Over 2 million copies of his books in print. The first and only author to win back-to-back Edgars for Best Novel.Read more...
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Over 2 million copies of his books in print. The first and only author to win back-to-back Edgars for Best Novel. Every book a "New York Times" bestseller. After five years, John Hart is back.
Since his debut bestseller, "The King of Lies," reviewers across the country have heaped praise on John Hart, comparing his writing to that of Pat Conroy, Cormac McCarthy and Scott Turow. Each novel has taken Hart higher on the "New York Times" Bestseller list as his masterful writing and assured evocation of place have won readers around the world and earned history's only consecutive Edgar Awards for Best Novel with "Down River" and "The Last Child." Now, Hart delivers his most powerful story yet.
A boy with a gun waits for the man who killed his mother.
A troubled detective confronts her past in the aftermath of a brutal shooting.
After thirteen years in prison, a good cop walks free as deep in the forest, on the altar of an abandoned church, a body cools in pale linen
This is a town on the brink.
This is Redemption Road.
Brimming with tension, secrets, and betrayal, "Redemption Road" proves again that John Hart is a master of the literary thriller."
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Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2016-02-29
- Reviewer: Staff
In this stellar crime thriller, Edgar-winner Hart (Iron House) explores the human capacity for resilience and trust in the face of heartbreaking betrayal. North Carolina police detective Elizabeth Black faces the prospect of criminal charges arising from her gunning down two men who were sexually abusing 18-year-old Channing Shore in an abandoned house. Given that Elizabeth, a white cop, shot the men, who were black, 18 times, the incident has attracted major media attention. But Elizabeth seems strangely indifferent to the investigation’s outcome. Her plate gets even fuller after Adrian Wall, a cop she once had feelings for, is paroled after 13 years in jail for murdering a woman, a crime she always believed he didn’t commit, despite compelling forensic evidence. Adrian is almost gunned down by the victim’s revenge-seeking son and again finds himself a suspect when another woman is killed. Though Hart employs plot twists effectively, it’s his powerful, wounded but courageous lead whom readers will remember. 200,000 first printing; author tour. Agent: Esther Newberg, ICM. (May)
Whodunit: Loose threads unravel half-truth and lies
If you think of Laura Lippman’s Wilde Lake as a reimagined and much darker To Kill a Mockingbird, you wouldn’t be far off. Lippman drew inspiration from Harper Lee’s masterpiece as she considered how events of one era would play out decades later—and how attitudes toward sex and rape would change from 1980 to 2015. The novel centers on Luisa (Lu) Brant, who was a shoe-in for the position of state’s attorney, thanks to the long tenure of her father in the same role years before. She scarcely has time to settle into her new office before a murder case comes across her desk: A drifter is accused in the brutal beating death of a middle-aged woman. It should be an open-and-shut case, but as the investigation progresses, it harkens back to another killing from 30-some years before that involved members of Lu’s family. Chapters alternate between 1980 and the present day, and the suspense ratchets up progressively as Lu discovers that truth is not necessarily a commodity to be sought out and not always something we’ll be happy about when we find it.
WAYS OF SERVING TIME
Events of the past also exert unexpected influence over characters in John Hart’s Redemption Road. Adrian Wall is freshly out of prison after serving 13 years for a murder he did not commit—but for some reason, he wouldn’t take the stand to defend himself. Elizabeth Black is an iconoclastic cop who was one of a handful of people to believe Wall innocent, although she harbors the secret of another killing. Gideon Strange was only an infant when his mother was purportedly murdered by Wall, and now he’s a teenager bent on avenging the death of the mom he never knew. It should come as no surprise that directly after Wall is released from prison, another murder occurs that is shockingly similar in style to the one that got him incarcerated. Naturally, the police make a beeline for Wall, and once again, one of the few people in his corner is Elizabeth. The denouement and climax are certainly cinematic, albeit somewhat unlikely, but if you’re a fan of poetic justice, you’ll find it in spades.
A PLACE FOR DISAPPEARING
Kelley Armstrong’s City of the Lost posits an interesting scenario: a town specifically created as the ultimate off-the-grid destination to escape an abusive partner, go on the lam or drop off the face of the earth. Located deep in the Yukon, Rockton is a village of misfits that one must apply to join and then be accepted by the town council. Residents commit to a minimum of two years and a maximum of five, pay a hefty entrance fee and agree to live without access to mail, cell phones, Internet or any other means of communication with the outside world. It is tailor-made for Diana Berry, who cannot seem to summon up the strength to stay away from her cruel ex-husband, and her friend Casey Duncan, a cop with her own desire for escape. The town council has its own reasons for accepting Casey, however: There have been murders, pretty grisly ones at that, and the police force has proven well out of its depth at solving them. Someone with Casey’s expertise would be able to provide a new perspective and, with luck, bring a killer to justice. This is a taut, well-plotted and thoroughly different sort of thriller.
TOP PICK IN MYSTERY
Hot on the heels of Philip Kerr’s The Other Side of Silence, reviewed in last month’s column, comes another tale of espionage and the witch hunts of homosexuals in 1950s Great Britain. In David Lagercrantz’s gripping novel Fall of Man in Wilmslow, the death of real-life mathematician Alan Turing in the sleepy English town of Wilmslow is widely written off as a suicide (death by poisoned apple, seriously). His conviction for “gross indecency” (the codeword for “homosexuality”) spelled the end of his life as he knew it, with the loss of his security clearance and the censure or outright condemnation of his peers. Yet for Detective Constable Leonard Corell, there is an element of irrational government secrecy around Turing, and this piques his curiosity. Corell’s hunch begins to gain some traction, at least in his own mind, when evidence leads him to one of the more closely guarded secrets of World War II, the decryption of the hitherto uncrackable Nazi encryption code known as the Enigma. But if ever there were a time when curiosity could get you killed, it would be at the onset of the Cold War, and nowhere was paranoia more prevalent than in 1950s England. This is a fascinating, lightly fictionalized look at a pivotal character in the world of Cold War espionage.