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The King of Lies

3.83  ·  Rating Details  ·  6,831 Ratings  ·  876 Reviews
Jackson Workman Pickens--known to most as "Work"--mindlessly holds together his disintegrating life: a failing law practice left to him when his father, Ezra, mysteriously disappeared, a distant wife who shares their loveless marriage, and an estranged sister who bore the brunt of their childhood trauma.

And then Ezra's body is discovered.

Set to inherit his father's fortune
Paperback, 400 pages
Published April 3rd 2007 by Minotaur Books (first published January 1st 2006)
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Linda O'Donnell F.
Apr 29, 2016 Linda O'Donnell F. rated it really liked it
Telling lies. Big ones. Little ones to cover up the big ones. It's like stepping into something that clings to the bottom of your shoes. And it leaves a trail of complications wherever we go.

Jackson Workman Pickens, also known as "Work", has deep, deep family issues. The body of his overbearing successful lawyer father has been found. And we already know who is prime and center as the go to suspect. Work has always lived in the shadow of his mammoth father, Ezra. After the death of his mother, W
What an absolutely thoroughly satisfying read. I’m currently in the excited phase when one discovers a new author. Combined with access to many libraries, I am in reader heaven. Good place to be, yes?!

Jackson ‘Work’ retraces his younger years, beginning at age 12 when he stumbles across a terrible situation he never should have at this tender age. This is the beginning of his life, in a way, and at current day standing it appears with increased clarity what an impact this incident has had on his
Jul 02, 2015 Mara rated it it was ok
The King of Lies just didn't do it for me. Normally I would just toss this in my ever-growing pile of unreviewed ‘meh’ books, but, since a couple people were curious what I thought/would think along the way, I'll offer my lame two cents. (Note: For actual review-reviews with summaries and stuff, I recommend you check out the superior commentary given by James Thane and/or Brandon).

I knew nothing about John Hart going into this, the audiobook was on sale for $4.95 as part of some audible ed
Mar 21, 2016 Brenda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is John Hart's debut novel, and my first time reading his work. I am impressed. I sympathized with the main character, nicknamed Work. He grew up with an awful father and a weak mother, and everything that happened to him during his childhood has culminated in this story. The night his mother died, his father disappeared. Eighteen months later, his father's body is discovered.

I loved the characterization and the mystery. Detective Mills was not very likable at first, but she was doing her j
May 11, 2014 Brandon rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, y-u-do-dis, 2014
Ezra Pickens was an old, cold-hearted, womanizing son of a bitch and when his body is discovered with two entry wounds in the side of his skull, there’s no shortage of suspects. The problem for his son, respected lawyer Jackson “Work” Workman Pickens? The detective assigned to the case likes him for the murder and a hefty inheritance in his father’s will gives him one hell of a motive. The problem for the detective? Work didn't do it; he was wrapped in the arms of a woman he was seeing behind hi ...more
KING OF LIES (Suspense-Jackson Workman Pickens-North Carolina-Cont) –NR
Hart, John – 1st book
Thomas Dunne Books, 2006, US Hardcover – ISBN: 031234161X
First Sentence: I’ve heard it said that jail stinks of despair.
*** Jackson Workman “Work” Pickens is a defense attorney, married to a beautiful woman, living in a big house. His father, Ezra, had built a powerful legal practice and a financial fortune and disappeared. Now Ezra’s body has turned up showing he dies of two gunshots on the day he disapp
James Thane
Apr 15, 2011 James Thane rated it liked it
Shelves: suspense
The King of Lies is the first book from John Hart, published three years before The Last Child, the book for which he won the Edgar Award for Best Novel. Jackson Workman Pickens ("Work") is a North Carolina lawyer who's labored his entire life in the shadow of his domineering father, Ezra, also a lawyer. Work is also trapped in a marriage to a cold, scheming, social climbing witch. Work hates being a lawyer and can't stand his wife, but he's been living the lie that is his life for so long that ...more
Mar 20, 2008 Brayden rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: nobody
This book should have been better. It's Pat Conroy doing noir with a little bit of Grisham mixed in. Part family drama, part murder mystery. The problem? The book just sucked. The first 100 pages show promise, but that promise quickly dissolves as the protagonist turns into a self-loathing, jerky moron and the plot becomes a disaster. We're supposed to feel sorry for the character (in the noir fashion, he's supposed to be a good man caught in a web of deceit), but I found myself rooting against ...more
Edward Gold
May 07, 2008 Edward Gold rated it really liked it
Recommended to Edward by: John Hart
I met John Hart a few months ago. He is friendly, intelligent, down-to-earth guy with a good personality. He convinced me to get this book, the first of his 2 currently published ones. He didn't force sell - he just talked about it.

It is a 1st-Person POV murder mystery.

