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Redemption Road

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Now at NYT Besteller Over 2 million copies of his books in print. The first and only author to win back-to-back Edgars for Best Novel. Every book a New York Times bestseller. After five years, John Hart is back. Since his debut bestseller, The King of Lies, reviewers across the country have heaped praise on John Hart, comparing his writing to that of Pat Conroy, Cormac McC Now at NYT Besteller Over 2 million copies of his books in print. The first and only author to win back-to-back Edgars for Best Novel. Every book a New York Times bestseller. After five years, John Hart is back. Since his debut bestseller, The King of Lies, reviewers across the country have heaped praise on John Hart, comparing his writing to that of Pat Conroy, Cormac McCarthy and Scott Turow. Each novel has taken Hart higher on the New York Times Bestseller list as his masterful writing and assured evocation of place have won readers around the world and earned history's only consecutive Edgar Awards for Best Novel with Down River and The Last Child. Now, Hart delivers his most powerful story yet. Imagine: A boy with a gun waits for the man who killed his mother. A troubled detective confronts her past in the aftermath of a brutal shooting. After thirteen years in prison, a good cop walks free as deep in the forest, on the altar of an abandoned church, a body cools in pale linen… This is a town on the brink. This is Redemption Road.Brimming with tension, secrets, and betrayal, Redemption Road proves again that John Hart is a master of the literary thriller.

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Now at NYT Besteller Over 2 million copies of his books in print. The first and only author to win back-to-back Edgars for Best Novel. Every book a New York Times bestseller. After five years, John Hart is back. Since his debut bestseller, The King of Lies, reviewers across the country have heaped praise on John Hart, comparing his writing to that of Pat Conroy, Cormac McC Now at NYT Besteller Over 2 million copies of his books in print. The first and only author to win back-to-back Edgars for Best Novel. Every book a New York Times bestseller. After five years, John Hart is back. Since his debut bestseller, The King of Lies, reviewers across the country have heaped praise on John Hart, comparing his writing to that of Pat Conroy, Cormac McCarthy and Scott Turow. Each novel has taken Hart higher on the New York Times Bestseller list as his masterful writing and assured evocation of place have won readers around the world and earned history's only consecutive Edgar Awards for Best Novel with Down River and The Last Child. Now, Hart delivers his most powerful story yet. Imagine: A boy with a gun waits for the man who killed his mother. A troubled detective confronts her past in the aftermath of a brutal shooting. After thirteen years in prison, a good cop walks free as deep in the forest, on the altar of an abandoned church, a body cools in pale linen… This is a town on the brink. This is Redemption Road.Brimming with tension, secrets, and betrayal, Redemption Road proves again that John Hart is a master of the literary thriller.

30 review for Redemption Road

  1. 5 out of 5

    Brina

    Before John Grisham started churning out formulaic thrillers every year, he wrote southern style thrillers that I anticipated reading. I hadn't read well written books of this genre for a number of years until now that I have discovered John Hart. A former attorney and recipient of the Edgar Award, North Carolina born Hart has penned thrillers that keep one guessing until the final pages. This could not be more true of his fifth book, Redemption Road which had me on edge until the end. At the boo Before John Grisham started churning out formulaic thrillers every year, he wrote southern style thrillers that I anticipated reading. I hadn't read well written books of this genre for a number of years until now that I have discovered John Hart. A former attorney and recipient of the Edgar Award, North Carolina born Hart has penned thrillers that keep one guessing until the final pages. This could not be more true of his fifth book, Redemption Road which had me on edge until the end. At the book's opening we meet ex-con and former cop Adrian Wall who is to be released from prison after thirteen years for a crime he may or may not have committed. On the same day, fourteen year old Gideon Strange, the victim's son, is determined to kill Wall in retribution for murdering his mother. Strange fails and is shot in the stomach, yet avoiding any major arteries, and he heads to the hospital where we find out that he has been living the last thirteen years with a deadbeat, alcoholic father. Meanwhile, Wall escapes authorities. Intertwined with Wall's supposed crimes and backstory, is thirteen year veteran cop Elizabeth Black. The daughter of a reverend and brought up strictly, we find Black amid allegations of her own. Thirteen years earlier, Wall had stopped Black from committing suicide and she joined the force partially because she idolized him, partially because she really believed in stopping bad forces in the world. At this story's beginning, Black has been suspended from the police force because she is under investigation for murdering two brothers for holding and raping eighteen year old Channing Shore over a forty hour period. This has occurred on the same week that Wall was released from prison. As the story unravels, Wall, Black, Strange, and Shore all become interconnected. Hart paints a vivid picture of a small North Carolina community where retribution for crimes occurs and all people know everyone else. He creates real characters from Wall and Black to elderly attorney Faircloth "Crybaby" Jones, Black's partner Charlie Beckett, and the warden and his peons at the prison. There is no escaping anyone's business or wrath because the entire town knows of old secrets. Or do they? The last third of the book had me reading quickly to find out the denouement and whodunit. Just when we think Wall is guilty, Hart peels back more layers to the mystery. In addition to the mystery and thriller, Hart hints at a romantic interest between Wall and Black that also held my interest. The thriller tugged at raw emotions and left me racing at the end. I rate Redemption Road 4 stars and look forward to reading more of Hart's books in the future.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

    *4.5 stars* If you haven’t read this yet, just know, once you start, there’s no escaping this dark and twisty read. A riveting and suspense-filled police procedural, reminiscent of literary fiction, REDEMPTION ROAD owned me for days. There were more times than not, over the five-day span of my read, that I found my mind wandering back to this whodunnit—chock-full of lies, manipulation, degradation and ultimately redemption—I couldn’t get enough. The flawed characters, the corrupt small-town setti *4.5 stars* If you haven’t read this yet, just know, once you start, there’s no escaping this dark and twisty read. A riveting and suspense-filled police procedural, reminiscent of literary fiction, REDEMPTION ROAD owned me for days. There were more times than not, over the five-day span of my read, that I found my mind wandering back to this whodunnit—chock-full of lies, manipulation, degradation and ultimately redemption—I couldn’t get enough. The flawed characters, the corrupt small-town setting, the enigmatic twists and that ending, checked more than the requisite boxes for this suspense reader. When I wasn’t reading it, I was thinking about it. Obsessing over it. Scrutinizing every. single. moment. Picking apart each and every minute detail in an effort to uncover some minor tell that might lead me to the path of truth. I had way too many questions and not enough answers, which in hindsight, isn’t a bad place to be in this genre, right? Who wants to suffer through a predictable plot? There’s something about John Hart's writing, his choice of words, that feels lush and magnetic. Going in, knowing this was a suspense novel/police procedural, his writing wasn’t at all what I expected. I was kind of blown away, if I’m being completely honest. The depth and feel of the story lends itself more to literary fiction than a fast-paced in-your-face police procedural, but the ominous undertone, horrific situations and unexpected paths this story veers down, is sure to keep any suspense junkie on their toes. The driving force behind this novel was certainly the cast of dynamic characters. Each memorable and compelling in their own right, there were those I loved and others I loved to hate. Isn't that the best of both worlds? Most surprising of all was that ending. I’m a little shocked I can even say this, considering how many disturbing reads I’ve subjected myself to over the years, but turns out, the underlying truth was even more warped than any of the theories swimming around in my own brain. When the mask was pulled off, I was a little taken aback. I don't know why, but I didn't see that as a possibility. Maybe my twisted mind, isn’t so twisted after all?

