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Iron House

4.07  ·  Rating Details  ·  8,977 Ratings  ·  1,429 Reviews
An old man is dying.
When the old man is dead they will come for him.
And they will come for her, to make him hurt.

John Hart delivers his fourth novel -- a gut-wrenching, heart-stopping thriller no reader will soon forget.

He would go to Hell
At the Iron Mountain Home for Boys, there was nothing but time. Time to burn and time to kill, time for two young orphans to le

Hardcover, 421 pages
Published July 12th 2011 by Thomas Dunne Books
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14th out of 255 books — 1,115 voters
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Linda O'Donnell F.
Mar 30, 2016 Linda O'Donnell F. rated it really liked it
No one presents flawed characters like John Hart does. No one.

Two brothers, as different as day and night, are living in the Iron Mountain Home for Boys in a woodsy area of North Carolina. One bears the strength of the Sun and the other reflects the low-cast, eerie light of the Moon. There is more "existing" here than actual living. A horrible incident occurs and one of them is on the run.

Fast forward twenty years: Michael finds himself in New York and under the wing of a crime boss. His determi
Florence (Lefty) MacIntosh
Oct 09, 2013 Florence (Lefty) MacIntosh rated it liked it
Recommended to Florence (Lefty) by: Group Read
A solid thriller that accomplishes what it sets out to do – keeps you flipping those pages. Stone cold killer Michael and his brother Julian are both emotional wrecks after a horrific childhood in the orphanage from hell. An upbringing that’s made Michael strong and Julian weak, you know the needy over-emotional artsy type.
A big shot in the mafia Michael’s looking for a lifestyle change, to settle down with his girlfriend Elena and raise a family. But nobody quits the mob, so between killing of
Daniel Audet
Sep 13, 2011 Daniel Audet rated it it was amazing
My first book by John Hart, "Iron House" makes me feel like I wish I had read his other books too. And I will.
Iron House is the most amazing blend of literary eloquence in writing and graphic narration/description I've ever read. The reviews say "riveting" and other terms reserved for the bestsellers of our day, and believe me, they're all true.
I honestly didn't know what to expect as I picked up this novel but the reviews spoke well of it and I liked the title. I'm glad I did.
Third person POV
Doug Bradshaw
Sep 13, 2013 Doug Bradshaw rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 08, 2011 Michael rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery, read-in-2011
They say you should never judge a book by its cover. Or in the case of John Hart's Iron House, it might be more appropriate to say you should never judge a book by its cover blurb and marketing campaign.

Hailed as one of the best books of the summer, it'd be easy to assume that the story would follow the usual tropes of the action/mystery/thriller genre. A hitman for the mob meets a beautiful woman, falls in love and wants to get out of the game. He's granted permission by the dying patriarch of
Oct 21, 2014 Jim rated it liked it
Read for "Books, Movies, TV and Life" group as the September, 2013 Southern Mystery read.

This was a fun, twisty tale with a lot of interesting people & nonstop action. The story unfolds in bits & pieces, plenty of clues, but never quite enough to make it obvious. And everyone lies, even to themselves. There was a lot of graphic violence that was well done, too. Unfortunately, everything was a little too overdone.

The hero was interesting, but a little too close to perfect. He was handsome
Frederick Masterman
Oct 22, 2011 Frederick Masterman rated it it was ok
Although I am impressed by John Hart’s talents as an author, I was disappointed in his work in Iron House. He is capable of much better writing, as evidenced in his former excellent novels.
This story is somewhat complicated, but the saga of a “bad man-gone-good-because-of-true love” is familiar, and in Hart’s hands the old story gets an entertaining treatment. My reservations lie in the credibility of many aspects of the story. Michael, the hit man and beloved “adopted” son of a feared mobster,
Jun 15, 2011 Valerie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Time heals all wounds - or does it? For Michael and Julian, time is an enemy, that rips the past into the present, and places the future in uncertain jeopardy...

Michael and Julian begin as orphans at Iron House - a decrepit boys home in the North Carolina mountains. Facing down bullies and inept caretakers, Iron House is more of a prison than a home to the young boys. When Michael apparently kills one of the bullies who torments his younger, weaker brother Julian, he runs to protect Julian and d
Mar 31, 2016 Brenda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
John Hart's fourth book maintains the complexity I expected based on reading the previous three. Two brothers, Michael and Julian, as different as night and day, live in the Iron House Home for Boys. After a horrendous event occurs, one runs away and the other is adopted. Fast forward 23 years. There are many threads and factions at play, and Hart eventually unravels and reveals the history and the truth.

