The King of Lies Mass Market Paperback – April 3, 2007
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"A gripping performance."--People
"Don't miss this book."--Winston-Salem journal
"...have-to-keep-reading suspense."--Denver Post
"If you want entertainment that will ensnare you, deprive you of sleep... You won't be disappointed." --Rocky Mountain News
"Reads like a book on fire."--Pat Conroy
"An exceptionally deep and complex mystery thriller."--Publishers Weekly (Starred review)
"[An] ambitious debut thriller...well-spun...a gripping performance." --People (3.5 out of 4 stars)
"Hart has wedded the two writing forms, creating a marriage of carefully crafted prose alongside have-to-keep-reading suspense."--Denver Post
"More than anything else--more than a terrific whodunit, an unsentimental, clear-eyed story of love and forgiveness, and a gripping family saga--The King of Lies is a masterful piece of writing."--The News & Observer (Raleigh, NC)
"Rookie of the Year."--Bookpage
"One of those fine books that is both a gripping mystery/thriller and a fully fleshed, thoughtful work of literature…The prose is lush and poetic without being overdone or self-indulgent…Don't miss this book. The only problem with taking The King of Lies on vacation is that you'll finish it too soon."--Winston Salem Journal
"Neophyte author John Hart has written a brilliantly intricate novel with a plot so flaming, its pages burn at your fingertips…a spectacular read. His descriptive prose and clever language allow The King of Lies to play out like a movie right before your eyes."--TBO.com (Tampa Bay Online)
"[A] fast-paced debut mystery."--The Wall Street Journal
"If you want entertainment that will ensnare you, deprive you of sleep, and have you button-holing your friends about its greatness, you won't be disappointed….When Hart is famous, you'll brag about reading The King of Lies before anyone had heard of him….Treat yourself to something new and truly out of the ordinary. (Grade: A)"--Rocky Mountain News
"All of Hart's characters ring true... Indeed, The King of Lies pulls off the almost impossible: It makes you like a lawyer."--St. Louis Post-Dispatch
"The best thing about reading The King of Lies is watching the character of Work Pickens evolve. Though there's plenty of intrigue here, with dead bodies and villains galore, the real change happens inside the character of Work Pickens as he's forced by external circumstances to take a hard look at his assumptions and values. An ambitious debut from a promising new novelist."--Sheri Reynolds, author of Rapture of Canaan and Gracious Plenty
"John Hart's debut in the world of fiction is that most engrossing of rarities, a well-plotted mystery novel that is written in a beautifully poetic style...The King of Lies will mark the beginning of a long and stellar career".--Mark Childress author of Crazy in Alabama
"Absolutely relentless. I dare you to read the first chapter of The King of Lies and not be hooked."--Steve Hamilton, author of Ice Run
"A rare, remarkable book, a marvel from the first page to the last. At times blunt and startling, at times full of grace subtle wisdom, this novel is, without a doubt, one of the most compelling pieces of fiction I've ever read."--Martin Clark, author of Plain Heathen Mischief
"The writing is beautiful and the story is gripping, but it is the character study of a damaged Southern lawyer that puts this debut novel on the must-read list." --Library Journal (Starred Review)
"Hart is a fine stylist, turning phrases with a panache that recalls Raymond Chandler. Readers will breathe in this fine novel like a breath of fresh air and, immediately after finishing it, wish for more. --Booklist (Starred Review)
"A suspenseful novel about the unraveling of the poisonous legacy of a Southern lawyer brings us a strong new voice in crime fiction. A writer to watch."--Thomas Perry, author of Dead Aim
"Speaking of wonderful debuts, John Hart has such a lovely writing style that's full-bodied and lyrical." --Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (Sarah Weinman's Mystery Blog)
From the Back Cover
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.
"READS LIKE A BOOK ON FIRE."--PAT CONROY
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.
"AN EXCEPTIONALLY DEEP AND COMPLEX MYSTERY THRILLER."
--PUBLISHERS WEEKLY (STARRED REVIEW)
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.
- Publisher : Minotaur Books (April 3, 2007)
- Language : English
- Mass Market Paperback : 400 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0312363753
- ISBN-13 : 978-0312363758
- Item Weight : 7.4 ounces
- Dimensions : 4.17 x 1.08 x 6.73 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,214,972 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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This is the second time to read King of Lies. Not many authors have the ability to make me read a book twice, my first was Atlas Shrugged. These authors are not comparable but what a joy it is to find such remarkable authors. This book kept me mesmerized and turning the pages to attempt to see where this journey would take me. This book did not disappoint. READ IT.
John Hart does a great job telling a story that is interesting and engrossing. With an economy of words, he especially does a good job developing characters that you have a real feeling for - whether you like them or not, you get a sense of them in a way that isn't common in mystery stories. Many mysteries work so hard to keep the action moving that they don't develop characters - or the characters are so unreal or superhuman, that you can't relate to them. As a result, the story falls flat cause you don't care about anybody involved.
The opposite is true here - all the characters come to life very vividly. They are all interesting, believable (not always likeable) - and the things they do, you can imagine happening in real life. You can relate to the issues they face, the choices they make, and the twists and turns they go through to work things out.
And the ending is an excellent surprise.
I definitely recommend this book - and I will be reading more John Hart books (this was my first).
Every character is totally unrealistic, so that made it hard for me to really feel for anyone. But especially Work, the main character, who surely could not have graduated law school if he was really such a moron. He's ready to basically sacrifice his life to protect someone he *thinks* may have murdered his father...of course, there's no evidence, but what the heck, maybe he's just a stand-up kind of guy. It's a ridiculous plot all the way around.
It would have been nice if there was a female character who was based on a real human being, instead of the usual made-for-tv movie stereotypes, which several other reviewers have covered very accurately.
The style of writing was pretty good, if over the top at times. One thing I find incredibly annoying and amateurish is when a writer has all his characters using the same unusual grammar or style. That happens more than a few times in this book.
It was readable, and reasonably enjoyable for the first two-thirds, so I give it three stars, though I'd rather give 2.5.
Top reviews from other countries
AFter King of Lies, I immediately bought Last Child (equally brilliant) and Down River (half way through and loving it) and recommended them to my book group pals. I just hope Hollywood has bought the rights. Hart deserves to be read by book lovers everywhere