One of the hundred books a year I read:

One of the hundred books a year I read:

John Hart King of Lies

The King of Lies

John Hart

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John Hart depicts life the Piedmont of North Carolina like no other author. I hadn’t read this 2010 novel and am glad I backtracked to do so.

Work Pickens isn’t much of a likeable protagonist. He’s a middling lawyer who hates his job and barely makes a living. His wife is a gold-digging socialite who barely tolerates his affair with another woman. His relationship with his sister is strained, not helped by the open animosity from her lover. Mostly, he anesthetizes himself with booze and cigarettes to get through the day.

His main claim to fame is his partner, his father who is a a legendary and ferocious lawyer who isn’t liked by very many people. When the elder Pickens’ body is discovered, two years after his disappearance, with two bullet holes, the whodunit begins.

For Work, the suspect is simple—his sister. She has plenty of reasons to hate their father, but Work wants to protect her anyway he can. Since he is the second most-likely suspect in the police’s eye, it’s easy enough to distract them. Soon enough, though, things spin out of control as everyone becomes convinced Work really did commit the crime.

As the reader is exposed to Work’s past through a series of vignettes, it’s easy to suspect he did do it.

After the initial building of all of the characters, the novel moves rapidly to its revelations.

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