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The King of Lies Audiobook

The King of Lies

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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

3.9 (1813 )
5 star
 (590)
4 star
 (684)
3 star
 (367)
2 star
 (98)
1 star
 (74)
Overall
4.0 (1260 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
 (39)
Story
4.0 (1264 )
5 star
 (475)
4 star
 (454)
3 star
 (222)
2 star
 (74)
1 star
 (39)
Performance
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  •  
    Brian W. Mason, NH, USA 08-11-06
    Brian W. Mason, NH, USA 08-11-06
    HELPFUL VOTES
    10
    ratings
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    4
    1
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    Overall
    "Decent story, lousy narrator"

    The quality of the story kept me listening to this book, in spite of the grating narration. It is truly pitiful that the producers could not have found someone with a semblance of a Southern accent to narrate this story set in Salisbury, NC. Besides that, I find the narrator's approach to the story unsuitable for the protagonist. It just doesn't fit the character.

    The protagonist himself is a pathetic loser, unable to live his own life, unable to even think lucidly. Frankly, he's a jerk.

    In spite of these criticisms, the book is well worth a listen.

    10 of 12 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
    2
    ratings
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    78
    6
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    0
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    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!

    2 of 2 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
    101
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    64
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    4
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    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.

    2 of 2 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
    2447
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    471
    391
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    266
    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?

    8 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dave Staats 08-01-06
    Dave Staats 08-01-06 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
    301
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    596
    60
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    32
    1
    Overall
    "This is rare"

    This is a very rich book. Anyone who does not appreciate it may have read or heard too much truth. I really hope this character returns. Started hoping that around the middle of the book. John Hart is on my list of people to watch for. I heard his voice here but it was in the same vein as Turow. The narrator was good. Glad they didn't have a plummy NC accent doing it. Production value was interesting. I could always hear the tape recorder being turned on and off...

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 07-26-06 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    16
    2
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    0
    0
    Overall
    "King of Lies, and other clich?s"

    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.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Marian 06-28-06
    Marian 06-28-06
    HELPFUL VOTES
    119
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    38
    23
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    "Superb-reminiscent of Greg Iles"

    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.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Reviewer 08-28-09
    Reviewer 08-28-09
    HELPFUL VOTES
    23
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    115
    6
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    0
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    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.

    16 of 21 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stuart MortlakeAustralia 05-02-08
    Stuart MortlakeAustralia 05-02-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
    24
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    5
    3
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
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    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!

    10 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Juliet J. McKinnon 08-18-16
    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
    ratings
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    36
    6
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    0
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    Performance
    Story
    "Disappointing..."

    I'm so glad this wasn't the first John Hart book that I listened to because it was painful. I've thoroughly enjoyed other books by Hart, but this one was horrible. The plot was predictable, the suspense was non-existent and the narrator was horrific. I rarely say that about any reading, but David Chandler should probably look for alternate employment. In the hundreds of hours I've spent listening to Audible, I've never heard such audible swallowing and breathing by a reader. It was awkward, annoying and,
    at times, disgusting to hear. John, please take a drink of water for God's sake! We can hear the heaviness of you dry tongue in every chapter :( John Hart is truly a good author. Check out some of his other books and don't judge him on this disaster.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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