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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 (2200 )
5 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Overall
4.0 (1607 )
5 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Story
4.0 (1611 )
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
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Performance
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  •  
    Amazon Customer 07-26-06 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "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.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brian W. Mason, NH, USA 08-11-06
    Brian W. Mason, NH, USA 08-11-06
    HELPFUL VOTES
    10
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    "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
  •  
    paul barron Victoria, British Columbia Canada 12-08-06
    paul barron Victoria, British Columbia Canada 12-08-06 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
    55
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    13
    5
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    "King of Groans"

    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.

    50 of 63 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Claudia H Philadelphia, PA 09-30-16
    Claudia H Philadelphia, PA 09-30-16 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Performance
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    "Probably a good read, terrible audio"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    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.


    What didn’t you like about David Chandler’s performance?

    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.


    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
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    "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
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    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
  •  
    Reviewer 08-28-09
    Reviewer 08-28-09
    HELPFUL VOTES
    24
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    "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.

    17 of 22 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dave Staats 08-01-06
    Dave Staats 08-01-06 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "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
  •  
    Marian 06-28-06
    Marian 06-28-06
    HELPFUL VOTES
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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
  •  
    Stuart MortlakeAustralia 05-02-08
    Stuart MortlakeAustralia 05-02-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
    24
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    5
    3
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    0
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    "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

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