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
"[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)
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.
When I downloaded this book, there appeared to be no reviews. Now there are 43. My web browser must have been acting up. In any case, I rushed back here to warn people off this book only to find all the other reviews and the two polarized camps. I fall into the "good plot tritely written" camp.
I kept thinking that it's as though the author was a painter who turned out a sparkling work only to keep labouring over it until it turned to mud on the canvas. At one point, he had a good book there, perhaps in an early draft, but he worked too hard at making it clever.
That being said, I would give the King of Lies the following rating: 4 Stars for the plot. It was intricate and compelling, and the only aspect that kept me reading it; minus 1 Star for groan-out-loud cliches and hackneyed phrasing masked as personal epiphanies and introspective wisdom; predictable, stereotypical, uni-dimentional characters: minus 1/2 Star; annoying, effete narration: minus 1/2 Star = 2 Stars.
On the positive side, I did like the way the main character dug a big hole for himself by his seemingly benign actions, which ended up driving the tight plot. Not being from the US, let alone the South, I can't comment on the accuracy of how the class issues of North Carolina are captured, but I do think the book would have been significantly better if a reader like Will Patton or Stephen Hoye had read it. They perhaps could have turned the plodding, monotonous narration into a humid Southern story full of genteel tension -- if in fact that's in the work to begin with. It's hard to tell.
All in all, if you value your credits skip this book and look into works by James Lee Burke or Ellmore Leonard.
As every chapter passed, I was waiting for the big revelation. It never really materialized or somehow I missed it. Upon finishing this audio book, I have discovered the "King of Lies" is the author, since that character was never developed in the storyline. Mediocre story about a father and son relationship with a few perversions thrown in. Decent narration for such a story.
Probably not, but perhaps if it was just the book, rather than the audiobook, it might be worth killing some time, but it wouldn't be a life changing read.
This was recorded a while ago, so there were a lot more mouth noise and other weird body noises that they are able to avoid getting in the newer recordings. I don't blame the narrator, it's just unfortunate.
Redemption Road was the first John Hart book I read/listened to, and it was so wonderful I could not wait to read The King of Lies. What a frustrating disappointment.
I think the main problems were: 1. I have never disliked a protagonist quite as much as I disliked "Work." He is whiny, self-absorbed, angst-ridden, and indecisive, and when he does act he does some really stupid things. 2. His "relationship" with his wife made me almost physically sick at times. Good God, send the witch on down the road already. 3. Although I think Hart can be a very good writer, the verbosity of this book was just over the top--not just the three-adjective descriptions, but the interminable interior monologues as well. 4. I have listened to many titles narrated by David Chandler, and although he is not my favorite, he is usually tolerable. In this book, his slow and sometimes stilted delivery and occasional strange word emphasis only served to exacerbate my frustration.
In a character-driven story, I actually have to like some of the characters. In an action-centered story, things have to happen. I hated the people and not very much happened. Unsatisfying on every level. I am mad at myself for wasting so much time on this.
I just thought the main character was depressing. Not sure what you could have done on this one.
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.
Find a faster paced narrator for a slower paced story.
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
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!
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.
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.
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.
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...
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