn follows three people impacted by the opioid epidemic. First there's Ray, who comes from a long line of simple Appalachian folk. Now retired from the county, he's content to putter around his small cabin with his dog Tommy Two-Tone, enjoying a cigar and a glass of whiskey at night. Since his wife passed away some time ago, the only blood he has left is his adult son Ricky. A t Grit Lit by a master. How long until his next book?? Set in rural North Carolina in the 1990's, When These Mountains Burn follows three people impacted by the opioid epidemic. First there's Ray, who comes from a long line of simple Appalachian folk. Now retired from the county, he's content to putter around his small cabin with his dog Tommy Two-Tone, enjoying a cigar and a glass of whiskey at night. Since his wife passed away some time ago, the only blood he has left is his adult son Ricky. A twenty-year addict, Ricky's dad has bailed him out of trouble more times than he can remember. When Ray gets another late-night call for help, a stranger gets on the phone and threatens Ricky's life unless he gets what he's owed. This new man is not drunk or high, so Ray knows his son is in real danger... Another storyline follows an undercover cop looking to take out the drug flow between NC and Georgia. The third storyline - very sad, very hard to read - is about an addict named Denny. His scenes are often vivid and disturbing. I liked how this went into the different impacts on families, on law enforcement efforts, and on abusers, and how sometimes justice has to be delayed for police efforts to yield significant disruption in the supply. Understandably, justice delayed feels like justice denied, and heartbroken loved ones are tempted to take matters into their own hands... A very, very good, dark, gritty book. I adore David Joy (I may have mentioned that before) and his sense of place, the momentum of his plots, and his in-your-face writing style. This writer does not flinch from the ugly and forces readers to look with him and see what most people are eager to ignore.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Cody | CodysBookshelf

    after devouring and loving david joy’s previous book, the line that held us, i expected to love his new release just as much—and it just wasn’t so. it happens. david joy’s a skilled writer. he knows his way around a sentence, anyone who follows him on twitter knows that. and there are flashes of brilliance here. it’s just when these mountains burn really has too much going on, featuring three subplots—and i only cared about one. the three subplots do eventually come together, albeit not in a sat after devouring and loving david joy’s previous book, the line that held us, i expected to love his new release just as much—and it just wasn’t so. it happens. david joy’s a skilled writer. he knows his way around a sentence, anyone who follows him on twitter knows that. and there are flashes of brilliance here. it’s just when these mountains burn really has too much going on, featuring three subplots—and i only cared about one. the three subplots do eventually come together, albeit not in a satisfying way. i found myself counting pages by the climax. i quite enjoyed ray and his addict son, ricky. their subplot is featured first in the book synopsis, and it’s what made me want to read this. their relationship is not given as much time as i would have liked; instead, joy bounces between them and a petty thief and a dea agent going undercover. this book gets 3 stars for joy’s sheer writing talent, and my thoroughly enjoying bits of the story here and there. just wish it weren’t so uneven.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Lori

    When David Joy has a new book releasing, I become a total fan girl for it, all gimme-gimme-gimmeeeee! Ain't too many authors out there writing gritty, drug addled, dark appalachian fiction like he does and damn if he doesn't knock it out of the park every. single. time. And another stellar narration from Macleod Andrews! In Joy's novels, the characters aren't good or bad. They just find themselves on opposite sides of survival. And in this particular book, we're taken on a harrowing ride involvi When David Joy has a new book releasing, I become a total fan girl for it, all gimme-gimme-gimmeeeee! Ain't too many authors out there writing gritty, drug addled, dark appalachian fiction like he does and damn if he doesn't knock it out of the park every. single. time. And another stellar narration from Macleod Andrews! In Joy's novels, the characters aren't good or bad. They just find themselves on opposite sides of survival. And in this particular book, we're taken on a harrowing ride involving a father who is forced to take matters into his own hands, when the law won't, after bailing his druggie son out of a large debt to his dealer doesn't seem to stick. Though the land is dry and the forests are burning, Joy drenches us in a world of love, loss, addiction, and hope.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Mike Hughes

    David Joy has become a must read author. Another awesome book. Southern noir at its finest. Dark, bleak story about the heroin epidemic going on in this country, but even with the dark subject matter Joy creates a beautiful book.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Regina

    A small but mighty novel about drug addiction and the havoc it wreaks on the people and communities in its grasp. David Joy has painted a vivid portrait of characters I won't soon forget.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Mary