Character development is one of Hart's strengths. Not all of his characters are likable, but
Sep 14, 2013 Kelly rated it really liked it
What a ride! My heart was in my throat the entire time and I just wanted to race to the end so I could find out what was really going on. I was wildly speculating different scenarios as I read...funny to think back on those after finishing it. Strong characters - I loved some and loathed some. I've said it before and I'll say it again, characters that evoke strong emotions in me usually bode well for me really liking a book.

This would have been a 5 star book for me but for a couple brutal scenes
Oct 31, 2014 Christine rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I listened to the audio edition of this book and it's sad when you keep wanting a book to be over. I could not even finish it. I know Hart can do better than this. Too much forced drama and not enough depth.
Aug 06, 2011 Miles rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviews
Two babies left to die in an icy creak. Two boys who must fight to survive. Two men, two very different lives. One unbreakable bond.

When a twelve-year-old boy murders his tormentor in their brutal orphanage, his older brother takes the blame and runs to New York - into the heart of organized crime. Two decades later, Michael returns to North Carolina with a sentence on his head, the mob in hot pursuit and his long-lost brother in trouble of a different kind. With vast sums in play, political fo
Jul 02, 2011 Lee rated it really liked it
John Hart's fourth novel doesn't start in first gear.( This is not out yet (07/12),I won an ARC on "First Reads" ) This one starts with the peddle to the floor, and the tension stays all the way through. In this tale of two brothers, Michael the tougher, protective older one, and Julian, weaker and tormented by other boys at the orphanage. When the life Michael had, blows up in his face, and has to get out of town fast,with the mob in hot pursuit, with the woman he loves. Not seeing his brother ...more
Mar 26, 2013 Richard rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller, crime

This was very, very good. Not quite what I was expecting from the blurb on the back as I thought it would be more like “Gangster” by Lorenzo Carcaterra (one of my favourite books) but it was more character driven and focused in the present and not really centred on organised crime.

I don’t like writing reviews for books I have really enjoyed as I don’t feel I do them justice so I will keep it brief:

If you enjoy books which are good, read this.

If you like this, try: “The Last Child” – John
Vannessa Anderson

Iron House is a great work of horror!

Iron House is a sheer work of genus! John Hart gave me what I like in horror thrillers. He gave me the walking through dark corridors with sounds that set my nerves on edge. He made me give thought about wanting to see what’s around the corner and he did this all without gore and slice and dice. Rarely will readers find an author who knows how to stimulate readers imaginations to stretch beyond their comfort zones.

During the winter in the North Carolina moun

JoAnne Pulcino
John Hart
Wow! What a fantastic read! Be prepared for a great ride!
This impressively masterful thriller is riveting with all the components of steady building tension and a plot rich with a complex family history.
Having already been a fan of Mr. Hart’s previous books, I was looking forward to a good read. Needless to say, I was immediately captivated and lost sleep, so he exceeded my expectations.
Two orphaned brothers who were raised and abused in the IRON HOUSE, an orphanage in the mou
Nov 15, 2014 Donna rated it really liked it
Shelves: crime-mystery
Wow. I've read a book and I have nothing bad to say about it. I really liked this one. It gripped me from the beginning and pulled me right in. It kept me firmly rooted, waiting to see what was going to happen next. Great suspense.

The characters were so flawed, but so like-able. They were well defined, but yet unpredictable. There were some creative twists and turns in this that kept the pace moving and they provided avenues of gaining new information little by little, both of the plot and the
Jul 13, 2011 Kim rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
This was a terrific book! I read it in just a couple of days. John Hart does a great job keeping the reader guessing until the end. I have to say that my favorite "characters" in the book were the Land Rovers. I plan to check out his other books just to see if they feature Land Rovers as prominently too.

Loved this book!
Sep 26, 2013 Shelli rated it liked it
Shelves: buddy-read, audio
I enjoyed this as a fast-paced mystery thriller. I listened to the audio which might not have been the best format as the narrator tended to make some of the characters come off as too cliche and overly dramatic. I liked it best when I just "stayed in story" and went with it. If I thought about it too seriously, I would end up picking it apart for the absurdity of certain situations and dialogue. It did have some characters who were interesting and I was pulling for them. I had a hard time with ...more
Jun 19, 2011 Caitlin rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2011
Who doesn't love a story about orphanages or reform schools - those places where children are hidden away from sight, where Lord of the Flies-style children's societies form, where adults are often the worst enemy? They're like stories about asylums, full of that sense of Gothic danger.

Iron House manages to successfully combine Gothic elements within an action-type thriller. The story is well-paced, full of twists and turns, and hits all the high notes for its genre. Almost too good to be true (
There's something about John Hart novels. They suck me in, string me along for 300 pages or so, then ultimately leave me vaguely unsatisfied. Iron House is no different, although this time it took a bit longer for the disappointment to set in.

