{Book Review} Where All Light Tends to Go by David Joy



  • Pages: 260
  • Published: March 3rd 2015
  • Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons

David Joy can write real small town horror better than anyone I know. I say horror, but what I should have said was real life horror. The author writes about everyday people going through some really tough situations and scenarios. Where All Light Tends to Go doesn’t read like a debut. The cover really says everything you need to know about this novel.

David Joy’s characters are fleshed out and their backgrounds are fully explored. I was wholly invested in the complex characters, even the supporting cast. Joy never let the story get sluggish, the narrative stayed taut throughout, even when he gave background information. All the characters’ dialogue felt authentic and their feelings were genuine. I related to the characters and I was completely invested in their story.

Cashiers, North Carolina is like any other small town on any old map. People want to leave, while others can’t because they are stuck, struggling to free themselves of the mundane cycle of small town life. It’s this pressure and struggle that made this story shine bright, even if it’s dark as hell. And to top it off, there’s young, complicated love burning red hot like a thousand suns. I’m tearing up just thinking about it. Oh, the passion, y’all. Jacob and Maggie were made for each other. Squeeee!

Anyways, enough of that mushy stuff. I did feel empathy for the characters. But what I found most intriguing was the intricate story. David Joy makes it look easy, he doesn’t overextend the story, or use abstruse words. Joy’s writing style is as smooth as muscadine wine. From the jump, Joy captivated me with a dilemma. How the characters reacted in that particular situation really engrossed me. The foreboding is excellent and sets up the rest of the story beautifully. I won’t say much about the ending, except it’s brutal.

You can enjoy Where All Light Tends to Go on a front porch, by a waterfront, on the metro, under an old shade tree, on a beach, in a break room, in a tree stand, in a duck blind, or in the comfort of your home. If you like books written by Somer Canon, Kristi DeMeester, or Joe R. Lansdale, then you’ll enjoy David Joy’s books.



A Finalist for the Edgar Award for Best First Novel
In the country-noir tradition of Winter’s Bone meets ‘Breaking Bad,’ a savage and beautiful story of a young man seeking redemption.

The area surrounding Cashiers, North Carolina, is home to people of all kinds, but the world that Jacob McNeely lives in is crueler than most. His father runs a methodically organized meth ring, with local authorities on the dime to turn a blind eye to his dealings. Having dropped out of high school and cut himself off from his peers, Jacob has been working for this father for years, all on the promise that his payday will come eventually.  The only joy he finds comes from reuniting with Maggie, his first love, and a girl clearly bound for bigger and better things than their hardscrabble town.

Jacob has always been resigned to play the cards that were dealt him, but when a fatal mistake changes everything, he’s faced with a choice: stay and appease his father, or leave the mountains with the girl he loves. In a place where blood is thicker than water and hope takes a back seat to fate, Jacob wonders if he can muster the strength to rise above the only life he’s ever known.





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