    “The world settled onto him like fog on a mountain, and, in that moment, was as close a thing to love as he’d felt in forever." It’s impossible for David Joy to craft a line that isn’t absolutely rip-your-heart-out beautiful. The man is a poet masquerading as a fiction writer who has an innate talent for spinning what I can only describe as gorgeously gritty tales of a Southern world unfathomable, yet captivating to many. In his latest novel, When These Mountains Burn, Joy examines addiction in “The world settled onto him like fog on a mountain, and, in that moment, was as close a thing to love as he’d felt in forever." It’s impossible for David Joy to craft a line that isn’t absolutely rip-your-heart-out beautiful. The man is a poet masquerading as a fiction writer who has an innate talent for spinning what I can only describe as gorgeously gritty tales of a Southern world unfathomable, yet captivating to many. In his latest novel, When These Mountains Burn, Joy examines addiction in the mountains of Appalachia, focusing on the lives of a father, an addict, and a lawman swept up in a world that plays by its own rules and claims new victims every day. These complex characters, as realistic as they are unique, prove just how complicated this crisis truly is and force readers to face the realization that their simplistic assumptions about the people on either side of this are simply wrong. A story of heartbreak, revenge, justice, and hope, When These Mountains Burn is a phenomenal novel that is sure to captivate readers brave enough to enter such a bleak world. Thank you, G. P. Putnam's Sons, for the opportunity to read and review this novel!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Anna

    I received this book in exchange for an honest review. The opioid epidemic affects people within a community in a variety of ways. There are the addicts who risk life and limb chasing their next high. Family members who have to watch loved ones kill themselves slowly. The dealers who justify their actions because the money that dealing brings into communities. Members at various levels of law enforcement trying to get the big bust for career advancement. Using characters that represents all these I received this book in exchange for an honest review. The opioid epidemic affects people within a community in a variety of ways. There are the addicts who risk life and limb chasing their next high. Family members who have to watch loved ones kill themselves slowly. The dealers who justify their actions because the money that dealing brings into communities. Members at various levels of law enforcement trying to get the big bust for career advancement. Using characters that represents all these different groups, David Joy weaves together a narrative that simultaneously tackles the heartache and the dangers that the epidemic brings into a community. It's a story of love, revenge, family, loss - not just loss of family but the loss of the community itself. While this book covers a much larger scope compared to David Joy's other books it is easily the most accessible of his books. In both The Weight of This World and The Line That Held Us, the books dealt with a smaller cast of characters over a shorter amount of time. The characters in those books were anti-heroes, people who were dealt a bad hand in life trying desperately to claw their way out by doing despicable things. The characters in this book are much easier to accept, and the choices they make are understandable. The subject matter of the epidemic is already widely discussed and in the public discourse, so there isn't much of a barrier to overcome. We want the father to get revenge on the people who keep dealing to his addict son. We want the addict to overcome his addiction and get some redemption after all those lost years. We want the DEA agents to take down the entire network. Though all those qualities makes the book easier for people to take in, in some ways it's a less nuanced book. While I understand why the author wouldn't want to write something that "understands and accepts all sides" of this situation there are racial implications. One of the dealers does casually mention that the take from the drug sales does benefit a lot of people who need money. Since the dealers in this book are Cherokee dealing on tribal land, I do think it would have been prudent for the author to at least explore that a little further. Especially given how Native Americans have been treated in the past. It's a little problematic in this regard. The pacing, writing, imagery, and realism of the book are consistently good throughout. Never does the book hit a false note in terms of the story it is trying to tell. He sets up the time frame and scenes perfectly. The wild fires burning, the changing town, the country on the cusp of change. It's 2016 and part of the country is burning down. It's poetic. But his descriptions are so vivid that I can see the scenes and smell the fires. The mood of the nation is captured by the characters. I had complained in my review of The Line That Held Us that his female characters are screaming out to be as well written as his male characters. And though the women have more prominent roles in this book, Leah being a badass deputy, she's still not as well developed as her male counterparts. It's a shame, because once again, he's so close. 3.5/5 rounds to 4/5.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Bookreporter.com Mystery & Thriller

