Dec 15, 2011

Review: The King of Lies by John Hart

THE KING OF LIES is the first novel of two time Edgar Award winner John Hart  (The Last Child, Down River, Iron House) He is a North Carolina native, who went from defense attorney to novelist, writing crime thrillers based in North Carolina.  

About The Book - (from GoodReads)
Jackson Workman Pickens--known to most as "Work"--mindlessly holds together his disintegrating life: a failing law practice left to him when his father, Ezra, mysteriously disappeared, a distant wife who shares their loveless marriage, and an estranged sister who bore the brunt of their childhood trauma.
And then Ezra's body is discovered.
Set to inherit his father's fortune, Work becomes a prime suspect.  But so does his sister, Jean.  As much as Work's life was overshadowed by his domineering father, Jean's life was nearly destroyed by him. But does that make her capable of a vicious murder?  Fearing the worst, Work launches his own investigation, crossing paths with a power-hungry detective, a string of damning evidence, and the ugly rumors that swirl within his small, moneyed Southern town.
Desperate for the redemption that has eluded him for so many years and stripped of everything he once valued, he fights to save his sister and clear his name--in this poignant and thrilling anatomy of a murder and its ripple effect within a family and a community.

My Thoughts

Its no secret that I am a big fan of John Hart. The first book of his I read was THE LAST CHILD last year and I really enjoyed it. Earlier this year I read IRON HOUSE, his latest and I was blown away. 

THE KING OF LIES doesn't get off to a quick start like IRON HOUSE does, but Hart methodically lays the ground work for what is, I believe, a very good mystery.  The questions surrounding Ezra's disappearance and subsequent discovery of his remains keep the story going and has many paths to travel. The convincing list of suspects and their involvements with the victim creates a believable and engaging story. The fact that the lead detective only wants to focus on Ezra's son, Work, only makes the other suspects more visible, in my opinion.  

I did feel the story dragging a little bit about half-way through.  I was ready for a tempo change and, luckily, soon after after having that thought, things began to happen at a quicker pace and with more excitement.  That said, I was pleased with THE KING OF LIES. I'm happy I took the time to read it and I do plan to read his second novel, DOWN RIVER, at some point as well. 

Having read his three later novels, I have definitely seen the progression of a really great suspense writer. In fact, IRON HOUSE  is one of my top picks of this year. His writing gets more intense and exciting with each book.  Needless to say, I am anxiously awaiting his next release. 

Author: John Hart
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Published: 2006
Pages: 320
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Source: Public Library


  1. I would have to say I agree totally with your review. But here's the awful part. The first book I read by him was The Last Child, and I know I just loved it and rated it very highly, but now I can't tell you anything about it. I guess I need to reread it!

  2. It sounds like The Last Child is the book to start with.

  3. I would definitely start with The Last Child. I thought it was great but again, not as good as Iron House!! Awesomeness!!!

  4. I am going to read Iron House next year for sure. I made my own challenge to read one book that was a fave from my favorite I added Iron House..can't wait to experience this author!!

  5. Happy new year!

    Happy blogoversary :)


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