Review of “The King of Lies” by John Hart

Jackson Workman Pickens, or “Work” is a 35-year-old lawyer who isn’t really happy with his career, but keeps the father and son practice going because of his father, Ezra. Ezra, a successful and rich lawyer, disappeared eighteen months before, right after Work’s mother died in a horrible accident.

As the story opens, Ezra’s body has just been found in a storeroom of a deserted mall, and Work is the prime suspect, since he stood to inherit fifteen million dollars. Work thinks his sister Jean, unbalanced and suicidal, must have committed the crime, but he is willing to take the rap for her if necessary, so he is withholding his alibi. The police are closing in on him, and almost everyone he thought was a friend has deserted him.

He has no solace from his marriage, since his wife Barbara is not really the one he loves. He feels he can’t be with the woman he does love – Vanessa, because of a secret from his past. He is frustrated, bitter, and despondent. In every aspect of his life, he is living a lie. It looks as if there is no way out for him, and his struggle to find one forms the bulk of the story.

Discussion: I like John Hart’s work a lot. Having read three of his books, I will say that he thinks very differently than I do. I identify it as “maleness” but I’m not sure if that characterization is precise. Whatever it is, I love getting a look at different ways of perceiving the world, especially by men (who still seem very alien to me after all these years of knowing them) and especially with respect to relations with the opposite sex.

Rating: 3.5/5

Published by Thomas Dunne Books, an imprint of St. Martin’s Press, 2006

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14 Responses to Review of “The King of Lies” by John Hart

  1. sandynawrot says:

    I’m lazy, I could look, but is this a new book? You are right, he does have a brusque, male way about his prose. I have The Last Child…need to read this one.

  2. Julie P. says:

    I am listening to THE IRON HOUSE right now. He does have a grittiness to his writing.

  3. Patti Smith says:

    I’ve never heard of this author but ya’ll have made me curious…will see if the library has anything of his 🙂

  4. I think I have read something by Mr. Hart before..I have to check that.
    sounds pretty good.

  5. zibilee says:

    Not sure this is one for me, but I know a few men in my life that would probably love it. I can’t say that I am turned off by obvious “maleness” in a book, but they do rate a little lower on my list than some other types of books. Great review today, Jill!

  6. Jenners says:

    Interesting review! I’d love to have a “male” perspective on it! : )

  7. BermudaOnion says:

    Hart’s work is extremely popular in our neck of the woods, but I’ve yet to try it. I like to read from the male perspective too, so it sounds like I’d like his work.

  8. stacybuckeye says:

    I’ve been wanting to read Hart, but now that I know about his maleness I need to get one of his book right away! These would probably be good for car trips with Jason.

  9. Cipriano says:

    What an interesting review, I always think it is relevant that a reviewer has read other works by an author, before sizing him or her up in a current one.
    And I appreciate that you assess the fact that your overall perspective may be influenced by the fact that Hart may be writing to a male audience. Yet you [as a female reader] do not discount or neglect the book based on that criteria. I am reminded of something Milan Kundera said, that the “best books are bi-sexual” wherein he meant that they ought to appeal to both genders. I agree with him on this point. No one reads Tolstoy [for instance] and says, “This is a man’s book.”

  10. Lisa says:

    This one sounds intriguing — I love a good mystery. I often think female readers are much more accepting of male authors than vice versa, but it is definitely interesting to see the different perspectives.

  11. Barbara says:

    This is going on my list. You haven’t figured out men yet? What a surprise! Actually, neither have I. 😀

  12. I’ve never read this author. A few of my blogging buddies liked his works so I would give this author a try.

  13. Margot says:

    I’m going to check our library for John Hart’s books. I liked your comments on the “maleness” of this book. All that male way of looking at life is one of the things I miss about not going into work every day. They think so differently.

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