This is my second John Hart. I read "Down River", got all excited, and rushed to download this work. It's good, but pretty far short of the other. Since this was Hart's first book I suppose it stands to reason that he would have improved, started hitting his stride in "Down River".
The premise of the mystery is pretty clever, and Hart gives us a couple of likely suspects to focus on throughout the story. The action marches right along, not many digressions from the unraveling of the mystery. It seemed to me that the book was written as a series of scenes, like in a play. When one encounter of the characters gave up all the information they had, curtain down, curtain up, new scene, more information.
Some of the dialog is a bit dramatic sounding, not like people talk at all. As if it were typed in Aerial Font, for soaring rhetoric. From time-to-time I pictured some old Shakespearean actors called out of retirement to act out these scenes, with flourishes and grand sounding words.
Most of the characters were believable and well painted. I was a little curious as to the function of the old Viet Nam vet who'd suffered five years in a POW cage. He was far more interesting than his minor role in this book would indicate. He offers a little advice, then turns out to have witnessed something important, but he doesn't offer anything that a stock bartender character from central casting couldn't have.
I was sort of disappointed in the choice of narrator. David Chandler has absolutely no southern accent, in fact, not much of any accent at all. This is supposed to be North Carolina, after all. Even the Publisher's Summary mentions something about a southern drawl. But, as a lot of the action takes place in courtrooms and lawyers' offices, there's nothing about the book that requires it do be identified with North Carolina, aside from references to Charlotte. Nothing down on the farm or out on the plantation, not much small-town stuff. So maybe Scott Sower would have been an overkill.
Anyway, it's a pretty solid mystery, just not Hart's best.
Slow start, almost gave up because of too much not needed details. But...I did get into the personality of the characters and was looking forward to how it would end. A 5 star rating for me, means I was sad to see the book end & listened to it not only in the car, but at work and at home.
For those who loved "Prince of Tides," this is the book for you. Those (like me), who found POT overwritten and melodramatic, King of Lies will be just about unlistenable. Another disappointment is the reader. He is good but lacks the southern accent necessary to make the locale (and story) believable. I gave up on this book about two-thirds of the way through.
For an entertaining escape this listen is a good one. Engaging with good characters. My only detraction is a few times they are bit thin or not developed enough. I listened to this for the same reason I would listen/read a Grisham or Michael Connelly. On that basis it was not disappointing.
I think John Hart has a lot of talent ... but ever see a writer try too hard? Ever do it yourself? Usually, it spells disaster. John Hart overkills on the adjectives, enough that I wanted to scream at times. Will I read another of his books? Absolutely! Like I said, I think he has great talent ... but this book's verbose narrative made me feel like fingernails scraping the chalkboard. Enough said.
It was just ok for me - alet down from the Iron House which is the first book I read of his.
Not as good as Ironhouse or The Last Child
This was a captivating story with several subplots and unexpected turns. The setting reminds me of several of John Grisham's books, and the style and storytelling is similar.
Very dark, painful and depressing! I read Down River and thought this story sounded interesting; however, it was a huge disappointment that I could not finish. The story is very repetitive with over-dramatic gloomy descriptions.The narration is also poor with lots of breathing, pausing and swallowing. Don't waste your credit unless you are looking for punishing words of agonizing torture.
Not a writer, a writer wannabe, editor, lit maj, or pretend literary critic. Just an avid reader/listener. My ratings are opinion only.
Over written. Trying to make a good mystery into a sweeping novel with so many similes and metaphors it was distracting. I cringed every time he mentioned his sister because it made it all the more predictable.
The basic story line was plausible enough; The execution was weak.