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"This Dark Road to Mercy" | Reviewed by Chris Stuckenschneider

Don’t miss the opportunity to meet best-selling author Wiley Cash this Friday evening at 7:30 p.m. at Washington Public Library. His newest book “When Ghosts Come Home” was published last fall.

I’ve long been a Wiley Cash fan, and previously reviewed all of the Southern writer’s books, including “This Dark Road to Mercy.” The novel opens on a baseball diamond with 12-year-old Easter Quillby on the field, and her 6-year-old sister in the stands. Following their mother’s unexpected death, their father Wade, a washed-up minor-leaguer, relinquishes custody of the girls. Easter and Ruby are placed in a group foster home.

Easter is a take-charge child because she’s had to be — her mother was never well. Embittered, she continually warned Easter to stay away from Wade, but he’s determined to reunite with his daughters. That doesn’t set well with Easter, but she longs for the home that Wade offers if the girls will only escape from foster care and take a road trip with him to another state. He assures them they will be safe, no one will find them.

What Easter and Ruby don’t know is that Wade is being pursued by a sadistic man tied to him by his checkered past — a paid killer determined to take Wade out. Also in hot pursuit of the reunited family is the girls’ court guardian, Brady Weller, a former policeman with his own personal scars.

Set in 1998, as Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire compete for the homerun record, St. Louis readers will find the book especially appealing and will be able to envision the final thrilling scene at Busch Stadium.

Cash has knocked another one out of the park with “This Dark Road to Mercy.”

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