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The King of Lies | [John Hart]

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.
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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

3.8 (818 )
5 star
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Overall
4.0 (342 )
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Story
4.0 (344 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Richard Morton Grove, IL, USA 08-05-06
    Richard Morton Grove, IL, USA 08-05-06
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    171
    3
    Overall
    "Slow start Good Finish"

    I think you have to give this book a good long start to enjoy it. It was losing me until about 1 1/2 hours in, then snap it got me and I ended up enjoying it. Give it a chance it was a rewarding listen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Justin casper, WY, USA 08-04-06
    Justin casper, WY, USA 08-04-06 Member Since 2006

    Being a heavy equipment operator with long night shifts, good books are essential to me.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    17
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    119
    16
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    2
    1
    Overall
    "Great book"

    This book was outstanding, you will not be let down. I have been hooked on audiobooks for a some time and I loved this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Victoria Albuquerque, NM, USA 08-02-06
    Victoria Albuquerque, NM, USA 08-02-06
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    3
    Overall
    "Keeps you riveted"

    First time lsitening to this author - really liked it, not one you can skip around in though -would miss something. A really good listen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ann LOUISVILLE, KY, United States 07-31-06
    Ann LOUISVILLE, KY, United States 07-31-06 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    16
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    132
    7
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Needs an editor"

    I bought the book to listen to during a long drive. It made the trip interminable -- plodding, repetitive, dreary in all respects.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Scott Roseville, CA, United States 07-29-06
    Scott Roseville, CA, United States 07-29-06

    Don't you just love a great story well told?

    HELPFUL VOTES
    650
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    359
    112
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    39
    0
    Overall
    "Introspection is Painful"

    I don't understand how anyone can say the characters are flat, especially the protagonist whose life is layers of lies. He is a tortured soul, like his sister, who is trying to do his best to come to grips with who he is, both he and his sisters being victims of the family patriarch. Just how deeply damaged everyone is could be is the crux of the story because so many people have a motive for murder including one of the many people the father cheated during his life as a lawyer. It all has to do with class, money, greed, love, what makes a marriage, and finding out who one really is. Oh yes, and "the system" that demands fast action in a high profile murder which often railroads the innocent and turns people into machines.
    At times you get mad at the protagonist for his failings and the stupid things he does. But you also root for his cleverness. Is he brave? Is he a wimp? What is he made of? The story keeps you guessing. (I thought for sure I had the "shocking ending" guessed but the writer is far too clever for that.) "Work", the protagonist's nickname, is a lawyer, a hard profession to feel sympathy towards. Since every clever person knows to suspect the character you should least suspect, you can't ever be sure the protagonist is innoncent despite his seemingly heroic actions. This is a terrific book, hard to take, at times, because, as noted above, the guy you are supposed to root for, can be a jerk/idiot/fool at times. Obviously, "Who done it?" is another to keep reading but this book is far more complex than just another potboiler murder mystery. This book is a character study. It's about the painful layers of lies that "Work" must dig through to find out who he really is that makes this book very compelling.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amber Knoxville, TN 07-29-06
    Amber Knoxville, TN 07-29-06 Member Since 2007
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    38
    1
    Overall
    "Good but not Great"

    The story is good and not entirely predictable. I would have given this book a score of 4 stars for the story line, but the narrator was a bit annoying. At the start of each chapter you will hear him take a deep breath.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Suellen Wenatchee, WA, United States 07-25-06
    Suellen Wenatchee, WA, United States 07-25-06 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    49
    3
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
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    Overall
    "Little Boy Lost"

    I listened to every word even though the protagonist was hopelessly inept, insensitive, and impotent. You'll know who the murderer is long before our hero and yet, like me, you might hang in there just to spend a little time down south and root for one of the far more interesting women to tell this guy to take a hike. The title is certainly apt.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jill Lane CoveAustralia 07-24-06
    Jill Lane CoveAustralia 07-24-06
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    48
    10
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "King of Melodrama"

    Very mild spoiler alert ...

    I was encouraged to listen to this after all the positive reviews, and perhaps having such high expectations was the problem. I think that the basic storyline is good, and the characters are well developed, but I will reiterate what another listener said and say that the similes and metaphors and attempts at being creative in his prose were corny and melodramatic and got to be ... annoying. The only real problem that I had with the story was the incessant emphasis on who "Work" thought was the perp, and once it changed he obsessed over the next alleged perp.

    The narrator was totally unconvincing and unpleasant to listen to. I guess I am not used to listening to swallows and inhalations and almost no differentiation between characters voices, except for Max, who I am disappointed was not more developed. In addition, his voice had no sublety or nuance - he always sounded like he was speaking to someone hard of hearing.

    Good enough to want to hear what happens at the end, but not recommended.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rogene Grove, OK USA 07-24-06
    Rogene Grove, OK USA 07-24-06 Member Since 2009
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    41
    2
    Overall
    "Very good!"

    Did not expect the "who done it" and was kept guessing until the end.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    james harris cincnnati 07-23-06
    james harris cincnnati 07-23-06 Member Since 2007
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    Overall
    "No, its not what you think"

    This book is dreadful, I'm unsure if it is the writer, most likely, or the narrator but it reads like freshman fiction at an open enrollment liberal arts college in the midwest. After 30 minutes I had an unpleasant physiological reaction - good thing I wasn't driving. If you're looking for Grisham or really want to kill 10 hours I recommend Don Delillo or Michael Connelley. Don't say I didn't warn you

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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