Rough Way to the High Way

Christian - Fiction
268 Pages
Reviewed on 01/04/2021
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Kelly Mack McCoy is a semi (pun intended) retired truck driver turned author. He spent most of his career behind the wheel of an eighteen-wheeler traveling extensively through forty-eight states gathering a lifetime of material for his books.
Rough Way to the High Way is his first novel and the first in a series of novels about the adventures of trucker turned pastor turned trucker Mack McClain.
Kelly Mack McCoy lives in Spring Branch, Texas with his lovely wife, Miss Emily and their two Yorkies, Dixie and Dolly.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Grace Masso for Readers' Favorite

Rough Way to the High Way by Kelly Mack McCoy is an inspirational novel that explores the workings of God’s grace in the ordinary and troubled life of a former pastor as he deals with an unbearable loss. After the murder of his wife, Georgia, Mack’s life as a pastor is upended, so he sells everything and buys a new Peterbilt truck. He leaves behind everything, even disconnecting from most people he has known in life, and sets out on the road trucking — a profession he enjoyed decades ago. Along the highway, as he leaves his town of Pampa behind and compelled by an inner voice, he picks a hitchhiker just where a sign says: Do Not Pickup Hitchhikers. Along the way, he encounters different characters, both good and bad, runs into trouble with police officers, deals with smugglers and a killer. While he has left behind his vocation and hometown, God has not left him as He provides tools for a new mission and opens Mack’s eyes to new ways of serving Him.

I loved this novel and the author’s unique gift for writing characters that are interesting and real. From the waitress Barb to the cops, Pipe Cleaner, and Round Face, to Agent Red Face, Mr. Tobacco, Rocky, Blondie, and Dr. Hashim, the author creates characters with a strong role in the story. They are humanly relatable and fleshed out. The quirkiness in the naming of characters is an element of the story that I liked. The story is filled with twists and turns, and the author develops plot points that are unexpected. Barb is one of my favorite characters; she is self-effacing, yet interesting in the way she opens Mack’s eyes to the real world. Rough Way to the High Way is cleverly plotted and written in exceptionally good prose. The story is filled with insightful moments and drama while offering strong spiritual lessons.

Lesley Jones

In Rough Way to the High Way by Kelly Mack McCoy, former pastor Mack is on his way from Tampa to Chicago in his newfound career as a truck driver, whilst also still grieving for his late wife, when he stops to pick up a hitchhiker named Rocky. Even though Rocky is standing under a sign warning drivers against stopping for hitchhikers, he later discovers Rocky has recently been released from the county jail. Although Mack is no longer in the ministry, he listens to the guidance of God and believes this is the right thing to do. Soon events take a drastic turn when Mack's truck is broken into and he becomes embroiled in a world of smuggling, corruption at the highest level, and organized crime. Mack uncovers information that may also plunge the cause of his wife's death into question. As justice is sought with the help of the FBI and a Texas Ranger, Mack realizes his life mission may have found a new path.

Within the first paragraph of this exceptional novel, I was hooked. The narrative relays Mack's personality, situation, and emotions perfectly. The tension and excitement are interspersed with incredible plot twists and shocking revelations. I adored the endearing conversations Mack had with his late wife. The relationship he shared with Barb from the diner was also exquisitely developed as the storyline progressed. There were so many layers to this plot that were slowly peeled away to expose so much corruption, cold-hearted deeds, and how far some people will go to achieve their own selfish ends. I loved the life lessons throughout too, especially around judging others because of their appearance. The ending was profound and the final line by Mack regarding it is not where you have been but where you are going was brilliant. Rough Way to the High Way by Kelly Mack McCoy is highly recommended.

Romuald Dzemo

Rough Way to the High Way: A Novel by Kelly Mack McCoy follows the story of a former pastor in search of redemption and answers. While he was a pastor, Mack always dreamed of getting out on the road together with his wife after retiring from the ministry. But when his wife is murdered, he sets out on the road as a long-haul trucker, struggling with grief and regret. He thinks he has failed as a minister. The solitude of the road might answer many of the disturbing questions he is confronted with. Follow him on a journey from Tampa, Texas to Chicago, a journey that is filled with surprises — some unpleasant, some exhilarating — including the encounter with a mysterious hitchhiker, smugglers, and a relentless killer on the trail.

This is a beautiful story filled with symbolism and entertainment. Kelly Mack McCoy takes readers on an adventurous journey that is eye-opening and soul-searching for the bereaved protagonist. The road becomes a symbol of a path towards insight, life, and encounters in this engrossing tale. The characters are wonderfully written, from the protagonist to the smugglers, from the Texas Ranger and the FBI agent to the deadly killer. The writing is sprinkled with spiritual insights, filled with passages that explore human nature and the nature of grief and regret in an exceptional manner. The relationship between the protagonist and his murdered wife, Georgia, is well-written, and it determines the choices he makes in life. The reader quickly learns to connect with Mack and to understand his pain. Rough Way to the High Way: A Novel is written in excellent prose, enriched by the use of witticism and engaging dialogues. It is a story with strong religious underpinnings, realistic characters, and a plot that is twisty.

Pikasho Deka

Rough Way to the High Way is a story about a truck driver named Robert "Mack" McClain, written by author Kelly Mack McCoy. The book follows the former Pastor Mack's journey on the road as he undertakes a drive to deliver beef from a small town in Texas to Chicago. Mack's seemingly innocuous journey begins with a rough start in the small town of Pampa, Texas, as a chance encounter with a hitchhiker results in blown truck tires and leaves him losing his dead wife's bracelet, thus messing up his entire schedule. Things get further complicated when Texas Ranger Captain Ben Garzo informs Mack that his wife's death may not be a suicide but murder and the man responsible for it seems to be on Mack's trail.

Rough Way to the High Way is the perfect example of how a seemingly random sequence of events can alter the course of a man's life. It is a wild tale of adventure and intrigue that showcases how a man gets pushed and pulled from all directions by forces beyond his control and his ability to keep his faith under trying conditions and make it out with an uncorrupted soul. Kelly Mack McCoy's novel keeps its hold on the reader with a compelling narrative, colorful characters, and smartly written dialogue. I found Rough Way to the High Way to be a fascinating read, and I am glad I picked it up. Despite having strong Christian connotations, it is perfectly suitable for both Christians and non-Christians alike.

Rabia Tanveer

Rough Way to the High Way by Kelly Mack McCoy is a story of good versus evil as Mack confronts some very strange circumstances. There was a time when Mack was a preacher, but that changed when his wife was murdered. After that, Mack became a long-haul truck driver who delivered meat. He thought it would be a good way to occupy himself, but things changed when he picked up a hitchhiker. That was the moment everything changed for the worse, and there was no going back for him. Becoming embroiled in things he had no business knowing, Mack had no idea that the life of a long-haul driver could be this exciting. Amid all the drama, Mack discovered that he might be one step closer to finding his wife’s murderer than the authorities. Could Mack take the chance to solve the case? Or would he become a victim too?

The flow of this story was breathtaking. Kelly Mack McCoy sucked me in from the very first page and gave me every reason to keep on reading. The fast pace allowed me to keep my interest, but it was Mack’s personality that had me lost in the pages. Mack was smart, grieving, and a little out of his head in the beginning. But the moment his development begun, he took over the story and drove it forward. The element of mystery surrounding Georgia’s death and the destructive path to Chicago proved to be the true hurdle in Mack's way. Rough Way to the High Way was as fabulous as the blurb made it out to be, and how refreshing is that! The author truly wrote something special with this book.