‘A Land More Kind than Home’ is Wiley Cash’s debut novel and it won the 2012 CWA John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger.
Coming from a criminal background, Carson Chambliss finds God and moves to a small Western North Carolina town as a preacher. Here, in a little church closed to outsiders, he develops a strong following and has an incredible hold over his flock who will do anything he asks to demonstrate their faith in him and in God.
Those not involved leave him alone until events go horribly wrong for a young member of his flock.
The story is told through the eyes of three different people. Jess Hall is a nine year old boy whose mother is one of Carson Chambliss’s greatest believers. Together with his eleven year old Mute brother Stump, Jess finds out things that were never meant to be seen by a child.
81 year old Adelaide Lyle left the church after a tragedy years earlier, and looks after the children during church time to keep them out of the church. She sees Carson for the con-man that he is and as the story progresses, comes to see him as the face of evil.
60 year old Clem Barefield is the local sheriff. He has faced his own tragedy in the past and is determined to find out the truth about the recent tragedy in the church. But, many from the church are reluctant or too afraid to speak.
I loved the way that the story was written – like a very even toned statement of facts (very much reflecting the personalities of the story tellers). My emotions, however, did not stay very even. The book really tugged at my heart provoking strong feelings of anger and sorrow.
Once I started the book I found it very difficult to put down – even though I have almost nothing to identify with Southern stories. I’m hoping that Wiley Cash can produce more incredible novels like this one.
Book Published 2012