Book 34 of 2011 – Iron House – John Hart

From the first John Hart book I read Down River I was a fan and so are lots of others.  Hart is the only author in history to win the best novel Edgar Award for consecutive novels. (Down River and The Last Child) He has also won the Barry Award and England’s Steel Dagger Award for best thriller of the year. So I was excited when I found his new book Iron House in the library last week and Book 34 for 2011 Iron House did not disappoint! Here’s a quote from Bill Ott’s Booklist Review:



It isn’t as if Hart’s career needed jump-starting. His first three stand-alone thrillers have been greeted by an ever-growing crescendo of praise, including two Edgar Awards. Definitely not the kind of writer who needs a breakthrough book. And, yet, Iron House lifts Hart to an altogether new level of excellence

Julian and Michael are brothers growing up in an orphanage Iron House. Michael is the strong one, Julian the weak. Julian is constantly abused by a gang of thugs. When Julian strikes back Michael comes to his rescue and then runs from the orphanage on the night a rich woman Abigail Vane comes to adopt them. Michael’s run takes him to the streets of New York where he becomes a fixer for a mob boss and Julian becomes a successful children’s author living with his adopted parents Senator Randall Vane and wife Abigail. When Michael wants to leave “the life” to start a new life with his love Elena, problems arise and soon Michael is on a run for his life. A run that leads him back to his brother and Iron House. Soon Michael is embroiled in another mystery at the Vane Mansion where bodies of the gang of thugs are being found! The answer to all his questions that will save his and Julian’s lives lies you guessed it at Iron House!

The writing is impeccable, the characters are all flawed and well drawn. From Michael, Julian, Abigail and her bodyguard Jessup and the Senator. Even the secondary characters are fantastic from the mobsters to the residents of the North Carolina hills. The pages fly by and the tension builds until the last pages and all you can say is Wow!  If it’s not my favorite of the year it’s damn close so in the words of Patricia Cornwell:

If you crave thrillers that are vividly beautiful, graphic and will make you bleed, try John Hart.