Saturday, 5 May 2018

Wot I'm reading: a town full of secrets


The third novel of John Hart’s that I’ve read, and it’s another humdinger. The Gothic element that featured strongly in The Last Child and Iron House is less evident here, but it’s a splendidly complex thriller. An ex-cop is freed after thirteen torturous years in prison for a murder he didn’t commit. A female cop who idolised him is facing charges over the killing of two kidnappers. 

Teenagers play key roles: the kidnapped girl who loves the cop who rescued her more than her parents, and the son of the woman whose murder the ex-cop took the rap for. And the town, unnamed and in an unnamed state, is full of secrets – and killings - past and present. The ending is a tad hard to swallow but it goes on for fifty nerve-jangling pages. Redemption comes at a high price.

Mr Hart writes a richer prose than your average crime novelist. “Gideon’s father wore his days like a faded suit.” “She was alone on the road, just her and the wind and the last line of bruised sky as full night descended.” Quality writing, dense plotting, deeply damaged but believable characters: Hart is in the ‘pantheon’ of thriller writers. I shall wait impatiently for his next book.

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