Book Review – The Killing Tree: A Novel

The Killing Tree: A NovelThe Killing Tree
Written By: Rachel Keener
Published By: Center Street a division of Hachette Book Group Inc.
Date: 2009
Pages: 327 pages
Format: Trade Paperback
ISBN: 978-1599951119

The Killing Tree is gritty and compelling; an emotionally-haunting story of life in a small, mountain top community.”

Product Description – From
“It’s the summer after Mercy Heron graduates from high school, and she’s living in the household of her domineering grandfather and a grandmother whose behavior has always been erratic–some folks even call it crazy. They’ve raised Mercy since her mother died giving birth to her under the June apple tree, after Father Heron locked her out and ignored her pleas for help.
Mercy’s days are spent working at the local diner, and hanging out with her wild best friend Della. Unlike Della, she’s never seriously considered leaving the insulated community on Crooked Top mountain. Not until that summer when she meets Trout, a man who opens Mercy’s eyes to a world beyond what she’s known–both physically and emotionally. Their relationship must be kept secret, because Father Heron won’t approve of his granddaughter being involved with a migrant worker. But when Mercy tries to escape, she’ll learn just how powerful, and ruthless, her grandfather can be. And the truth of her past will threaten to forever bind her to the mountain.”

The Killing Tree‘s title alone is enough to pique ones curiosity. As I began reading the story I was immediately drawn into Mercy’s emotional struggle and felt very strongly towards many characters whose lives impacted the teen-aged girl in a negative way. Mercy’s Grandfather in particular, is a real (insert curse word here)! As the story unfolds, we learn more about Mercy’s history and what her plans are for the future. Along the way we meet Mercy’s best and only true friend on Crooked Top Mountain, “dazzling” Della. Each of the characters in the story is painstakingly drawn to help the reader feel more connected to the story and leaves them wanting more. With a smoothly-flowing story that has extremely emotional overtones, The Killing Tree explores love, loyalties, religious zealotry, hope and redemption. When Mercy meets Trout, she begins to flourish, finally understanding that she can have more then her blighted past has promised her thus far. Love blossoms and danger lurks as freedom is tasted and it all seems too good to be true. At about 1/3rd of the way through I figured out one of the major plot twists; but no need to worry, it didn’t ruin the rest of the story.
I recommend this book for readers looking for a strong, emotional drama written with vivid characterizations and darkly-beautiful settings.

♦♦♦♦♦♦♦ (7 out of 10 Diamonds) – I really enjoyed it

Read more about The Killing Tree.
Find out where to buy this book.

Link to the Author’s Website:

Link to the Publisher’s Website:

A special thanks to Hachette Book Group for sending me a copy to review.

Copyright ©  Book Reviews By Bobbie — Bobbie Crawford-McCoy


8 thoughts on “Book Review – The Killing Tree: A Novel

  1. I like my novels to be at least 8 out of 10. Can you tell me what you found lacking about the book that made you give it a 7, without giving anything away? If you’d rather not answer in the comments perhaps you could email me. Thank you.

    sfuhringer (AT) sympatico(dot) ca

  2. Hi Kathy,

    It does indeed; I’ve really enjoyed the number of colourful characters that I encountered while reading The Killing Tree. That’s great news; I’d love to hear your opinion the book once you’ve read it. :)

  3. Hi Sandra,

    I would have to say that it was a plausibility issue that I had with one of the supporting characters…it was imaginative and unique, but it took away from the credibility of the story. Does that make any sense? I tried to explain it without giving too much away…if you’d like more detail or a different explanation, please let me know. :)

  4. Sounds good to me. I’m not if it’s enough to make me add it my my list though. Great review!

  5. Hi Marjorie,

    I’m so happy to hear that you’ve added The Killing Tree to your must read list. :) You are very welcome for the review! I’m so glad you found my blog too. :)

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