Here's the premise. On a cold November morning, hunters find a pair of baby boys left in creek, nearly dead. One is about ten months old, the other is a premature newborn. They are taken to Iron Mountain Home For Boys, a decrepit orphanage straight out of C
Jun 09, 2016 Carolyn rated it really liked it
John Hart is known for beautiful, literary writing; his mystery books set in the American south. He has won two Edgar awards and this one is every bit as good; a riveting read. 4.5 stars.
Hart manages to get into the minds and hearts of his characters.The lead character, Michael, is a mob hit-man in New York. He does not hesitate to kill on behalf of the crime family, and will also kill to protect those he loves.It should be difficult to like and empathize with such a person, but we do.
The stor
Have you ever considered how hard it is to get out of an impossible situation?

Michael and his brother, Julian, were raised in a home for boys. Iron House provided a shelter and discipline. Julian was constantly abused and bullied by 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 li
Andrew Smith
Aug 22, 2011 Andrew Smith rated it it was ok
A big disappointment. I’ve become a fan of Hart’s writing but this book is all plot (and a pretty good plot, to be fair) but with no characterisation in it at all. At no stage did I find myself caring what happened to any of the ill-defined characters and therefore the only thing left was to plough through this story-by-numbers exercise without having any real interest in how it played out. My advice is to give this one a miss.
May 21, 2013 Cindy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book! Iron House is right up there with The Last Child, another one of Hart's books. From the very first page I was hooked! The story flips back and forth from the past to the present where Hart does a terrific job in slowly revealing family secrets. The story begins with two young orphan boys, Michael and Jordan, one strong and one weak, who live in an orphanage and struggle to survive the terror within. Eventually one is adopted into an influential family and the other runs away t ...more
Mar 06, 2016 Toni FGMAMTC rated it it was amazing
I absolutely loved every part of this book. Someone recommended it to me, and I wish I could remember who so that I could thank them. It's about the love of family. It's about organized crime. It's about psychological disorders. It has heart, survival, murder, mystery, brutality, beauty...I could go on and on. Iron House is full of so many consuming parts. I really, really, really LOVED it. This was my first read from this author. I can't wait to check out more.
Mar 29, 2011 Dan rated it it was amazing
Michael and Julian are brothers who suffered the pain and cruelty of an inept orphanage. Michael runs away from the orphanage after killing one of his brother’s tormentors and they become estranged for over twenty years. Julian is adopted and is soon living with the wealthy family of a senator. Michael while living on the streets is picked up by a mob boss and is trained to be a ruthless killer.

When the mob boss dies, so will Michael’s connection to him and his family wants Michael dead. And the
Megan Hodges
Jul 13, 2013 Megan Hodges rated it it was amazing
An excerpt from the novel (pg 357 in my edition)
"There was black poetry to her unpleasantness, a rhythm of lies and pride and cunning ....She pushed when she could, drew back when she felt threatened and then pushed again. She wanted everything she could get, dollars and knowledge and insight, tjhe key to Michael's soul if she could find a way to trick it out of him. She'd say horrible things, then preen like an insane teenager and look at him sideways. Michael couldn't tell how much was act and
Nov 28, 2011 Tammy rated it really liked it
Shelves: thriller
I really enjoyed the characterization in this book, which did not come at the expense of the fast-paced action.

My only gripe, which was a big one for me -- Schizophrenia is not multiple personality disorder and MPD is not schizophrenia. For fuck's sake!!! Was the author sloppy, lazy, or pandering to the ignorant masses?

I'm tempted to take away one gold star. But then I'm reminded of the hauntingly beautiful intro, the words tripping and sliding across the page:

"...a boy ran and fell and ran agai
Jun 22, 2011 Joni rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads
Wow! I'm impressed! I have not read any of John Hart's previous novels (he has written four--The King of Lies, Down River, The Last Child and Iron House), I was lucky enough to receive the Advance Readers' Edition of this novel through goodreads giveaways, and once I started the book, I had to finish. He brought his characters alive in a manner that gives their lives believeability and intrigue. I do not want to spoil this story for you, so I am staying delibertly vague--the weaving of the effec ...more
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JOHN HART is the author of REDEMPTION ROAD (Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin’s Press; May 3, 2016) and of four New York Times bestsellers, The King of Lies, Down River, The Last Child and Iron House. The only author in history to win the best novel Edgar Award for consecutive novels, Hart has also won the Barry Award, the Southern Independent Bookseller’s Award for Fiction, the Ian Fleming Steel Dagg ...more
More about John Hart...

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“We can live with doubts," Jessop said "It's the knowing that breaks us.” 3 likes
“I'm a killer, not a thief.” 1 likes
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