The King of Lies

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by John Hart

When Ezra Pickens’ body turns up nearly 18 months after he disappeared, it should have brought his family answers and closure.

But the two bullet holes in his skull just open up more questions . . . on top of the questions the police already had about his wife’s fatal fall down the stairs of the Pickens’ mansion the night he disappeared.

The fall happens in the middle of a family argument about daughter Jean’s involvement with a woman she met while a patient in a psychiatric hospital.

After the family returns from the hospital where Mrs. Pickens was pronounced dead, Ezra gets a phone call and leaves without explanation. Jean soon follows. Ezra’s son and law partner, Jackson Workman Pickens, known to most people as “Work,” goes home to his sleeping wife Barbara. Soon after, he leaves again. His sister Jean, having just pulled up in front to talk to him, sees him leave.

Now, there’s an official murder investigation on. When Ezra’s will is made public, it is revealed that he left Jean nothing and Work $15 million — as long as he meets some suffocating conditions. Both money — and the lack thereof — are powerful motives for murder.

This tightly developed plot is riveting. At every turn, as new information about the characters unfolds, new possibilities for Ezra’s murderer are revealed.  There are other people to suspect than Jean and Work. Every possibility is logical and credible. The ending is savory and surprising.

If you’re a fan of John Grisham, you’ll like John Hart’s novels. I always find Grisham’s characterization flat and uninteresting, but this book has well developed characters driving the plot. This book is less thriller and more toxic family exploding.

The Author: John Hart (1969 – )

Author John Hart is the only author to win the Edgar Award for best novel for consecutive novels, DOWN RIVER and THE LAST CHILD.
He has also won the Barry Award, the Southern Independent Bookseller’s Award for Fiction, the Ian Fleming Steel Dagger Award, the Southern Book Prize and the North Carolina Award for Literature.
In addition to The King of Lies, Hart has written:
  • THE UNWILLING (2020)
  • THE HUSH (2018), which continues the story of Johnny Merrimon, introduced in THE LAST CHILD.
  • IRON HOUSE (2011).
  • THE LAST CHILD (2009).
  • DOWN RIVER (2007).
Hart was born in North Carolina and raised in Salisbury, NC. He worked as a defense attorney and a stockbroker before working full-time as a writer.
Hart and and his family now live on a farm near Charlottesville, VA. His friend, author John Grisham, lives nearby.


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