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Masterson

    5 HUGE STARS!!! This book! This book!!! This is the book everyone should be reading!!! My favorite thriller since last year's "Bull Mountain"! "Redemption Road" grabbed me right from the creepy beginning and never let go! I'm not going to say much. It's best to go into this one without reading a lot of reviews. This is what I will say. The writing is phenomenal!!! This is my first John Hart novel but it certainly won't be my last. It is a gritty, dark thriller that takes place in North Carolina. T 5 HUGE STARS!!! This book! This book!!! This is the book everyone should be reading!!! My favorite thriller since last year's "Bull Mountain"! "Redemption Road" grabbed me right from the creepy beginning and never let go! I'm not going to say much. It's best to go into this one without reading a lot of reviews. This is what I will say. The writing is phenomenal!!! This is my first John Hart novel but it certainly won't be my last. It is a gritty, dark thriller that takes place in North Carolina. The story revolves around fallen Police Officer, Elizabeth Black and her first partner, who has just gotten out of prison after serving a 13 year sentence, Adrian Wall. Elizabeth has just shot and killed two criminals with 18 rounds, yes 18 rounds of ammunition for raping and torturing 18 year old Channing Shore. Gideon is a teen out for the revenge of his mother's death. There is a serial killer that needs to be stopped and many many other memorable storylines and characters. I won't list them all. I will say my favorite character was "Cry-baby Jones"! This book is so good!!! I can't wait to discuss it with others!!! I listened to the audio version. The narration is 5 Star! Props to Scott Sheperd! There is a lot going on in this novel and Mr. Sheperd did an awesome job of bringing this story and these characters to life!!! Highly recommended!!! Read or listen to it and thank me later! It's that good!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Linda

    I received a copy of Redemption Road by John Hart through NetGalley for an honest review. My thanks to NetGalley, Thomas Dunne Books, and to John Hart for the opportunity. John Hart.....A wizard with words. "She sat. She paced. The soft, warm day ate her alive." Elizabeth Black, a police officer for thirteen years, is under investigation for a crime scene that went terribly wrong. A young girl kept captive in the dark, hollowed-out basement of an abandoned building knows only too well what she and I received a copy of Redemption Road by John Hart through NetGalley for an honest review. My thanks to NetGalley, Thomas Dunne Books, and to John Hart for the opportunity. John Hart.....A wizard with words. "She sat. She paced. The soft, warm day ate her alive." Elizabeth Black, a police officer for thirteen years, is under investigation for a crime scene that went terribly wrong. A young girl kept captive in the dark, hollowed-out basement of an abandoned building knows only too well what she and Liz saw with terror-filled eyes. Will these eyes give way to even more while delving into the deeper levels of what truly lurks within? We are introduced to a gamut of characters that come alive with the brushstrokes of John Hart. Gideon Strange, a young fourteen year old boy, initiates this story with his compelling drive to seek justice for the death of his mother. Hart describes Gideon's alcoholic father as "wearing his days like a faded suit". And Hart lights up these pages with great detail to his blessed act of character development. We come to know "Crybaby" Jones, an ancient 89 year old retired lawyer, who received his nickname from a judge after Jones was so emotionally taken by his first encounter with the justice system. There is layer upon layer of story and backstory on this rough terrain of a North Carolina town. And the searing fire is re-lit upon the release of Adrian, an ex-police officer, from prison. John Hart weaves these characters brilliantly throughout the story, connecting and re-connecting the ties that bind. This is a story of how one's past can never be set aside fully. The shadows of it cast largely into the present and the response is, often times, not pleasant or palatable. This is my first encounter with John Hart. Oh, please know, I will be reaching back into his other published works. This author writes admirably with the likes of John Grisham and Harlan Coben. I am officially taken with this very talented man.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Diane S ☔

    This man can pen a story unlike any others. Create characters that are never just one thing, memorable, so very memorable. This story is gritty, no this is beyond gritty, it is violent, at times graphically so. Dark, but really darker than dark, whatever that would be. I have gotten wimpy in my reading, graphic violence is no longer my thing. Yet, I could no more put this book down than I could refuse to eat or sleep. Compelling, intense with an intensity that never lets up. Actually had to put This man can pen a story unlike any others. Create characters that are never just one thing, memorable, so very memorable. This story is gritty, no this is beyond gritty, it is violent, at times graphically so. Dark, but really darker than dark, whatever that would be. I have gotten wimpy in my reading, graphic violence is no longer my thing. Yet, I could no more put this book down than I could refuse to eat or sleep. Compelling, intense with an intensity that never lets up. Actually had to put it down and read something else forma while, but it called to me, boy did it ever. The characters, the many different shades to their personalities, the conflicted feelings we all share, how one person is never just one thing and how sometimes experiences affect us all differently. What would make one a killer would make another a saviors. Hart, gets this so right. Believe it or not there is also a great deal of love. Love for the wounded in body and spirit. The scarred children of the world, trying not to let the darkness define them. What people will do out of love, for love and how this will change them, lead them to do things they normally would not. There is evil, born out of greed and those that are caught in its path will never be the same. Maybe not the same but Hart makes sure we realize there is still a chance to live a good if different life. That is his genius, his writing ability, that he makes the reader see all this. See the many shades and experiences that go into making a person who they are. Characters and a story that despite the violence is so much more. My only wish is that this author could write faster. ARC from Netgalley.

  6. 5 out of 5

    *TANYA*

    I absolutely loved this book!!! It was intricate and full of despair AND BEAUTIFUL!! You can feel the despondency of all the characters, like a ton of bricks. The writing was sublime!! A must read.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Elyse Walters

    Obstacles and emotions submerge like a Hurricane in this wonderful literary-mystery-thrillers!! Honestly...I can't think of a better book in this genre! I've read many of the popular best sellers in years past (the psychological- mystery -thrillers)...and this novel tops them all! Even the epilogue will keep throw you for a loop. I saw a 'few' things coming down the pipes early into this story ---( I'm guessing many readers will)---but the writing is so page-turning terrific you won't care. Plus, Obstacles and emotions submerge like a Hurricane in this wonderful literary-mystery-thrillers!! Honestly...I can't think of a better book in this genre! I've read many of the popular best sellers in years past (the psychological- mystery -thrillers)...and this novel tops them all! Even the epilogue will keep throw you for a loop. I saw a 'few' things coming down the pipes early into this story ---( I'm guessing many readers will)---but the writing is so page-turning terrific you won't care. Plus, I only got a few sprinkles right - not the whole sundae. I'll give you a hint - I promise there are enough twists and turns you can't possibly guess everything--( situations will be 'at least' a little different than the puzzle you might be trying to put together in your head). Remember... 'obstacles AND emotions'!!! THIS IS A DAMN GOOD BOOK!!!!! ........with characters you want to see again!!!! Taking the Fifth on sharing anything else about this story....on the grounds it could lead to a crime! Thank You St. Martin's Press, Netgalley, and the man who captures us: John Hart!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Norma * Traveling Sister

