The King of Lies

The King of Lies

Book - 2006
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Baker & Taylor
When his father is found murdered, the investigation into the crime uncovers dark family secrets that threaten to unravel the life of North Carolina lawyer Work Pickens and those of his troubled sister, her combative girlfriend, his gold-digging socialite wife, and other small-town characters. A first novel. 75,000 first printing.

McMillan Palgrave
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 façade 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.

Blackwell North Amer
A year after his mother's death and his father's mysterious disappearance, Jackson Workman Pickens - known to most as "Work" - is still fighting the fallout from his tortured past. His law practice is a shambles, a far cry from the legal empire that his father, Ezra Pickens, left in his care the day he vanished; his socialite wife, Barbara, is content to spend her days at the country club; and both Work and Barbara ignore the passionless nature of their failing marriage. Work's life is almost pleasantly unfulfilling.
The discovery of Ezra's murdered body changes everything.
Values are challenged, assumptions are questioned, and when the police learn of the vast fortune left in Ezra's wake, Work is no longer just a victim, he's a prime suspect - and so is his sister, Jean.
While Work's life has been overshadowed by his powerful, domineering father, Jean's life has been all but destroyed by him. Yet as damaged as she may be, is she capable of patricide? Fearing the worst for Jean, Work launches his own investigation, crossing paths with a power-hungry detective, a string of damning evidence, and the ugly rumors that swirl within his small and moneyed Southern town.
As his sister comes undone, and the evidence against Work mounts, his long-standing emotional dam crumbles, and he must fight from beneath the torrent of secrets, lies, and childhood trauma that threatens to drown him. Desperate for the redemption that has eluded him for so many years and stripped of everything he once valued, he fights to save his sister, clear his name, and regain the love of the woman to whom he gave his heart so many years before.

& Taylor

When his father is found murdered, the investigation into the crime uncovers dark family secrets that threaten to unravel the life of North Carolina lawyer Work Pickens and those of his troubled sister and other small-town characters.

Publisher: New York : Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin's Minotaur, 2006
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780312341619
Branch Call Number: MYS Hart, J 2006
Characteristics: viii, 310 pages ; 25 cm
Audience: Accelerated Reader AR UG 4.5 17.0 112942


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Mar 01, 2017

Hard to put down, great book, the writing style with the description of the different characters is hard to beat. Recommend this book if you like to be on the edge. I will look for more of his books.

May 09, 2016

The professional reviews cover this novel thoroughly, so I do not need to add to that. This book is well written with a methodical plot, building to a dramatic and believable finish.

In the "Quotes" section are a few examples of Hart's wonderful prose.

Jan 07, 2014

Very slow moving and predictable Story could have been told in half the time. Had to rely on postscript to finish the story.

ChristchurchLib Oct 14, 2013

"When his father's body surfaces 18 months after he was last seen alive, Jackson "Work" Pickens, a North Carolina defence attorney, tries to get to the bottom of the murder in a complex debut thriller that Booklist says "grabs the reader by the throat and won't let go." Under suspicion himself, Work must deal with his father's continued power over him, his loveless and unhappy marriage, his emotionally disturbed sister, and the wrenching secrets from the past dredged up as he searches for his father's killer and faces up to the choices he's made." Thrillers and Suspense October 2013 newsletter

May 23, 2011

good writing, good story.....good book

Jan 04, 2010

John Hart's first, and imho best, novel. Gripping tale of a man finding his own way after years of toeing the line.


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May 09, 2016

"I decided instead to find an innocuous lunch and the courage to face again my childhood home and the memories of broken bones that lay like stained carpet on the formal staircase."

"Sex and tears, like sun and rain, were never meant to share a moment, but for a fallen soul, an act of wrong could, at times, feel very right, and that scared the hell out of me."

"But memory can be like a floodgate, once opened hard to close, and as I drove, images and feelings marched upon me like waves."

"Our truest self is often the person we allow no one else to see - who we are when we are alone."


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