Review - The Line that Held Us by David Joy

The Line That Held Us by David Joy
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons
Publication Date: August 14, 2018
Date Read: November 17, 2019
Length: 256 pages
Source: Purchased
From critically acclaimed author David Joy comes a remarkable novel about the cover-up of an accidental death, and the dark consequences that reverberate through the lives of four people who will never be the same again.

When Darl Moody went hunting after a monster buck he’s chased for years, he never expected he’d accidentally shoot a man digging ginseng. Worse yet, he’s killed a Brewer, a family notorious for vengeance and violence. With nowhere to turn, Darl calls on the help of the only man he knows will answer, his best friend, Calvin Hooper. But when Dwayne Brewer comes looking for his missing brother and stumbles onto a blood trail leading straight back to Darl and Calvin, a nightmare of revenge rips apart their world. The Line That Held Us is a story of friendship and family, a tale balanced between destruction and redemption where the only hope is to hold on tight, clenching to those you love. What will you do for the people who mean the most, and what will you grasp to when all that you have is gone? The only certainty in a place so shredded is that no one will get away unscathed.

My Review

This book is easily one of the best books that I have read this year.  I finished reading this book a couple of days ago but I haven't stopped thinking about it and I don't think that I will anytime soon.  This book popped on my radar when I read a couple of really good reviews around the time it was released last year.  I knew that I wanted to read it but life got in the way as it often does.  I am so glad that I took the time to read this book now because it was absolutely fantastic.

This is the story of a small group of people in a small town in the mountains.  One decision will forever change their lives and there is no going back.  Darl knows that it's not hunting season but he decided to try to get a deer anyway.  When he sees a hog in the woods, he takes the shot.  Only it's not a hog or a deer.  It's a man and everything is about to change.  Instead of calling the authorities, Darl decides to cover up what happened and he asks his best friend, Calvin for help.  Unfortunately, the dead man's brother, Dwayne, is determined to make those who took so much from pay for their actions.

This story was rather brutal but I also found beauty in the way it brought what really matters to the forefront.  This is a gritty and violent story filled with rich descriptions.  There were more than a few surprises in the story and I had a hard time putting the book down because I had to know how things would work out.  Even though the story was rather dark and grim, I found that this was still a story about hope, love, and the lengths a person will go to for those that they love.
"Fate's a funny thing, he thought, the way things might seem meaningless at the time, but wind up being what brought down a man's whole life."
I thought that the writing was superb.  I just felt like there was a certain beauty to the way the author put words together to tell this tale.  I actually found myself re-reading certain passages because I was so taken with the prose.  Not only was the writing beautiful, but the story was also nicely paced.  I never felt like the story dragged with more active scenes being nicely balanced with other scenes that were more thoughtful.  The story grabbed me from the very first page and never let up. 

I would recommend this book to readers who enjoy dark, gritty stories that pack a big punch.  I loved everything about this book and cannot wait to read more of this talented author's work.

About the Author

David Joy is the author of The Weight of This World and Where All Light Tends to Go, an Edgar finalist for Best First Novel. His stories and creative nonfiction have appeared in a number of publications, and he is the author of the memoir Growing Gills: A Fly Fisherman's Journey. Joy lives in Sylva, North Carolina.

Author Links: Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter


  1. ah despite the story, I find myself very interested. It's hard to find quality prose nowadays. people are more into shooting

  2. This one sounds really intriguing, and I love that you thought the writing was superb! That certainly makes you turn the pages at fast speed, and dark stories are truly fascinating in my opinion! Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Carole :D

  3. It's always great when we find a really good book just as the year is beginning to shut down!

  4. I've never even heard of this book but man, it sounds good. I'm going to see if my library has it. Great review!

  5. This isn't the sort of story I'd usually consider because I would expect it to be all violence. From your review though I see that is absolutely not the case here so I'm tempted :-)

  6. I love it when I come across a book that just blows so many others out of the water! Glad you thoroughly enjoyed it!

  7. Wow. I really want to read this now!

  8. This really sounds good. Glad to hear you liked it so much.

  9. Oh it looks quite well done there!

  10. I hadn't heard of this book but I love the cover and it sounds fascinating. Excellent review Carole!

    Anne - Books of My Heart

  11. dark, gritty, pack a punch...definitely sounds like one for me. great review
    sherry @ fundinmental

  12. Yay for finding a book that totally captivated you and earns your Best of the Year list. It sounds too brutal for me, but I do like that its got a balance to it so you had a lot to process with it along with such great passages that made you re-read.

  13. First time I have come across this one

  14. It's such an amazing feeling when you come across a book that makes such a big impact of you. The writing, the characters, the story... So glad this was that kind of book for you!


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