    Sister Reads Review by BRENDA and NORMA Norma’s little twisted mind figured out whodunit way before Brenda did and this had Brenda thinking that I had to be wrong or was slightly confused. Hahaha sister dear!! REDEMPTION ROAD by JOHN HART is a gritty, dark, gripping, and a suspenseful thriller/police procedural novel that has a literary fiction feel to it. The road to redemption is a road filled with compassion and emotionally troubled relationships that will have you totally engaged to the surpr Sister Reads Review by BRENDA and NORMA Norma’s little twisted mind figured out whodunit way before Brenda did and this had Brenda thinking that I had to be wrong or was slightly confused. Hahaha sister dear!! REDEMPTION ROAD by JOHN HART is a gritty, dark, gripping, and a suspenseful thriller/police procedural novel that has a literary fiction feel to it. The road to redemption is a road filled with compassion and emotionally troubled relationships that will have you totally engaged to the surprising and gratifying ending. JOHN HART delivers an extremely well-written read here that takes you on an emotional and bumpy road of trust and betrayals that tests the beliefs and the personal strengths of our two main characters, Elizabeth and Adrian throughout their complicated relationship. We loved the unique relationships and understanding Elizabeth had with troubled, flawed and damaged Gideon and Channing which added some backbone to the storyline. The relationships added contrast to Elizabeth's strained relationship with someone close to her. REDEMPTION ROAD has just the right amount of grit and shocking events with twist and turns that every thriller reader craves!! We suggest catching a ride along with Elizabeth on her road to redemption. It's a thrilling and electrifying ride! Definitely recommend!! All of Brenda & my reviews can be found on our Sister Blog: http://www.twogirlslostinacouleereadi...

  9. 4 out of 5

    Mary Beth *Traveling Sister*

    Hart’s novel is about redemption, but also about trust and betrayal, and those emotional roads that most of us never want to travel. I am in awe of John Hart's ability to tell a story and there's no way my words can do this book justice. It took me on a thrill ride, but with fully developed characters and a story that touched my heart. The experiences that Adrian, Liz, Channing and Gideon go through, while absolutely horrible, are told in bits and pieces and Mr. Hart's handling of those aspects Hart’s novel is about redemption, but also about trust and betrayal, and those emotional roads that most of us never want to travel. I am in awe of John Hart's ability to tell a story and there's no way my words can do this book justice. It took me on a thrill ride, but with fully developed characters and a story that touched my heart. The experiences that Adrian, Liz, Channing and Gideon go through, while absolutely horrible, are told in bits and pieces and Mr. Hart's handling of those aspects of the story was masterful. Deeply troubled North Carolina police detective Elizabeth Black prowls the streets of her hometown, wondering if she will be charged with murder. While rescuing kidnapped teenager Channing Shore, Elizabeth killed the two men who were sexually assaulting the teen in a desolate house. The case became a political hand grenade. I am going to stop here because I do not want to spoil it, but I loved every minute of it.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jen

    This is a heart thumping right out of your chest kind of read. In this complex narrative, the characters are shamelessly flawed. There is Elizabeth- a broken cop trying to do the right thing in the wrong ways. We have an ex-con, Adrian, also an ex-cop, recently released from jail with a claim of innocence. He is broken from the 13 years of time served where victimization peaks within the institution itself and power taken to an extreme. We have good cops, bad cops, a twisted warden and his posse This is a heart thumping right out of your chest kind of read. In this complex narrative, the characters are shamelessly flawed. There is Elizabeth- a broken cop trying to do the right thing in the wrong ways. We have an ex-con, Adrian, also an ex-cop, recently released from jail with a claim of innocence. He is broken from the 13 years of time served where victimization peaks within the institution itself and power taken to an extreme. We have good cops, bad cops, a twisted warden and his posse. We have a teenage girl suffering & recovering from her own attack and a boy who is seeking revenge to avenge his mother. So much darkness. The plot itself surrounds a disturbing murder(s) but we are witness to other deviant acts and crimes that will make you shudder. Redemption road is about making peace with oneself. It's acknowledging the past betrayals and moving forward. It's not always about choices made or the circumstances in which they happened, as these are often beyond our control, but rather the reality of living one's life on their own terms and deciding if the past is going to define who you are or if it's an opportunity to reinvent oneself. After my last thriller/mystery read, I was disappointed. Hart, your writing has redeemed the thriller genre for me. For as few of them as I read, they need to give me a jolt and this one delivered. Well played, John Hart. 4.5*

  11. 5 out of 5

    Paula Kalin

    Redemption Road is the first book I have read by author John Hart and well worth it. An intense crime and suspense thriller set in a small southern town where everyone knows each other. What's wonderful about the book is the way 4 people are interconnected. With twists and turns we learn more about these 4 characters as the pages turn. Adrian Wall, an ex-cop punished for a crime he may not have committed, Elizabeth Black, a suspended cop, loyal to Adrian with her own issues, Channing Shore a cri Redemption Road is the first book I have read by author John Hart and well worth it. An intense crime and suspense thriller set in a small southern town where everyone knows each other. What's wonderful about the book is the way 4 people are interconnected. With twists and turns we learn more about these 4 characters as the pages turn. Adrian Wall, an ex-cop punished for a crime he may not have committed, Elizabeth Black, a suspended cop, loyal to Adrian with her own issues, Channing Shore a crime victim, and Gideon Strange a child set on retribution. With multiple plots and in depth description of events, I found this book hard to put down. Nice twist at the end. Highly recommend. 4 out of 5 stars.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Julie

