MysteryPeople Pick of the Month: THE WEIGHT OF THIS WORLD by David Joy

  • Post by Crime Fiction Coordinator Scott Montgomery

9780399173110David Joy got our attention in 2015 with his debut Where All The Light Tends To Go. The searing rural noir proved there was still a lot to mine from the subgenre. Now Mr. Joy picks up his tools and goes down down even deeper into that dark hole with The Weight Of This World.

Like Where All The Light Tends To Go, this book deals with the double edge sword of friends and family, upping the stakes in complexity of those relationships. A triangle between three people serve as the base for this tale. Thad Broom returns from Afghanistan, finding combat easier to deal with than returning to life in his Appalachian town, even though he struggles to come to terms with his wartime experience. To survive he takes copper from derelict homes and pulls a few petty crimes with his life long buddy Aiden. Soon enough, one of those crimes gets them in the middle of a shoot-out that drops a bunch of drugs in their lap. When Broom’s mother April, who is also Aiden’s lover, hears about this, she tells them to go back to the trailer where it happened, since there should be money. All three see the narcotics and cash as a way to escape their circumstances, but it just puts them all way over their heads.

Joy takes the blueprint for a crime fiction plot done many times and spins something unique and poignant through his damaged characters. Thad may be the one you hope to escape the most, but he seems to be looking for an excuse to go down a dark road. Aiden comes off initially as a charismatic hustler who can’t see life beyond the mountains, proves to have more depth in revealed history and action. April could have simply been an interesting back woods Lady Macbeth, but we see a woman whose choices in youth and the society she born into lead her to be trapped. These characters do feel the weight of the world, yet theirs is a small one in the mountains, pressing on them from every side with one bad opportunity for escape.

The idea of kin and loyalty runs through The Weight Of This World. Each character has each others back, but it only serves to push each other of them closer to the edge. Like most rural noir, it looks at inertia of setting, however it argues it has more to do with people than place.

The Weight of This World comes out March 7th. Pre-order now!

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