As a former book reviewer I have read many books, but there are some that are really special. This is one of them. The plot is so carefully crafted, the characters so believable, and the writing so lucid that I found it hard to stop listening to this audiobook. A true thriller with an artistic touch. The dialogue, descriptions, and introspection of the central character just absorb you along the way until the shocking and unexpected ending. The narrator also does an excellent job of conveying the story. I can't wait for his next book to come out--maybe it'll be even better!
I was first introduced to Hart about three years ago with his book The Last Child, and having already read his third and fourth books, I finally got around to reading this debut book. And we are now 4 for 4.
This novel about a lawyer and his family is much more about dysfunctional family relationships than it is about anything having to do with the law, so it is more of a murder mystery than a legal genre. But there is a fair amount of insight into both the process that law enforcement uses to focus on suspects and on the strategy that one might use if they wanted to present themselves as an alternative suspect, diverting attention from a family member who may be the one who is truly guilty.
What I enjoyed most about this book was the author's method of back-filling the story. You meet the characters and then, through one device or another, you eventually get to find out the story about that character. The entire book is told from the perspective of the main character, "Work" Pickens, who could best be described as a pompous, arrogant, and only marginally sympathetic, jerk. My negative reaction to him was heightened by his self-absorbed perspective in the story. In his eyes, almost everyone in the story is a villain, and I would have to assume, that had I been in the story, he would not have liked me either.
Enough about the book... go ahead and read it. But I want to further compliment Hart. In his first 4 books, he has written four very different books. The common element: they all end well. The highest praise I can give Hart is that I am satisfied with his endings. Not saying I necessarily "liked" the endings, but that I feel like he finishes the book by resolving the issues he has created through the course of the book. I can enjoy a book that does not finish well, but it sure is more satisfying to feel like the author has successfully taken you on a journey that arrived at the intended destination. I can't wait for book #5.
Johh Hart is a very good writer who makes you feel the pain of his very-definitely-flawed protagonist. The story catches you from the first chapter, even though it hurts and you hang on til the end. First book of his that I've listened to/read, but I will definitely try another.
In this outstanding suspense novel, John Hart captures the audience with a multitude of diverse characters and a twist and turn of events on nearly every page. From beginning to end, narrator David Chandler commands a magnificent performance in his presentation of Hart's brilliantly charming whodunit. Hart's literary style in creating fictional characters to resemble people any reader could easily know gives the plot an added dash of relish. Coupled with a slew of mysterious events, dramatic sequences and a touch of romance,The King of Lies is a recipe in perfect fiction.
I purchased this book based on a review I saw in People Magazine. It was touted as "fast paced" and "action packed" with twists and turns. It also eluded to being similar to a Grishim book.
I can say NONE of this is true. This is a long, drawn out boring story with a terrible reader to boot. He's monotone, and very unconvincing that this story takes place in the South. The characters are dull, and offer little to spark the imagination. The most interesting piece of plot is about a homeless man - which goes nowhere.D
I'll be the first to admit that the storyline is engaging. The only reason I finished the book is that I couldn't resist finding out "who done it." However, the characters are completely flat. Each person falls into one of two camps: Completely Good or Completely Evil. In fact, I have trouble sympathizing with the narrator from the beginning; the author gives us no reason to! The worst part of this book was listening to clich? and after clich? dribble off the tongue of the overly dramatic narrator. One almost imagines that the author had a list of catch phrases next to him as he wrote the book. All in all, the author clearly has a talent in weaving out an engaging plot, but the character development and writing need some work.
At the risk of sounding like a Philistine or a cultural lightweight, I must tell you that I could not get into this book. It is probably a great book, but it did not suit my mood. It was so dark and disturbing that I just did not want to live in that world for 12+ hours of audio. I had to abandon the book about 1.5 hours into the program. I thought this book would be a Grisham-type southern lawyer mystery with just a bit more depth. But this book was very different. The author probes the depths of disturbed souls, more like Dostoyevsky. It was not what I wanted for light summer reading.
Now I must say that it was very well written. The language of each sentence was exceptional. The author has a way of turning phrases with piercing originality-- the kind of phrases that say so much in so few words-- something like Joseph Conrad does. It is almost worth listening to this book just to hear some of the stunningly poigniant sentences that the author has written.
However, it is a dark world that he writes about and the characters are deeply troubled people. The heaviness of this was exacerbated by the reader's voice and inflection which to me seemed to over-dramatize every sentence. He reads every sentence as if it is the profound last sentence of an epic novel, and this I found to be exhausting.
With all that being said, I will definitely try this author again on his next book which I hope is just a bit lighter and less troubling.
I thoroughly enjoyed this mystery. The plot, with its miriad twists and turns, kept my attention. However, beyond having an excellent plot, this book also provided an excellent depiction of Southern living and mores. Indeed, the entire experience was reminiscent of Greg Iles, who is one of my favorite authors.
Badly written, replete with phrases that a schoolboy would be ashamed of, cliches galore, no noun goes without 1 or 2 adjectives. It goes nowhere and ever so slowly; I heard it in 35 minute spells (my journey to work) and it was insufferable - Elmore Leonard would have covered the same territory in 3 minutes. It was unbearable waiting for it to get moving. I can't believe this won an Edgar award for best first novel, it's terrible and needs a team of editors to reduce it to about 3 hours, not 12. Over-written, insubstantial, dull, the hero is not a hero, he's a whiner. Booklist said "Hart is a fine stylist, turning phrases with a panache that recalls Raymond Chandler." Rubbish, Chandler would have had Philip Marlowe kill the hero and the writer for murdering the English language!
Don't know what I want to be when I grow up. Trip's cool though. Use Audible to make gym-training sane... And rip my imagination.
I listened to this puzzle-murder-legal-procedural-mystery about four years ago. And forgot that I had!!! Found it in my library and about two hours in, I recalled whodunit. And yet everything is so intricate and only dimly recalled so Hart had me again. It's a good listen. David Chandler's merely VERY good. Which means his greatness doesn't intrude. Chandler's presence becomes invisible, which is a MAJOR compliment to an actor.
My how the lead character changes as this yarn unfolds. It's all about introspection and personal revelation, sometimes in such detail that I wonder if Hart wasn't padding the page count a little. Also, I wish the editor had done a global search for the word "sorry,: deleted half of his findings and used a thesaurus to morph another 50% of the remainder.
But… Knowing the ending, which I recall came as a surprise the first time through, the layers of plot complexities were even more intriguing. Uh-huh…it's a good listen… Enjoy it, huh?