    Redemption Road by John Hart is a 2016 Thomas Dunne publication. I don’t live under a rock, I promise, but I always have my face in a book, desperately trying to work through my ridiculous TBR pile. So, sometimes authors slip past my radar, even when they are back to back Edgar winners, like John Hart. I am just now getting around to reading one of his books, but with so much positive press behind him, I was confident I was in for a real treat. Elizabeth Black, is a well -respected cop with an im Redemption Road by John Hart is a 2016 Thomas Dunne publication. I don’t live under a rock, I promise, but I always have my face in a book, desperately trying to work through my ridiculous TBR pile. So, sometimes authors slip past my radar, even when they are back to back Edgar winners, like John Hart. I am just now getting around to reading one of his books, but with so much positive press behind him, I was confident I was in for a real treat. Elizabeth Black, is a well -respected cop with an impeccable record, until she makes a spontaneous decision that has her under fire by the press, the state police, her partner, her superiors, and her father, who is a minister. But, that’s not her only problem by a long shot. Her former idol, Adrian, also a cop, who has spent the last thirteen years in prison, has been released early for good behavior, but his freedom is very short lived, and he soon finds himself the prime suspect in another murder, and on the run. Elizabeth always believed in his innocence and still carries a torch for him, but helping him could cost her everything. Without having read his previous books, I can’t make any comparisons, but I believe this book certainly lives up to the high standard set for it. Deemed a literary thriller, this story delves into the murky waters associated with the prison system, rogue cops, and religious zealots. The innocence of children and their victimization is a key theme in the story as several threads come together exposing horrendous crimes that have far reaching consequences. Elizabeth Black, is a character I will not forget anytime soon, but the supporting cast is also stellar, each bringing a crucial element to the story. I felt compassion, righteous indignation, and even fury on more than one occasion, on behalf of these characters, but I also came away with a lot of respect for them too. This crime thriller has everything fans of the genre crave, but it is layered with a rich texture of emotions that touched every nerve fiber in my body. It’s creepy, suspenseful, with plenty of shock and awe, but has a human element to it that is often absent from the standard thriller. While, it is difficult to provide too much in depth analysis due to the possibility of giving away a key plot twist, I can say I felt some uneasiness due to a few free passes, and was left scratching my head about the attitude of some secondary characters, but overall, I felt the key players came away with something they never really had before, which gave me a feeling of fresh hope even if their circumstances are flawed. So, all in all, I was quite impressed with this story and the author is certainly deserving of all the accolades. Now that I have experienced John Hart’s writing, which is amazing, by the way, I intend to go back and enjoy his backlisted titles post haste! 4.5 stars

  13. 5 out of 5

    Maureen

    *Thank you to Netgalley and St Martin's Press for my ARC in exchange for an honest and unbiased review* How on earth has John Hart escaped my attention until now? What a talent! A master storyteller, creating psychological fear of such depth that by the end of the opening chapter I felt traumatised yet hooked on his every word. Detective Elizabeth Black is smart and tough, but has an ice cold persona that hides a wealth of love for those she sees as victims. As the story begins, we see her having *Thank you to Netgalley and St Martin's Press for my ARC in exchange for an honest and unbiased review* How on earth has John Hart escaped my attention until now? What a talent! A master storyteller, creating psychological fear of such depth that by the end of the opening chapter I felt traumatised yet hooked on his every word. Detective Elizabeth Black is smart and tough, but has an ice cold persona that hides a wealth of love for those she sees as victims. As the story begins, we see her having to confront her past in the aftermath of a double shooting that causes both anger and suspicion, even among her fellow officers. Adrian Wall, an ex cop and convicted murderer is released from prison after 13 years. He suffered extreme violence during his prison term, and he has no reason to believe life will be any different on the outside. There are certain people out to get him wherever he is. He and Elizabeth are inexorably linked in their quest for justice and truth, and in Elizabeth's case almost to the point of self destruction, but it will lead them to some very dark and dangerous places. I hated to put this book down, and when I did, it called to me with a persistence that was hard to ignore. Wonderfully written with a host of powerful characters, and a storyline that took my breath at times, then gave it back again - but not for long! Stunning read!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Ɗẳɳ 2.☊

    With all the early five star love that this book has been receiving, I was pretty quick to queue this one up. I still have fond memories of The Last Child—the only other John Hart book that I’ve read—and have actually recommended it to several friends. I’ve been meaning to get back to his catalog, and now along comes this book, so often praised as “dark and gritty,” a couple of my favorite adjectives. Yes, please! But then the darndest thing happened. At the proverbial last minute, I came down w With all the early five star love that this book has been receiving, I was pretty quick to queue this one up. I still have fond memories of The Last Child—the only other John Hart book that I’ve read—and have actually recommended it to several friends. I’ve been meaning to get back to his catalog, and now along comes this book, so often praised as “dark and gritty,” a couple of my favorite adjectives. Yes, please! But then the darndest thing happened. At the proverbial last minute, I came down with a nasty strain of that Mitchell virus, which must have infected my mind because . . . nope. Not buying it. Not any of it. Not even for a second! Now, rather than waste your time with a lengthy spite filled review, or point any fingers at all of you who’ve once again lead me astray, I’ll merely list a few of the numerous problems I encountered while perusing this turkey, which ultimately prevented me from suspending my disbelief. 1. Hero rogue cop willing to stand trial—even face the death penalty—for a crime she didn’t commit, in order to protect a victim. 2. Fellow officers so quick to turn on one of their own and believe the worst.* 3. Wrongfully accused man convicted, with Matlock as his attorney.† 4. Years of torture aren’t enough to break a man.‡ 5. An old inmate with a secret stash of buried treasure.° 6. Let’s all hold hands and pray the rape away. O.o 7. A killer too obvious to be believed. 8. Said killer’s ultimate motivations. 9. No one bothers to stake out the church or put a tail on Liz. 10. No one checks a downed officer for a concealed firearm. All ring blatantly false. Even with all those issues, I was still willing to hand out a very low 3 stars, for the sheer readability alone—that’s really all this has going for it—but then that ending was just too . . . ridiculous™. Ugh. Essentially, Hart painted himself into a corner with a narrative that was too unwieldy with so many competing storylines that, in order to bring it all together, the climax came off as ham-fisted and contrived. I’m sorry, but this reads like a glorified James Patterson script. In summation: Apparently that Mitchell bug in conjunction with my general negativity, broken belief system, and fundamentally reading all things wrong flaw is a deadly combination. 2 stars: Baa, baa, black sheep. ----------------------------------------------- *This happened repeatedly under differing circumstances. † The only conceivable way Matlock could ever lose a case would be if he were pitted against Perry Mason. Then it would either end in a hung jury, or the script writer’s head would explode. ‡ Everyone sings in the end. ° Raise your hand if you heard that one before.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Arah-Lynda

