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Publisher's Summary

An old man is dying. When the old man is dead, they will come for him. And they will come for her, to make him hurt.

John Hart has written three New York Times best sellers and won an unprecedented two back-to-back Edgar Awards. His books have been called “masterful” (Jeffery Deaver) and “gripping” (People) with “Grisham-style intrigue and Turow-style brooding” (The New York Times). Now he delivers his fourth novel—a gut-wrenching, heart-stopping thriller no listener will soon forget.

He would go to Hell....

At the Iron Mountain Home for Boys, there was nothing but time. Time to burn and time to kill, time for two young orphans to learn that life isn’t won without a fight. Julian survives only because his older brother, Michael, is fearless and fiercely protective. When tensions boil over and a boy is brutally killed, there is only one sacrifice left for Michael to make: He flees the orphanage and takes the blame with him.

To keep her safe....

For two decades, Michael has been an enforcer in New York’s world of organized crime, a prince of the streets so widely feared he rarely has to kill anymore. But the life he’s fought to build unravels when he meets Elena, a beautiful innocent who teaches him the meaning and power of love. He wants a fresh start with her, the chance to start a family like the one he and Julian never had. But someone else is holding the strings. And escape is not that easy.

Go to Hell and come back burning....

The mob boss who gave Michael his blessing to begin anew is dying, and his son is intent on making Michael pay for his betrayal. Determined to protect the ones he loves, Michael spirits Elena—who knows nothing of his past crimes, or the peril he’s laid at her door— back to North Carolina, to the place he was born and the brother he lost so long ago. There, he will encounter a whole new level of danger, a thicket of deceit and violence that leads inexorably to the one place he’s been running from his whole life: Iron House.

©2011 John Hart (P)2011 Macmillan Audio

What members say

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  • Overall


I was so looking forward to the next Hart book. I loved King of Lies, The Last Child, and Down River. Just loved them. I almost gave up on this book, however, because the first half is excruciatingly slow and the Elena character is so whiny and insipid. The narrator slips between an Italian and Spanish accent and reads her half-speed like she's loaded all the time. The relationship between her and Michael is about as interesting as dust. HOWEVER, everything is kicked up to high gear in the second half of the book where Elena is a minor character. Hart doesn't do violence as well as Adrian McKinty but it's still horrific. There are a lot of threads to the story which can be confusing and leaves the reader wondering why they are part of the story, but it all comes together in the end. This book is nowhere near as good as the others and there are a few stereotypes, as a southerner, I get tired of reading, but I guess I'd have to say I'd recommend this book...the second half did keep me up til two a.m.

34 of 36 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Narrator and Author a Good Team

Although the plot has some rough spots, this book is a good example of how putting the right narrator with the right author can help compensate for weak points. Scott Sowers has an incredible range of voices that makes the characters come alive. Hart does a nice job of creating the backstories for the characters so that their actions are credible. Some plot points are a stretch, but the story works in the end. Overall, a good audio book that moves along smoothly.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Ann
  • United States
  • 07-19-11

Stilted and Clichéd

While the plot is just okay -- not great but okay -- most of the characters in this novel, including the "hero", are quite stilted and very clichéd. It difficult to truly care what happens to anyone in this story, including those for whom we are to feel much sympathy or empathy. Do not use your credits on this book; wait until it's included in one of Audible's "paperback sales". Even then, you may not feel you got your money's worth..

18 of 20 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Wow! What a Listen!

I have listened to John Hart and Scott Sowers in the past and enjoyed the collaboration. This time my expectations were truly surpassed with the performance of them both. I didn't want it to end and I would welcome the return of any characters that made it out of this book alive to return for the sequel. This story was so exciting and the characters so complex...that I didn't know who to like or who to despise. Nothing is clear cut in this one. And it works!

11 of 12 people found this review helpful

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  • Byron
  • Tallahassee, FL, United States
  • 10-29-11

Very good, but a bit too gruesome at times

John Hart has quickly risen in the ranks of authors I enjoy, partly because I think he writes better endings than most authors. For example, while I usually cannot put a John Grisham book down, I am rarely satisfied by the ending. John Hart, on the other hand, has succeeded in his early books of bringing the stories of his book to a closure that makes me feel like he has honored the time I invested in reading his book.

This book is no exception, although slightly less so than his earlier books. I have graded the story a "4" however, not for that, but for the excessive gruesomeness of parts of the book. Early in the book, before you have a clue as to what the story is about, there is a spate of violence that tempts anyone not committed to reading the book to putting it down, assuming it is a book about violence rather than a story about family. Once one is past that violence, the story is set up, and it moves quite nicely for most of the rest of the book. However, the barn scene later in the book is one of the truly horrid descriptions of torture and pain, and I would have loved to be able to avoid or skip through that scene. That is tough to do when listening, but perhaps possible when reading.

So, with that caveat, another solid effort from Hart.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Great "Read"

This book was very exciting and I found myself up at all hours listening to it. Thank God for the mobile app! I don't read a lot of books in this genre (I'm all over the place), but thought it had excellent character development and it really kept me guessing throughout. I look forward to more work from this author.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Curtis
  • Madisonville, KY, United States
  • 07-16-11

Great Book!

This is the first book by John Hart that I have listened to and I loved it! I was invested in the characters and really cared what happened to them. I dont feel that the book was slow in any part- I was riveted from begining to end, and the action sequences really had my heart pounding. The short author interview at the end is a great touch. After finishing, I immediately put his other titles on my wish list. You won't regret spending a credit for this one!

12 of 14 people found this review helpful

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  • Kelley
  • Wilmington, NC, United States
  • 08-19-11

Don't Expect 'Last Child' Characters

I did not discover John Hart until last year. Once I did, I was hooked. I listened to every Hart book ever recorded back-to-back and then began a year long vigil in anticipation of Iron House. I realize now that it was Hart's incredibly insightful characterizations that had me enthralled. About a third of the way through Iron House, I reluctantly admitted to myself that I was disappointed. I wasn't staying up half the night listening... unable to turn it off. But... I kept listening. Turning a hit man (and his friends/family) into loveable characters worthy of a readers emotional investment is no easy task. I am glad I stuck with the story. By about half way through, Hart had me once again. In the end, I actually had tears streaming down my face (an extreme rarity for me) and was swept away by what I can only describe as a bittersweet close. As with all his books, the plot was fresh, imaginative and convoluted. The end? Never saw it coming. Scott Sowers did a great job. He sounds like a North Carolinian to me. As a former professional voice talent from NC, I am sensitive to these things. I highly recommend this book... you just have to be a little patient. You will be glad you did!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Carol
  • Elk City, OK, United States
  • 08-23-15


This is my favorite mystery-thriller writer and I have read thousands of those books. Many years ago, I discovered Ruth Rendell's work and went to tell everyone about it. Now I have discovered that JOHN HART is a writer for my taste ~ he keeps me on a sentence Rollercoaster without dipping down to the level of King or Koontz. ( I know that both men can write a fine patch of prose.) While I 'm in that prose patch, I would like to read some fine literature mixed with my chillblains.
This starts out being a rather ponderous Mob book but after only a few chapters, I was totally immersed--and I stayed "with" the storyline to the last.
This is a wonderful book but for Mature audiences because of violence and cursing...

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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5 Star

Would you listen to Iron House again? Why?

Very well written book. You could tell the writer had authentic knowledge of the fictional settings. I also liked the multiple plots that tie in to one another. If John Hart is reading this, Your Friend Clint Robins, referred me to the book and it far exceeded expectations.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful