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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 (2410 )
5 star
 (828)
4 star
 (915)
3 star
 (449)
2 star
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1 star
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Overall
4.0 (1803 )
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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Story
4.0 (1807 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
 (304)
2 star
 (95)
1 star
 (51)
Performance
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  •  
    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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    Overall
    "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
  •  
    Rob F. 10-13-16
    Rob F. 10-13-16 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
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    1
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    "What's in a Name"

    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.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Claudia H Philadelphia, PA 09-30-16
    Claudia H Philadelphia, PA 09-30-16 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    809
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    REVIEWS
    252
    209
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    51
    4
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    Performance
    Story
    "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
  •  
    Teacher Lady Midwest 09-15-16
    Teacher Lady Midwest 09-15-16 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    23
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    13
    11
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    Story
    "I really didn't like these people--any of them."

    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.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    William Michael Dunn 09-04-16 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    68
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    88
    26
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    "An excellent read"

    John Hart deserves the awards he has received . This is a top rated introspective mystery. It follows the weaving story of a man trying to figure out his feelings about his family while attempting to solve his fathers murder. At times he blunders badly but all in a sincere effort to undo the perceived wrongs he believes he caused as a brother, husband and son. The characters are very real and as they are unmasked he constantly reevaluates the lies that have become his hollow life. The mystery itself wanders in many directions keeping the readers attention acute. Worthy of five stars all around. If one wants a book that is a joy to follow, than this is an excellent choice. Mike Dunn

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tony Moore Springfield, IL 07-10-16
    Tony Moore Springfield, IL 07-10-16 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    127
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    181
    49
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    9
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    "Awesome"

    This is a very good audio book and worth a listen. Don't pass it up

    2 of 2 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
    5
    RATINGS
    REVIEWS
    80
    6
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    0
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    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!

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kate Saco, ME, United States 01-12-15
    Kate Saco, ME, United States 01-12-15 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    110
    RATINGS
    REVIEWS
    111
    66
    FOLLOWERS
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    5
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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
  •  
    Reviewer 08-28-09
    Reviewer 08-28-09
    HELPFUL VOTES
    24
    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.

    17 of 22 people found this review helpful

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