    Adrian Wall, formerly a very good cop, is on the cusp of being released from prison after thirteen years served, for a crime he may or may not have committed. A heinous crime that left a young mother naked and strangled on the altar of a church. Her DNA was found under Adrian’s fingernails and a beer can with his prints was found at the scene. Once revered by the small North Carolina town that he served, Adrian has become an outcast, an ex con, an undying blemish to the community that once loved Adrian Wall, formerly a very good cop, is on the cusp of being released from prison after thirteen years served, for a crime he may or may not have committed. A heinous crime that left a young mother naked and strangled on the altar of a church. Her DNA was found under Adrian’s fingernails and a beer can with his prints was found at the scene. Once revered by the small North Carolina town that he served, Adrian has become an outcast, an ex con, an undying blemish to the community that once loved him. Meanwhile a teenage boy, Gideon Strange, sits in the dark wondering if he is man enough to do what his father could not. His father is a broken shell of a man who can not pull himself out of a bottle long enough to offer any comfort, guidance, love or support to his young son. He lives for the memory of his dead wife, the woman whose life Adrian Wall allegedly snuffed out. But Gideon now has his father’s gun and the time has come to measure just how much of a man he truly is. Elizabeth Black, daughter of a local reverend, who has had a very strict upbringing, is a good cop. Years ago Adrian Wall saved her life and she idolizes him or at least she used to but the truth is she has had no contact with him the whole time he has been in prison. She is unsure just how she will respond on his release, but these days she has bigger problems to worry about. She has been suspended from the force pending the results of an investigation into the deaths of two brothers who had held and brutally raped an eighteen year old girl. Elizabeth rescued Channing Shore from these scum buckets and the problem is not so much the deaths of these two brothers as it is her methods. The real problem here lay in the evidence of excessive force and potential torture that these two men suffered. If only Elizabeth would cooperate and tell the investigating officers what really happened in that basement, but Elizabeth is not talking and neither is Channing. And upon the altar of a long since, abandoned church, as yet undiscovered, another young woman lay stripped and strangled beneath the pure white linen so carefully laid by her killer. Wow, I have previously read two other John Hart novels and while I can say I enjoyed them because I really did, Redemption Road is in a league of its own. It is a tautly told thriller with unforgettable, sympathetic characters that you will find yourself caring about and rooting for long before you even know who they truly are. With lies, deceit, long held loyalties questioned and dark family secrets at play, it becomes difficult to know who you can trust or believe. Meanwhile, in the dark of night there is still a depraved, psychotic, serial killer out there and he has a plan. John Hart has hit a homerun here folks. Be sure and pick this one up. Five fully engaged stars.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Kelly (and the Book Boar)

    Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/ First things first: Dear co-worker who sits across from me - I apologize for what you had to experience upon me finishing this yesterday . . . The office is really not the place for that type of outburst. And to all of my friends who have already read and loved this book – I wish I could join your ranks. Here’s the deal. Redemption Road got put on my TBR simply for the author name. Although I have not yet read Hart’s first novel, I ha Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/ First things first: Dear co-worker who sits across from me - I apologize for what you had to experience upon me finishing this yesterday . . . The office is really not the place for that type of outburst. And to all of my friends who have already read and loved this book – I wish I could join your ranks. Here’s the deal. Redemption Road got put on my TBR simply for the author name. Although I have not yet read Hart’s first novel, I have owned it for some time and it has prime seating on the “I will save this in case I ever become housebound” shelving system. When I noticed friends enjoying this (4.80 collective rating – holy crap!) I immediately grabbed it from the library without even bothering to read a synopsis. All I knew was errrrrrrryone loved it and that words like “dark” kept getting tossed around. I love dark. It gives me a reaction that is a complete 180 of this chick . . . (Ha! Told you I’d work that in somewhere this week, Shelby!) My reaction after wrapping up the aforementioned bitchfit???? Basically, this is the synopsis of Redemption Road . . . “A story about dead brothers, bored housewives, and a town full of dirty little secrets.” The problems I had were several. First, John Hart pales in comparison to Dennis Lehane and Redemption Road was trying really hard to be a Lehane story. Second, having not read a synopsis, I didn’t realize at the end of the day this was simply a whodunit with everything but the kitchen sink added in to supposedly keep readers on their toes. I’m not going to spoil anything, but there was a gaping hole the size of the Grand Canyon that basically worked as a flashing neon sign pointing out the bad guy. I assumed since it was so obvious that meant the story would get twistier and turnier, but that was not the case. And finally, as for the “dark” storyline. Here’s a selfie of my heart . . . The plot points here barely even reached a shade of grey on my scale of dark. Per usual, I probably read this wrong. I definitely recognize I went in with my expectations set way too high. The good news is that this is ‘Murica and . . . ARC requested and promptly denied by NetGalley because they like to keep me guessing about what they will/will not give me.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Margitte

    From the blurb:Imagine: A boy with a gun waits for the man who killed his mother. A troubled detective confronts her past in the aftermath of a brutal shooting. After thirteen years in prison, a good cop walks free as deep in the forest, on the altar of an abandoned church, a body cools in pale linen… This is a town on the brink. This is Redemption Road. Brimming with tension, secrets, and betrayal, Redemption Road proves again that John Hart is a master of the literary thriller.The last time I wanted From the blurb:Imagine: A boy with a gun waits for the man who killed his mother. A troubled detective confronts her past in the aftermath of a brutal shooting. After thirteen years in prison, a good cop walks free as deep in the forest, on the altar of an abandoned church, a body cools in pale linen… This is a town on the brink. This is Redemption Road. Brimming with tension, secrets, and betrayal, Redemption Road proves again that John Hart is a master of the literary thriller.The last time I wanted to grab my heart in my hands and run for the hills was with Patricia Cornwell's series with Dr. Kay Scarpetta turning my nightmares into a Halloween funfair for real! The escapism in Redemption Road felt more like criminal minds on steroids. There was no super written all over the characters of events. No heroes. Reality with the spotlight turned on. All the issues in the book could be true, but combined in this thriller, it promised me a night of sleepless hours with my eyes bigger than the planets. I'm a little speechless after closing this book. It was really good. Not only was there an economy of words, but also precise characterization without too much extreme exaggerations in descriptions, plot, tension, probabilities, reality. I never wanted to escape this plot. Neither did I ever disliked or despise any of the characters. The atmosphere and tension never released me. I did not want to come up for air. Oh but did I get mad! Then scared, then sad! Indeed, completely invested in this drama. Yes, I'm exaggerating, because in reality this book addressed corruption, abuse of power, religious insanity, betrayal, lost children and loneliness- as the central axes of motives to kill, lie, and steal. But an element of kindness and compassion filters through by way of the 'show, don't tell'-principle. And I liked that. Very much. Behind it all are imperfect individuals who deal with these flaws in human behaviour as part of their baggage and bloodlines. Events drove them to despair and destruction of body mind and soul. However, the human spirit still hangs onto the goodness of the heart. And hope writes the final sentence over their stories. There was a cliffhanger feeling to the ending, even though it was good. I know if I read my own comments on the book a few months from now, I won't remember what it was and I cannot leave it in a spoiler. But overall, I absolutely loved this book. This first encounter with this author was a thrill! He added much more to this story than the usual elements. What a road to redemption it was! I'm still rating it five stars, despite my slight annoyance with the ending, Yes, five stars it is and now I will stop babbling. For murder mystery and psycho-thriller fans. This is for you! LOVED IT!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Paromjit

    John Hart has put together an incredibly good multilayered and complex crime story set in North Carolina. It is an intricate puzzle of a plot and inhabited with characters with such depth that they became real in my head. I could not stop myself from reading this twisted and exceedingly dark tale. Hart's writing expertise spins a mesmerising spell of tangled actions and people, and their history that explodes in this town. An experienced cop, Elizabeth, is being investigated for a shooting in whi John Hart has put together an incredibly good multilayered and complex crime story set in North Carolina. It is an intricate puzzle of a plot and inhabited with characters with such depth that they became real in my head. I could not stop myself from reading this twisted and exceedingly dark tale. Hart's writing expertise spins a mesmerising spell of tangled actions and people, and their history that explodes in this town. An experienced cop, Elizabeth, is being investigated for a shooting in which her actions are deemed as excessive. A 14 year old boy, Gideon, is looking to avenge the killing of his mother whilst his father seeks to blot out the world through drink. Adrian, an ex cop, is being released from prison. These characters connect and interweave, the past raises its head, reluctant to remain hidden. This is the first book that I have read written by John Hart. It is not going to be the last, I will be trying to get my hands on his other books as soon as possible! By the way, be prepared for violence in this gritty read. I cannot express how much I loved this book. Grateful thanks to St. Martins Press for an ARC via netgalley.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Debra

    There are good books and there are great books...and then there are books that knock your socks off. Redemption Road is one of those books. I love everything about this book. First off, this book is beautifully written. I also love how all of the subplots and main plot pints were woven into each other like a tapestry that if you keep reading you see how all the threads fit perfectly together. After 13 torture filled years in prison, Adrian Wall has been released wearing an ill fitting suit and 5o There are good books and there are great books...and then there are books that knock your socks off. Redemption Road is one of those books. I love everything about this book. First off, this book is beautifully written. I also love how all of the subplots and main plot pints were woven into each other like a tapestry that if you keep reading you see how all the threads fit perfectly together. After 13 torture filled years in prison, Adrian Wall has been released wearing an ill fitting suit and 5o dollars in his pocket. He has been in prison serving time for a crime he claims to have not committed. Aiden is scarred inside and out, free but not free. Gideon Strange is a poor neglected boy with an alcoholic father. His Mother, Julia, was the woman Adrian was convicted of Murdering. He was to seek revenge for the death of his Mother. The only constant in his life is Elizabeth Black, a police officer with a tender heart for young people. Elizabeth Black is a female police officer who has a tenuous relationship with her father. She has always believed in Adrian Wall's innocence. She met him as a teen and has felt a kinship with him every since. She has always looked out for Gideon Strange. She is a strong flawed woman with a tender heart for young people who have been wronged because she can identify with them. Beckett, a police officer and Elizabeth's partner, would do anything for his wife. He looks out for Elizabeth and tries to help her but the past has a way of creeping up and tapping one on the shoulder. The story opens as Adrian is released for prison as Elizabeth is being investigated for shooting 2 rapists. Channing, an 18 year old girl of privilege has been kidnapped and raped by two men. Elizabeth entered the home alone where she was being kept. Only the two women made it out alive. What really happened in that house in the dark. Why are Channing and Elizabeth not cooperating fully with the investigators. Then there is a matter of another dead woman being found dead on the alter of an old church where Elizabeth's father used to preach. Coincidence that this happened right after Adrian was released from prison. There are so many terribly flawed damaged people in this book. I liked how his characters were multi-dimensional. His characters can be both strong and weak, soft and hard, good and bad, right and then just so wrong. They make mistakes, they use poor judgement, they do wrong things but for the right reasons. There are some really evil characters in this book but then there are some good ones as well (Crybaby Jones). I liked how his main characters were incredibly human (Elizabeth, Bennett, Adrian). Many of his characters are looking for redemption, revenge, or just to get on with their lives. I forced myself to read this slow as I tend to devour books that I love to fast. Then I get mad when they are over. I read this slow and savored every word. There were no slow parts to this book, no parts I wanted to skim through, there was nothing that deterred from the story line. I will admit, I thought I figured out what was going on. I was WRONG! I love books that make me think and feel. This book did both. This was my first book by John Hart but it definitely will not be my last. I see myself binge reading the rest of his novels. Highly recommend. see more of my reviews at www.openbookpost.com

  20. 5 out of 5

    Liz

    Inspired - to be breathed upon by God. This is a convoluted tale... a detective is under investigation for shooting a pair of rapists 18 times and then waiting over an hour to call it in. Another policeman is getting out of jail after serving 13 years for manslaughter. And the son of the woman slain is waiting to shoot him. This book has been described a southern gothic and the description fits. It's a dark story. Remember the old quote from Death of a Salesman - "attention must be paid"? Well, th Inspired - to be breathed upon by God. This is a convoluted tale... a detective is under investigation for shooting a pair of rapists 18 times and then waiting over an hour to call it in. Another policeman is getting out of jail after serving 13 years for manslaughter. And the son of the woman slain is waiting to shoot him. This book has been described a southern gothic and the description fits. It's a dark story. Remember the old quote from Death of a Salesman - "attention must be paid"? Well, that fits this book. You need to pay close attention. The story bounces from character to character and both the old and new murders. You hear from the murderer but aren't told who he is. Hart throws up a series of red herrings to throw doubts about who it might be. By the halfway point, I was fairly sure I knew who it was and I wasn't wrong. It didn't diminish my enjoyment of the story. In the second story, about Adrian's time in and after prison, we know the who but not the why. I really enjoyed this. it's deep, suspenseful and intense. This book grabs you, throws you up against the wall and then gives you a kick for good measure. Each character, even the secondary ones, is fully formed. Everyone has their reasons, flawed as they might be. Fair warning - they don't come much darker than this. I listened to it and thought the narrator did a fabulous job.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Carolyn

    This is my first novel by John Hart and what a treat! He is a consummate story teller and writer. The plot is complex and multilayered with two complicated central characters, Adrian Wall an ex police officer who has served 13 years for a murder he says he did not commit and Elizabeth Black, a police officer on suspension for shooting and killing two kidnappers. Their stories become inextricably interwoven as further murders occur with similarities to the one Adrian was jailed for, with the poli This is my first novel by John Hart and what a treat! He is a consummate story teller and writer. The plot is complex and multilayered with two complicated central characters, Adrian Wall an ex police officer who has served 13 years for a murder he says he did not commit and Elizabeth Black, a police officer on suspension for shooting and killing two kidnappers. Their stories become inextricably interwoven as further murders occur with similarities to the one Adrian was jailed for, with the police believing it is no coincidence that these occurred after his release form prison. There is so much to love in this book. Gideon, the teenager whose mother Adrian was accused of murdering, now seeking revenge for her death. Channing, the young girl who knows what happened when Elizabeth rescued her from the two men who had been sexually abusing her for days. And then there is evil in the form of the prison warden and the guards who made Adrian's life hell in prison and are now shadowing him, but what is it they want? Elizabeth is a very deep character, one who suffered a great trauma in her youth for which she has never forgiven her father, Reverend Black. She loves and cares for Gideon and Channing and is drawn to Adrian for the kindness he showed her earlier in her life and as a young policewoman. This is a gritty tale filled with deception, corruption and brutality with a shocking revelation towards the end, but in the aftermath there is a chance for redemption and of healing.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Zoeytron

