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February 12, 2010 / C.T. Henry

Three for Three from new author John Hart

One of my favorite books is John Hart’s Down River.  Not only is the book exquisitely located in rural North Carolina, but the depth and breadth of the characters ring true.  Adam Chase comes home for the first time after being accused of murder five years ago.  The tension and strain on the family is even more palpable when we find out that the main witness against him was his own mother-in-law.  Hart’s writing is so captivating and lyrical that it reads like a fine piece of literature rather than your typical mystery or thriller.  The book took me to Rowan County, and with each new revelation, I changed along with Adam Chase.

New author John Hart is not only prolific but also highly acclaimed.  Take a look at this resume:

2006 King of Lies

  • 2007 Edgar Award -1st Novel nominee
  • 2007 Anthony Award -1st Novel nominee
  • 2007 Barry Award -1st Novel nominee
  • 2007 Macavity Award -1st Novel nominee

Synopsis: 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.

2007 Down River

  • 2008 Edgar Award –Novel winner
  • 2008 Barry Award -Novel nominee

Synopsis: Adam hase has a violent streak, and not without reason. As a boy, he saw things that no child should see, suffered wounds that cut to the core and scarred thin. The trauma left him passionate and misunderstood—a fighter. After being narrowly acquitted of a murder charge, Adam is hounded out of the only home he’s ever known, exiled for a sin he did not commit. For five long years he disappears, fades into the faceless gray of New York City. Now he’s back and nobody knows why, not his family or the cops, not the enemies he left behind.

But Adam has his reasons.

Within hours of his return, he is beaten and accosted, confronted by his family and the women he still holds dear. No one knows what to make of Adam’s return, but when bodies start turning up, the small town rises against him and Adam again finds himself embroiled in the fight of his life, not just to prove his own innocence, but to reclaim the only life he’s ever wanted.

2009 The Last Child

  • 2009 Steel Dagger winner
  • 2010 Edgar Award –Novel nominee

Synopsis: Thirteen year-old Johnny Merrimon had the perfect life: a warm home and loving parents; a twin sister, Alyssa, with whom he shared an irreplaceable bond. He knew nothing of loss, until the day Alyssa vanished from the side of a lonely street. Now, a year later, Johnny finds himself isolated and alone, failed by the people he’d been taught since birth to trust. No one else believes that Alyssa is still alive, but Johnny is certain that she is—confident in a way that he can never fully explain.

Determined to find his sister, Johnny risks everything to explore the dark side of his hometown. It is a desperate, terrifying search, but Johnny is not as alone as he might think. Detective Clyde Hunt has never stopped looking for Alyssa either, and he has a soft spot for Johnny. He watches over the boy and tries to keep him safe, but when Johnny uncovers a dangerous lead and vows to follow it, Hunt has no choice but to intervene.

Then a second child goes missing . . .

Undeterred by Hunt’s threats or his mother’s pleas, Johnny enlists the help of his last friend, and together they plunge into the wild, to a forgotten place with a history of violence that goes back more than a hundred years. There, they meet a giant of a man, an escaped convict on his own tragic quest. What they learn from him will shatter every notion Johnny had about the fate of his sister; it will lead them to another far place, to a truth that will test both boys to the limit.


Leave a Comment
  1. pauline rodger / Apr 7 2011 11:26 am

    are there any other book in the pipeline after John Harts first 3

    • C.T. Henry / Apr 7 2011 12:45 pm

      Iron House comes out July 12th in the US.


  1. COMING SOON: Iron House by John Hart « The Mystery Bookshelf

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