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Iron House Hardcover – July 12, 2011
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"John Hart delivers another outstanding thriller... Secrets, lies and an abandoned former orphanage beckon the reader into a web of violence and emotion. Hart creates such vivid imagery, the reader sees the story slowly unfolding in full color. Iron House immerses the reader in a world that's haunting in its tone and power." --Associated Press
"Hart 2.0: bullet-fast and super gory, everything amplified and intensified... Hart, again working in multiple voices and from a variety of perspectives, is somehow able to pull together all of the moving parts and to do the near impossible: to transform a bloody tale of murder and mayhem into something of a meditation - or, better yet, a fugue - on familial love. In so doing, he has taken a giant step forward as a writer, demonstrating yet again the impoverished imaginations of those who dismiss popular fiction and automatically relegate "genre writers" to the bargain basement of the house of literature." --Charlotte Observer
"Two orphaned boys' lives take vastly different routes in this forceful tale about family bonds and the legacy of violence set in Manhattan and North Carolina. This is Hart's fourth novel, having already earned three Edgar Award nominations, resulting in two back-to-back wins." --South Florida Sun-Sentinel
"The book combines suspense, a love story and plenty of twists and surprises. The characters are vivid, and readers can feel the tension build. Hart continues to write literate thrillers." --The Oklahoman
"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…. The present-time plot—disaffected Mob hit man on the run, trying to carve a new life without endangering those he loves—makes a superb thriller on its own (steadily building tension, magnificently choreographed fight scenes, including a High Noon–like finale), but it’s what Hart does with the backstory that gives the novel its beyond-genre depth. Like the great Peter Hoeg in Borderliners (1994), Hart uses the familiar story of mistreatment in an orphanage as a way into the inner lives of his characters, and the blind fear, abject confusion, and yearning for love he finds there are both heartbreaking and curiously hopeful, in an almost postapocalyptic way. An unforgettable novel from a master of popular fiction.” –Booklist, starred review
"This rich, impressive contemporary thriller from two-time Edgar-winner Hart (The Last Child) focuses on two brothers, Michael and Julian, both raised and abused at the Iron House of the title, an orphanage in the mountains of North Carolina.... Hart deftly interweaves a complex family history story with Stevan's intense, bloody quest for vengeance.... [The book's] powerful themes and its beautiful prose will delight Hart's fans--and should earn him many new ones." --Publishers Weekly, starred review
“Mr. Hart has really stepped things up a notch with Iron House...one of the most interesting and masterful pieces of suspenseful fiction that I have read.”—My Reading Room
“This is one of the best books I have read this summer! It has a little something for every reader.... Romance, politics, mystery, an unpredictable plot line , suspense and lots of murder (warning: some scenes are very graphic)… In addition to the exciting plot, this is a story about the importance of family, the scars that remain from an unstable childhood and the struggle to overcome the past.” —The Book Blurb
“Iron House is…gut wrenching, and keep[s] you on the edge of your seat while your heart is beating in your throat.”—MPL’s Book Nook
“It is rare that I give a book a five out of five rating. I feel this one deserves it. Iron House is a hard charging thriller with lots of action and suspense. But it is also an intense psychological thriller, with deep characters that are both flawed and exceptional.” —Reading with Mo
“Hart builds a larger-than-life tale of love postponed, the loyalty of brothers, the sacrifice of blood, and the madness of those inured to violence as a solution.” –CurledUp.com
“Iron House is…as much about its rich cast of layered, authentic, and damaged characters as its captivating storyline. The author ramps up the helter-skelter thriller aspects without losing any of the layers and depth he’s already become famous for.”
“Put simply, Iron House is another terrific novel from Hart – the kind of crime thriller that many who don’t usually read crime or mystery would heartily enjoy. It’s as much about its rich cast of layered, authentic, and damaged characters as its captivating storyline. Hart exhibits some style as he vividly evokes not only the ‘Southern’ setting – in all its tarnished glory – but also aspects of the broader human condition. He shows that there can be plenty of thrills without having to resort to ‘world-changing’ plotlines, by simply focusing on matters that are life-and-death, spiritually or physically, for characters in their own small world.” —Crime Watch
“Excellent storytelling skills, suspense, and flashbacks make this well worth reading. Hart has brought to life the trials of childhood, of psychological damage, and the power of love and family to overcome it all.”—Reviewing the Evidence
“Iron House, a book that many critics and Hart fans are calling his best ever…is filled with…chaotic twists and turns, and scenes that will long stick in the minds of imaginative readers.”—Book Chase
Overwhelming Praise for the National Bestselling Work of John Hart:
About the Author
Read an exclusive essay about the inspiration behind Iron House from John Hart. [PDF]
More About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
Michael and his brother, Julian, were raised in a home for boys. Iron House provided shelter and discipline. Julian was constantly abused and bullied by the other boys. Michael wanted to protect his brother and was forced to fight for both of them. As a result, he became a ferocious combatant. When Julian finally struck back at his main tormentor, Michael took the blame.