    Copy furnished by Net Galley in exchange for a review. Late night in a dangerous neighborhood, an abandoned house with blood curdling screams coming from the basement. A good cop gone dark and unpredictable after her rescue efforts. What happened down there? This is a tightly woven crime and suspense thriller that makes a lot of the other novels of this ilk seem rather washed out, paling in comparison with the rich tones and layers found in this dark tale. Intricately plotted, layer upon layer wi Copy furnished by Net Galley in exchange for a review. Late night in a dangerous neighborhood, an abandoned house with blood curdling screams coming from the basement. A good cop gone dark and unpredictable after her rescue efforts. What happened down there? This is a tightly woven crime and suspense thriller that makes a lot of the other novels of this ilk seem rather washed out, paling in comparison with the rich tones and layers found in this dark tale. Intricately plotted, layer upon layer without a misstep. Excellent.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Dem

    Why didn't I save this book for my holidays !! This is just the sort of book I love to read on a sun lounger with time on my hands and no housework or work to distract me..... My first John Hart novel and thanks to my goodread friends whose reviews pointed me in the right direction with this one. Redemption Road is a novel with an intriguing storyline, great characters and a dark and sinister element to the story. There is a lot of action going on in this book and while I listened to this one o Why didn't I save this book for my holidays !! This is just the sort of book I love to read on a sun lounger with time on my hands and no housework or work to distract me..... My first John Hart novel and thanks to my goodread friends whose reviews pointed me in the right direction with this one. Redemption Road is a novel with an intriguing storyline, great characters and a dark and sinister element to the story. There is a lot of action going on in this book and while I listened to this one on audio I had to switch half ways through to kindle version as I found it difficult to keep track of the story however this was a case of me and not the narrator. Heart's writing is flawless and the man has a talent for stroytelling, I loved the constant twists and turns in the Novel and felt there was never a lull in the action. Characters are well drawn and some are dark and gritty but each one has his/her story. I did however guess the identify of the killer very early on in the novel but it didn't take from my enjoyment of the story. A dark and gritty read, with serious themes involving, rape religion and torture and and reminded me of books like Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter and Bull Mountain.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Kelli

    Thirty three of my GR friends have already read this. I'm not sure what took me so long to get to this one, but it was something...and I mean that in a good way! Very aptly named, this one contains only those extremely broken and looking for redemption. The cast of characters is long, the secrets are many, and the story is very dark and layered. I found this extremely compelling up until the reveal, where it then went off the rails...so much going on that it became implausible and lost a little Thirty three of my GR friends have already read this. I'm not sure what took me so long to get to this one, but it was something...and I mean that in a good way! Very aptly named, this one contains only those extremely broken and looking for redemption. The cast of characters is long, the secrets are many, and the story is very dark and layered. I found this extremely compelling up until the reveal, where it then went off the rails...so much going on that it became implausible and lost a little of its shine for me. Still, 4 stars plus.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Cheri

    3.5 Stars John Hart’s Redemption Road is a somewhat graphic, dark and brutal story. It’s compelling reading, the characters are interesting, and the story is multi-layered. Despite the brutality between the pages, there is a loving touch to many of the main characters, balanced with a more realistic approach at the same time. These are not all “nice” people. Even the nice ones may have endured too much to ever see themselves the same way again, they enter spaces in the world feeling as if every s 3.5 Stars John Hart’s Redemption Road is a somewhat graphic, dark and brutal story. It’s compelling reading, the characters are interesting, and the story is multi-layered. Despite the brutality between the pages, there is a loving touch to many of the main characters, balanced with a more realistic approach at the same time. These are not all “nice” people. Even the nice ones may have endured too much to ever see themselves the same way again, they enter spaces in the world feeling as if every scar they have is on display, that those scars are held against them. No one likes to be reminded how much evil there is out in the world, but when your world is a small town like this, there is no place to go where nobody knows your name, your story. A man woke and, for two beats of his heart, didn’t know where he was or what he’d become. Those few seconds were magic, a warm flicker before reality walked across his chest, the black dog of remembrance trailing at its feet. My biggest “fault” with Redemption Road was being reasonably certain who would turn out to be the person(s) responsible for the murder(s) early on. A thriller is less thrilling when you know who it is less than 10% of the way into the story. Other than that, for me, the characters were like people we may know. People needing compassion, those for whom you might feel a touch of “there but for the grace of God, go I.” Not for all, but some. Good cops, bad cops, negligent parents, parents who live in a haze fueled by various substances, people just looking to get by and others who want it all, everything that’s theirs, that’s yours. Everything. Even knowing who had committed the murder(s) didn’t keep this from being an enjoyable read. I still didn’t know exactly how it would play out, how many would eventually fall prey to this twisted mind. There are twists and turns and twisted minds and twisted events that unfold. Some defy belief, but for the most part this story flowed, it was engaging and it was a nice break for me.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Diane Barnes

    I know I'm going to make a lot of John Hart fans unhappy with this review, but, I'm sorry, I just didn't like it. I went in with high hopes because of lot of friends with similar tastes thought it was wonderful. I was ready to be blown away, and I was, but not in a good way. To be brief: Pluses - 1. I did finish the book, because I wanted to know how it would end for the major characters. 2. I don't have to read another John Hart book. Minuses - 1. I knew who the murderer was within the first 100 pa I know I'm going to make a lot of John Hart fans unhappy with this review, but, I'm sorry, I just didn't like it. I went in with high hopes because of lot of friends with similar tastes thought it was wonderful. I was ready to be blown away, and I was, but not in a good way. To be brief: Pluses - 1. I did finish the book, because I wanted to know how it would end for the major characters. 2. I don't have to read another John Hart book. Minuses - 1. I knew who the murderer was within the first 100 pages. 2. Way too many logistical inconsistencies. A character who dials 4 cell phone numbers while blasting down a highway at 115 mph does not ring true to me. 3. No real depth of character, too many stereotypes, messed up timelines....I could go on, but I won't. In short, I felt the author sacrificed a lot by assuming his audience would rather have plot over substance. To be fair, I'm not really a fan of this genre, so maybe that really is what people who do like thrillers want; a fast moving, action-filled plot to escape into for a few hours. I just couldn't make that jump, and as a result the whole book felt contrived and unbelievable. I gave it a try, and learned a lesson, which is always a good thing. No more popular thrillers for me.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Brenda

