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.
Joy (The Line that Held Us) serves up an engrossing drama of violence and vengeance in western North Carolina. In 2016, as the Tellico fire burns thousands of acres, Joy delves into the life of retired forester Raymond Mathis; his 40-year-old opiate-addicted son, Ricky, who has already stolen everything from Ray's house that could be pawned; Ricky's fellow addict and thief Denny Rattler, bearing a face "whittled" by drugs to "bone and shadow"; and DEA agent Ronald Holland. After a pill pusher tells Ray he has to pay $10,000 or he'll kill Ricky, the four men become unlikely allies. The money was meant to be Ray's nest egg, having received it after a drawn-out battle with the state over eminent domain. Joy's razor-sharp prose details disturbing, graphic images of brutality that begin when Raymond resolves to protect his son. The threads of the story intertwine after Ricky gets hurt and Ronald connects the dots. As the fire spreads, the characters offer emotional reflections on the loss of their mountain culture, already being "sold off for tourists dollars" at the time of the fire. Joy handles everything with ease, proving himself to be one hell of a writer.