Summary and book reviews of When These Mountains Burn by David Joy

When These Mountains Burn

by David Joy

When These Mountains Burn by David Joy X
When These Mountains Burn by David Joy
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • Published:
    Aug 2020, 272 pages

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Kim Kovacs
Buy This Book

About this Book

Book Summary

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.

One

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.

Across the yard, the last of Ray's dogs bawled from the kennel. There'd been a time when he bred the best squirrel and coon dogs ever to come out of Jackson County, a line of black-and-tan mountain feists that'd tree anything that climbed. He'd raised beagles to run rabbits through bramble back before outsiders riddled the land with no trespassing signs, and this was the last of them: a lean bitch named Tommy Two-Ton who was grayed in the face and shook on her hind legs as she balanced against bowed chicken wire.

Crossing the yard, Ray was thankful the boy had at least put the dog up ...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

I found myself loving When These Mountains Burn by its conclusion, and recommend it to readers who enjoy truly well-written and heartfelt fiction. Its rich, relevant themes surrounding the ravages caused by drug addiction and the slow demise of Appalachian culture are sure to make this one a winner for many, and will undoubtedly draw new fans to David Joy's works...continued

Full Review Members Only (828 words).

(Reviewed by Kim Kovacs).

Media Reviews

Booklist
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.

Publishers Weekly (starred review)
[A]n engrossing drama of violence and vengeance...Joy handles everything with ease, proving himself to be one hell of a writer.

Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
Slow-burning...With memorable characters, deft plotting, and an attention to detail, Joy has written a powerful work of crime fiction.

Author Blurb Lee Smith, author of Guests on Earth
Revelatory...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.

Author Blurb Joe R. Lansdale, author of The Elephant of Surprise
This is the sort of novel I love. No world wide conspiracies, or super crimes. Just flawed folks making bad choices, then having to live with the deadly consequences. David Joy has quickly become one of my favorite authors in the tradition of such fine novelist as Larry Brown and William Gay. Highly recommended.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book

The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI)

Bridge over Oconaluftee River in Cherokee, NC David Joy's novel When These Mountains Burn is set in and around the town of Cherokee, North Carolina, which is situated in the far western corner of the state, abutting Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Cherokee is the capital and cultural center of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI) and is located in an area known as The Qualla Boundary, or simply The Qualla. This 100-square-mile parcel of land isn't a reservation; it was purchased by the EBCI from the United States federal government and is considered a sovereign nation.

The mountains known today as the Southern Appalachians were home to the Cherokee people for centuries before the arrival of Europeans. The Cherokees made some attempts to adapt to the culture and rules...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

Readalikes

Readalikes Full readalike results are for members only

More books by David Joy

If you liked When These Mountains Burn, try these:

  • Bull Mountain jacket

    Bull Mountain

    by Brian Panowich

    Published 2016

    About this book

    More books by this author

    Winner of the 2015 BookBrowse Debut Author Award

    From a remarkable new voice in Southern fiction, a multigenerational saga of crime, family, and vengeance.

  • The Secret Wisdom of the Earth jacket

    The Secret Wisdom of the Earth

    by Christopher Scotton

    Published 2016

    About this book

    Timely and timeless, this is a dramatic and deeply moving novel about an act of violence in a small, Southern town and the repercussions that will forever change a young man's view of human cruelty and compassion.

Non-members are limited to two results. Become a member
Search Readalikes again
How we choose readalikes

Books with similar themes


Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten.

Join Now!


Today's Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: A Girl is A Body of Water
    A Girl is A Body of Water
    by Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi
    First Impressions readers were fascinated by A Girl Is a Body of Water, a riveting and nuanced novel...
  • Book Jacket
    Heaven, My Home
    by Attica Locke
    Attica Locke's 2017 novel Bluebird, Bluebird introduced us to Texas Ranger Darren Mathews, who ...
  • Book Jacket: Transcendent Kingdom
    Transcendent Kingdom
    by Yaa Gyasi
    Yaa Gyasi's (pronounced "yah jessie") Transcendent Kingdom is, among other things, a meditation on ...
  • Book Jacket: We Are Not Free
    We Are Not Free
    by Traci Chee
    Author Traci Chee is best known for her young adult fantasy trilogy, The Reader series. We Are Not ...

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Piranesi
    by Susanna Clarke

    A new novel from the NY Times bestselling author of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell.
    Reader Reviews

Book Club Discussion
Book Jacket
The Shadow King
by Maaza Mengiste

An unforgettable epic shortlisted for the 2020 Booker Prize, and named a best book of the year by the New York Times.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Win this book!
Win Memorial Drive

Memorial Drive
by Natasha Trethewey

The moving, intimate story of a poet coming into her own in the wake of tragedy.

Enter


Wordplay

Solve this clue:

L N Take I C

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.