We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access.
The King of Lies Audiobook

The King of Lies

John Hart creates a literary thriller that is as suspenseful as it is poignant, a riveting murder mystery layered beneath the southern drawl of a humble North Carolina lawyer. When Work Pickens finds his father murdered, the investigation pushes a repressed family history to the surface and he sees his own carefully constructed facade begin to crack.
    • 1 audiobook per month
    • 180,000+ titles to choose from
    • $14.95 per month after free trial

Publisher's Summary

John Hart creates a literary thriller that is as suspenseful as it is poignant, a riveting murder mystery layered beneath the southern drawl of a humble North Carolina lawyer. When Work Pickens finds his father murdered, the investigation pushes a repressed family history to the surface and he sees his own carefully constructed facade begin to crack.

Work's troubled sister, her combative girlfriend, his gold digging socialite wife, and an unrequited lifelong love join a cast of small town characters that create no shortage of drama in this extraordinary, fast-paced suspense novel.

Hart's mastery of prose and plot belie his newcomer status as he explores the true heart of a man. An illuminating anatomy of a murder and the ripple effect it produces within a family and a community, The King of Lies is a stunning debut.

©2006 John Hart; (P)2006 Recorded Books, LLC

What the Critics Say

  • Mystery Writers of America 2007 Edgar Nominee, Best First Novel by an American Author

"[A] stunning debut, an exceptionally deep and complex mystery thriller....Few readers will be able to resist." (Publishers Weekly)
"This is a first novel that lunges off the page, just grabs the reader by the throat and won't let go....Hart is a fine stylist, turning phrases with a panache that recalls Raymond Chandler." (Booklist)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.8 (1132 )
5 star
 (316)
4 star
 (429)
3 star
 (270)
2 star
 (64)
1 star
 (53)
Overall
3.9 (630 )
5 star
 (210)
4 star
 (248)
3 star
 (118)
2 star
 (30)
1 star
 (24)
Story
4.0 (634 )
5 star
 (216)
4 star
 (251)
3 star
 (113)
2 star
 (40)
1 star
 (14)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Joseph 07-15-06
    Joseph 07-15-06
    HELPFUL VOTES
    12
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    18
    3
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Impressive, But Too Disturbing for Me"

    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.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Reviewer 08-28-09
    Reviewer 08-28-09
    HELPFUL VOTES
    17
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    114
    6
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Over-written and over-delivered!"

    The plot's fine, but the writing is so staggeringly melodramatic--with long, cliched descriptions and forced language--and made worse by the overly dramatic reading! Wanted to scream several times. Stuck with it just to find out whether my own prediction of "whodunnit" turned out correct.

    10 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    S.C. Providence, RI United States 02-15-07
    S.C. Providence, RI United States 02-15-07 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
    8
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    46
    3
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Write more books, please!"

    I absolutely loved this book. It was so well written and suspenseful. The end was a complete surprise and the epilogue pulled together everything I wanted to know about the characters.

    I hope this author writes another book soon. I'll be first in line to purchase it!

    Oh, and the reader was excellent, too.

    7 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ted Lancaster, PA, United States 01-28-14
    Ted Lancaster, PA, United States 01-28-14 Member Since 2010

    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.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    1703
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    420
    341
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    212
    5
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Just a tad short of 4 stars!"

    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?

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Matt Ellsworth, ME, United States 06-27-15
    Matt Ellsworth, ME, United States 06-27-15 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    72
    6
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Depressing!!"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    I just thought the main character was depressing. Not sure what you could have done on this one.


    What was most disappointing about John Hart’s story?

    The main character was just sad. I am not sure if it was the writing or the narrator most likely both but 5hrs in I was just depressed and sick of his sad pathetic life. The murder mystery was way to drawn out. This was a book about the main character not a mystery at least as I like a mystery. 7hrs into it I had had enough and was unable to even finish it.


    How could the performance have been better?

    Find a faster paced narrator for a slower paced story.


    What character would you cut from The King of Lies?

    Alex was annoying and I really just wanted to punch her in the mouth the whole time and couldn't wait for her parts to move on


    Any additional comments?

    This is my opinion only. I realize others may love this I just couldn't get into it try as I might. Glad to pick it up on the Editors favorites specials so just a few bucks. Onto the next book!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kate Saco, ME, United States 01-12-15
    Kate Saco, ME, United States 01-12-15 Member Since 2015

    I love audio and ebooks but only give them a 5 if they hold my attention. An avereage story gets a 3 . Thrillers & Crime are my favorites.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    88
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    95
    60
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    4
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Decent stroy but overly drawn out"

    I bought this book at the time most of the reviews were positive but wish I had waited until more reviews were written. The basic plot is good and I kept listening to find out who was guilty but much of the story line was dragged out to the point I just wanted to groan on several occasions. At almost every point where a couple of characters were having an important conversation, one character had to drag the answers out of the other to the point I just wanted to scream "just answer it already!"

    The main character, "Work" is accused of killing his father; he thinks his sister did it and does a lot of really stupid things that get him in deeper trouble. Near the end of the book he finally just asks her.....dah!

    Without giving it away, once he knows the answer it changes things. I did like the ending and the performance was not bad. I would not want to listen a second time so my basic rating is just a three.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bill Kailua Kona, HI, United States 01-05-15
    Bill Kailua Kona, HI, United States 01-05-15 Member Since 2016

    The Path Between the Seas to The Great Bridge ~ Kagan's Peloponnesian War to Gaddis' Cold One ~ Mornings on Horseback to a River of Doubt ~ Tom to Huck ~ Lennie to Charley ~ Cadfael to Cross ~ Rhyme to Reacher ~ Blomkvist and Salander to Wallander and Wallander ~ Moving Cheese or Eating Frogs ~ On the Road and Into Thin Air ~ The End of History to A Short History of Everything to ... well ... everything else.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    421
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    202
    47
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    102
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A Pawn of a Novel"

    Mildly interesting plot, unconvincing characters, overwrought language. Extravagantly positive reviews here are misleading. Full review in progress.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mary 01-19-13
    Mary 01-19-13 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    283
    12
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    10
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Hated it as I was unable to stop listening."

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bull Blacksburg, VA, USA 11-13-12
    Bull Blacksburg, VA, USA 11-13-12 Member Since 2015

    Doctor Bull

    HELPFUL VOTES
    496
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    89
    38
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    236
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Some scenery gets chewed"

    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.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stuart MortlakeAustralia 05-02-08
    Stuart MortlakeAustralia 05-02-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
    19
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    5
    3
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Turgid tripe"

    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!

    5 of 7 people found this review helpful

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

Cancel

Thank you.

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.