Julian was adopted and Michael left the home and lived on the streets, constantly having to defend himself. At age fifteen, he was attacked by a group of boys in Spanish Harlem. He fought courageously and Otto Kaitlin, a crime boss, witnessed the fight and rescued Michael. Otto saw a similarity to himself as a youngster. Michael became his protege and later, his main enforcer. Otto's own son, Steven, continued his education but didn't have Michael's fighting spirit.
Years later, Michael meets Elena and falls in love. The author describes the setting vividly and when she becomes pregnant, Michael realizes that he wants to leave the life of crime to have a normal existence. He has loved three people, his brother Julian, Otto, and now Elena. His love of these people becomes the motivating force in his life.
Michael's final scene with Otto shows his compassion in a way that is beautifully written and memorable.
John Hart is one of the finest mystery writers that we have and is a mulitple Edgar Award winner. He portrays the enviable ability to describe his central characters with a view of life which make them interesting and sympathetic. Michael leads the way and shows admirable qualities of the love he has for his family.Read more ›
Each John Hart story is unique in its subject but very much the same in the good prose and depth. This is the fourth I have read and I think the most raw one. I suggest you pick up any one of his books. May I say, start with "Down River" or "The Last Child" and then graduate to "Iron House". You should be impressed . No, take that back, you WILL be impressed.
Well, the book does deliver. "Iron House" is consistently interesting, smoothly written, and has a variety of, for the most part, well-drawn characters . I did think the book would center more on the relationship between the two brothers, Julian and Michael, so I was a bit disappointed that Julian himself is missing for much of the book.
There were elements of this book I really enjoyed, and it always held my interest. However, and I know my opinion is in the minority here, I can only give it three stars. One of the main reasons is for the scenes where the torture inflicted on characters is graphically detailed. Yes, I expected darkness in this book, but how the author chooses to depict it makes a big difference to the reader. For me, it went too far. In the end, it all seemed excessive; too many deaths and too much craziness. I also got tired of reading about the obscene amount of money some of the characters had at their disposal. I would like to have had some hint that Michael was at least going to try to do some good with the money, especially since it was basically ill-gotten gains. I also thought the last two chapters should have been left out of the book.Read more ›
On his hands and under his nails.
Frozen to the blade of a knife no child should own.
For one instant the clouds tore, then darkness came complete and an iron trunk bloodied the boy's nose as he struck a tree and fell again. He pulled himself up and ran through snow that piled to his knees, his waist. Branches caught his hair, tore skin. Light speared out far behind, and the sound of pursuit welled like breath in the forest's throat."
Well, I found that the most interesting part of the book. A ten-year-old boy runs into a snowstorm in the remote North Carolina mountains , with nothing but the clothes on his back, and survives.
Michael has a successful "whack em and stack em " career working for his N.Y. mobster foster father but when he finds true, pure love he wants to take his 80 million dollars and leave the "family". As we all know ,that isn't done. They have to get rid of his pregnant girlfriend and the brother he hasn't seen since he ran away from the orphanage 23 years before. So the chase begins. Bodies pile up along the way. There is the usual extracting-of-body-parts torture, $1,000 tips right and left and revealing of childhood family secrets.
Spoiler: All ends well. Big whoop there.
I had a little trouble getting past the flowery prose: "Red fingers of dawn clawed red from the sky"...."She wanted to run and scream and carve giant chunks from her heart."...Whuh?
Maybe I read too much mystery/thriller stuff. I just didn't find anything new or interesting in the story. Alright crucify me, other reviewers. I deserve it.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A very suspenseful book that I enjoyed but did not like the ending! Hopefully there will be a sequel to Iron House!Published 1 day ago by AFGH
Very good I listen to it driving pulled in the driveway and sat to finish the book, very well written it leaves you hanging to the end AwesimePublished 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
Iron House, (2012), by North Carolina author and former criminal defense attorney John Hart. This thriller follows on the heels of the New York Times bestselling crime novels THE... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Stephanie De Pue
Probably the best book Ive read in years! I only wish it could become a series... Perfect character development and a story that pulls you in. Read morePublished 4 months ago by James Strandberg
John Hart is a new name to me. This is his fourth thriller, and the critics have heaped praise on him. Well-deserved praise. Read morePublished 5 months ago by David Gee
Loved this book! So many twists and turns it was a great read!Published 5 months ago by Emma Carol Lewis