    This book comes five years after John Hart's last book, and I've seen good-natured complaints by his fans who have waited that long for this book. Lucky me, I discovered John Hart only two months ago and read all four of his books prior to this one. But now, I'm playing the waiting game, too, for the next book. This book was awesome! I resented any interruption in my reading. I didn't want to cook or run errands or even sleep, but I did begrudgingly. I got to the final 20 pages, and wouldn't you This book comes five years after John Hart's last book, and I've seen good-natured complaints by his fans who have waited that long for this book. Lucky me, I discovered John Hart only two months ago and read all four of his books prior to this one. But now, I'm playing the waiting game, too, for the next book. This book was awesome! I resented any interruption in my reading. I didn't want to cook or run errands or even sleep, but I did begrudgingly. I got to the final 20 pages, and wouldn't you know another interruption! It was time for our Mother's Day dinner reservation! John Hart raises crime fiction to a literary level. His prose is wonderfully descriptive. The characters, good and bad, are realistically drawn. The stories are so interwoven that pulling one thread just reveals another to be pulled. The events evoke a wide array of emotions. I was fearful, sad, hopeful, worried. The book picks up the pace so gently that I wasn't aware I was tense until the end of a chapter when I relaxed. Welcome, John Hart, to my exclusive "I will read anything you write" group of authors!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Andrew Smith

    As the title suggests, this is a dark book. Everyone here has had odious deeds visited upon them or they have themselves perpetrated such actions. There is a preacher who has more of the Old Testament about him than the New, an ex-convict who may or may not have committed a gruesome, ritualistic murder and a female cop who is hiding a terrible secret. Add to that a prison warden who is straight out of a Hammer Horror film, a set of guards who execute his every instruction and children who are fo As the title suggests, this is a dark book. Everyone here has had odious deeds visited upon them or they have themselves perpetrated such actions. There is a preacher who has more of the Old Testament about him than the New, an ex-convict who may or may not have committed a gruesome, ritualistic murder and a female cop who is hiding a terrible secret. Add to that a prison warden who is straight out of a Hammer Horror film, a set of guards who execute his every instruction and children who are forced to cope with heinous crimes against themselves or their loved ones. There’s more… Sometimes it’s difficult to sort the innocent from the guilty. As more facts are laid bare my view of some of the players swung first one way then the other. The truly bad people are like characters from a James Lee Burke novel: crafty and horribly violent sociopaths. The atmosphere is dense and claustrophobic. At times it was difficult to keep going, but I had to - this story drew me in and swallowed me up. There are few writers I’ve come across who can tell a story as well as this. The aforementioned JLB is one and RJ Ellory is another. I don’t care to go into the plot – others have done that admirably well, on this site – I’d just prefer to say that If you like your fiction hot and sweaty, if you don’t mind having to burn the midnight oil as you really need to know what happens next, then give this one a try. It’s not flawless (I guess no book really is) but it’s powerful and compelling. I think few will regret spending some time with it.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Karen

    What a ride! I love John Hart's gift of making the characters so real and vivid, and makes you really care about the good ones. I had no idea how this would end. I was very taken aback by who was responsible for the deaths in this book.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Carol

    The Hook - I enjoyed John Hart’s The Last Child so when his latest, Redemption Road kept popping up on my GoodReads Feed I decided it was time to join the party. The Line - ”The law as you may have surmised is equal parts theater and reason”. The Sinker - If I were wearing a big floppy sun hat to keep my head cool from the North Carolina sun I’d have to take it off and wipe my sweaty brow after finishing Redemption Road. It is that hot, one heck of a compelling thriller. Detective Elizabeth Black The Hook - I enjoyed John Hart’s The Last Child so when his latest, Redemption Road kept popping up on my GoodReads Feed I decided it was time to join the party. The Line - ”The law as you may have surmised is equal parts theater and reason”. The Sinker - If I were wearing a big floppy sun hat to keep my head cool from the North Carolina sun I’d have to take it off and wipe my sweaty brow after finishing Redemption Road. It is that hot, one heck of a compelling thriller. Detective Elizabeth Black rescues a young teen, who was kidnapped, raped and tortured by two of life’s lowliest. She’d be a hero only she shot them eighteen times, something even the law can’t wrap their heads around. That’s the bare bones synopsis but in case you think this is not enough plot believe me there is much more. In an interview Hart tells us this is the first time he has written a female protagonist. I’m certain this decision increased my enjoyment of the read. Elizabeth is a complex, multi-layered woman with secrets that if not defining her, certainly represent her determination, tenacity and sheer stubbornness, even as they haunt her. Even though this is Elizabeth’s story, there are many other fully drawn characters to revel in. Adrian Wall, a cop accused of a brutally murdering a woman has just been released from prison after serving thirteen hard years. He once saved Elizabeth’s life when she was a teen and is probably her inspiration for becoming a cop. There are so many other great characters, including the kids. John Hart loves to have kids at risk in his stories and these two, the son of the murdered woman, Gideon and Channing, the rescued teen, give Liz two lost souls to take under her wing. My favorite character of all is “Crybaby” Faircloth Jones, Adrian’s 89 year-old lawyer. Though he was not successful in keeping Adrian out of jail, he certainly wants to make up for it now. ” He was frail but elegant, dressed in the same kind of bow tie and seersucker suit he’d worn for most of his fifty years in practice. He stood above a dark-wood cane and held perfectly still until even the judge turned his way. After that, the old lawyer had the stage, crossing the room as if he owned it, nodding at older lawyers, who grinned or nodded back or brooded over old cases and long-wounded pride. The younger lawyers nudged each other and leaned close, each one asking more or less the same question: Is that really Crybaby Jones? Elizabeth understood that, too. Faircloth Jones was the finest lawyer to come through the county; yet, he’d not been seen outside his own house in close to ten years. Even the judge accepted the impact of the old lawyer’s presence, leaning back in his chair and saying, “Okay. May as well deal with this, now. Mr. Jones.” He projected his voice at the row of seated lawyers. “Very nice to see you again.” This is violent story and not for the weak-stomached. Many of those that did not like the book felt it was ridiculous to think this small town in North Carolina could have so many despicable people living there. Being a resident of forty years in my own small town has made me realize that it’s not that there are more or less of a certain kind of individual, it’s just you know them better, you know their name. Even in our small town, we’ve had our share of violent murder. Here’s Hart’s take on the dark themes he writes in his books: “I do tend to write about bad things but it’s not because I’m fascinated with the dark side of human nature. It’s quite the reverse. I like to show people finding the way through that to the things that make us all great, the good side of humanity.” As you’d expect with a title like Redemption Road there’s a preacher and a church and God does have his role but nothing overbearing. I listened to the audio edition of Redemption Road. Scott Shepherd’s excellent narration allowed me a few extra treats and calories as I walked longer each day just to hear him tell this story. I was moving right along and loving every minute of this dark, violent tale of evil when bang, the author stepped in and pushed my buttons for plausibility. I’ve said it before and I’ll repeat it. Fiction, its fiction and I should be able to roll with the decisions an author makes. In fact, John Hart said it better than I could in that same interview I mentioned before. “Fiction is great because people can’t say that you’re wrong. They can say that I don’t like what you’ve done. I would have done it differently but they can’t say you’re flat out wrong so it gives the writer a real liberty to just enjoy the storytelling and to create the types of stories…” Even though I was disappointed I moved on because the characters were just so good I had to see them to the end. I’m so glad I did. I’m not convinced Hart did the right thing but darn, I enjoyed the ride anyway.

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