Review by Carolyn Melvin
WHERE ALL LIGHT TENDS TO GO by David Joy, another Edgar nominee for best first novel, is a first rate debut novel. Jacob McNeely is a young man trapped by the circumstances of his Appalachian upbringing and convinced that his destiny is pre-ordained. His violent meth-dealing father controls what goes on in Cashiers, North Carolina, including the local authorities. Jacob dropped out of high school and has been working for his father for years on the promise that his father will eventually pay him for his efforts. The high point of his life comes from reuniting with Maggie, his first love, and a girl bound for bigger and better things.
Initially, I found it difficult to get into the book. Joy is a very descriptive writer, and in the beginning, he made use of a number of clichés. As I got further into the book, I was swept away by his use of language, sense of place, ability to catch the reader off guard with brutal and often upsetting incidents, and heart-pounding pacing. I highly recommend this book.