    David Joy earned a place on my must-read list with his debut novel, WHERE ALL LIGHT TENDS TO GO. He never fails to surpass his previous efforts (which is not an easy feat), and WHEN THESE MOUNTAINS BURN is no exception. This haunting story will sear itself into your memory with each turn of the page. Joy resides in the deeply rural area of western North Carolina where the book is based and has a keen eye for observing people and places. A massive forest fire that is racing through the surrounding David Joy earned a place on my must-read list with his debut novel, WHERE ALL LIGHT TENDS TO GO. He never fails to surpass his previous efforts (which is not an easy feat), and WHEN THESE MOUNTAINS BURN is no exception. This haunting story will sear itself into your memory with each turn of the page. Joy resides in the deeply rural area of western North Carolina where the book is based and has a keen eye for observing people and places. A massive forest fire that is racing through the surrounding mountains serves as a backdrop, as well as a metaphor, in this tale about the opioid plague that rages --- seemingly unabated --- throughout rural America. No family goes untouched. Raymond Mathis, an upright man running downhill toward his 70th year, receives a panicked telephone call from his son Ricky, a child in adult wrappings. Ricky is 41 years old and deep into an addiction that has gotten him into $10,000 worth of serious trouble with his dealer. Raymond, a giant of a man who spent 30 years in the U.S. Forest Service, is still quietly grieving as he adjusts to his status as a widower. Ricky’s two-decade history of addiction has been a constant source of trouble for Raymond, but never more so than now. He bails Ricky out of his immediate predicament, but it only serves as a stopgap measure, which kicks the large can containing his problems down a short and tragic road. When Ricky’s addiction ends in the only way that it foreseeably can, Raymond makes a fateful decision to take a pound of flesh to replace the troubled one that he has lost. Meanwhile, there are plans afoot from another direction to take down the local drug kingpin who is responsible for supplying the opioid misery to the poverty-stricken area. A driven though frustrated DEA agent patches together a fragile series of bargains and deals to obtain information that will bring him to the local source. His plan ultimately comes to involve Raymond, as well as a hardcore addict who is inspired to take a shot at gaining some form of redemption, however short-lived it may be. The result is bittersweet, especially for Raymond. Regardless of the outcome, he still will be left with his unrecoverable loss. Joy’s plotting is simple and straightforward. Readers can often see, with cringe-inducing clarity, a character’s bad decision coming. It’s the degree of the severity of the consequences that are startling in WHEN THESE MOUNTAINS BURN. The most memorable element of this terrific work, though, is the development of Joy’s characters, all of whom are honed with a sharpness that cuts with the slightest exposure. This is particularly true of Raymond, who bears his double-barreled grief with the strength of a man who has asked very little of life and received even less. Such would be enough to bring even the most jaded reader to the table, but Joy’s prose, which is shot through with unforgettable turns of phrase and imagery, will have anyone exposed to it rereading this work for years to come. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub

  26. 5 out of 5

    Dustin Hood

    Everyone has authors they can depend on for a certain kind of story. I can read Nora Roberts if I’m feeling like a romance novel, Stephen King if I want something that’s going to frighten me, Greg Iles if I want to sit engrossed in a story that blurs the passage of time. I can always depend on David Joy’s writing to be a dark, gritty, visceral story that takes place in the armpit of the South. I discovered his writing with The Line That Held Us and since then have collected all of his books. With Everyone has authors they can depend on for a certain kind of story. I can read Nora Roberts if I’m feeling like a romance novel, Stephen King if I want something that’s going to frighten me, Greg Iles if I want to sit engrossed in a story that blurs the passage of time. I can always depend on David Joy’s writing to be a dark, gritty, visceral story that takes place in the armpit of the South. I discovered his writing with The Line That Held Us and since then have collected all of his books. With his newest novel, All The Mountains Burn, we follow Raymond as he goes to unimaginable measures to help his drug-addicted son who seems to be too far gone already. The book opens to him coming home to find he’s been robbed of everything that wasn’t nailed down by his son who surely pawned it all for the little bit of money that would give him. I loved this book! I have managed to live my life with little exposure to addiction. One of the things I enjoy about reading is it gives me a lens to view other paths of life that I can’t relate to. David Joy’s amazing writing capability is so vivid that it felt as if I was sitting right next to these characters as they went to desperate measures chasing their highs and as they injected the substances into their veins. (Trigger Warning for anyone who has a hard time reading about drug abuse or usage.) If I have to catch my breath after reading a scene, that’s some damn good writing. Those scenes alone warrant a five-star review from me. Whatever the Oscar equivalent award for writing is, give it to David Joy. If you like Greg Iles, Ace Atkins, John Hart, or Michael Farris Smith and have not read David Joy, please get this book. I follow David Joy on social media and he seems to recluse in the woods, fishing, hunting, and creating masterpieces that will disturb you and take you to the underbelly of the South where the vile and broken fester.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Tiger

    Gritty, heartbreaking look at the out-of-control drug trade in North Carolina. The stories of a strung out street junkie, a terrifying high level drug dealer and a father devastated by losing his son to drugs all intertwine in this absorbing tale that grips all the way to the end.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Christopher Swann

    4.5 stars. The Line That Held Us might be better by a hair or so, but this one has some of the same dark lyricism, and the last eight pages are heart-rendingly gorgeous.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Mysticpt

    David Joy does not disappoint and I think this is his best book yet. He creates two great characters who come from different worlds but come together in what is the beauty, heartbreak, sorrow and hope that is When These Mountains Burn. I know I will be remembering this one at the end of the year as one of the great books of 2020.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Mike

    First book by this author for me. Enjoyed it, solid 4 stars. Good writing with damaged characters living in an upside-down world. Good title for the story told that left me thinking about the next couple chapters after the ending.

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