At first, it took me a little while to get into his writing style because it was so different from what I normally read (SF&F). However, once I adapted, I flew through the book. I also thought it was neat that his main charact
Apr 22, 2016 Joe rated it it was amazing
Shelves: legal-thriller
Don't you just love when you get all excited picking up a book, take it home, sit down to read and in no time you realize, you HAVE ALREADY read this story! HA HA ! I think the notice that there is a NEW John Hart novel coming out, "REDEMPTION ROAD", I went to check the shelve and saw this title, THE KING OF LIES and forgot I had read it. None the less, I read it again, fast, skimmed some since I knew what happened but still amazed at the story line and the beautiful writing. If you haven't read ...more
Jul 06, 2011 Debby rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 5-star-books
I read John Hart's second novel, Down River, first and was thrilled to find a new author with a phenomenal gift for storytelling, character development and an understanding of human relationships. John Hart writing

Now that I've read his debut novel, The King of Lies, I'm even more convinced of my initial impression. This book is great in all those apects; great mystery, great characters that span the height and depth of human relationships. I guessed on the "whodunit" about 3/4 the way through t
Jun 04, 2008 Nancy rated it it was ok
Recommended to Nancy by: Judy
After about 80 pages I hadn't found a single like-able character. I checked for friend's Goodreads reviews and discovered that LJ had a very low opinion of this book. Knowing it wasn't just about to become really fascinating, I skipped to the end to see who-done-it. The last 50 pages seemed better than the first 80 so I gave it 2 stars. Over 200 pages went unread so take this review with a grain of salt. There could be good parts I missed.
Nov 30, 2011 Elizabeth rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: people who enjoy suspense
I picked this up on a lark and could not put it down! This novel is written in first person. The protagonist has spent his entire life living up to the expectations of a cruel and heartless father. In his quest to please him, he has become cruel and heartless himself. However, when his father is murdered, Work (yes, that's his name) begins to reexamine his lifestyle, his goals, his relationships with others. As he conducts an investigation into the death of his father, he evolves into a happier, ...more
Juliana Rose
Jun 16, 2016 Juliana Rose rated it really liked it
This book is proof that a mystery can be literature.

Hart's writing reminded me so much of Conroy in The Prince of Tides, which I loved. It's beautiful writing with an interesting storyline.

My one issue was that I often wanted to slap Work upside the head to knock some sense into him. It didn't interfere with my love for the book though.
Nov 14, 2009 Caitlin rated it liked it
Shelves: 2009
I'm fond of Scott Turow, so when the back of this book compared the author to him, I figured it would be worth a shot (and it was). This is a combination legal thriller and portrait of a man at the end of his rope.

Our hero, Work, has always been his father's son - following his father into the practice of law, marrying the woman his father chose for him, living the life he was supposed to live. His father's disappearance and the subsequent discovery of his body (with two bullets in the head) has
This was a new to me author and narrator and I really enjoyed them both.
This is a mystery, yes, but it is also the story of family; a very dysfunctional family. I couldn’t stand Work’s wife, and even though a person should feel bad for the dead guy once we got to know him I didn’t like him either. I liked Work, yes there were times I wanted to yell at him and thought some of his choices were off but I really liked him especially what he said to his father’s lawyer ** no spoilers** but his respon
Apr 12, 2011 Bill rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery-suspense
You know what's refreshing about John Hart? He's got three novels out now and there are no recurring characters. The standalone crime novel. What a concept.

I was really in the mood for a good legal thriller. I had read a very positive review a while back for his Down River, I think it was, and it had mentioned The King of Lies has his impressive debut.
So, naturally, I like to hit a guy's debut effort first.

The King of Lies is not without flaws. There were a few passages where I found some of the
May 20, 2010 Michael rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery, read-in-2010
Jackson Pickens--better known was "Work"--is a lawyer in a North Carolina, who seems to have the perfect life--good job, bright future, beautiful and devoted wife. But if you scratch just below the surface things aren't quite as ideal as they appear.

A little over a year ago, his mother died suddenly and his father disappeared. Work and his sister Jean know what happened that evening but neither one is willing to come forward and tell the full truth--until his father's body shows up at a local ab
May 05, 2012 Skip rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller
In this, John Hart's first book, the protagonist's father is found murdered and Work Pickens believes his troubled sister may have done the deed. Meanwhile, Pickens is juggling a collapsing law business, an unhappy marriage, and deep feelings for another woman. Almost as many twists as a Harlan Coben book, with the killer not revealed until the end. His newer books are better: Hart spent too much time setting up the suspense here.
Jun 03, 2008 Jeffrey rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: mystery lovers, legal fiction lovers
Shelves: mystery, read-in-2008
Excellent mystery about a lawyer who is accused of murdering his father. The lawyer has an alibi, it appears but he thinks he is protecting his sister who has other demons and there are a lot of bit characters on the stage as well. There is a lot of intrigue as well. The novel hooks you in but if there is one flaw it rambles a little, but I liked it a lot.
Ruth Turner
Aug 24, 2014 Ruth Turner rated it really liked it
A little slow to begin with. A story of murder, rape, adultery and attempted suicide. At times it all became a bit much.

The main character held no appeal for me whatsoever. He irritated me immensely throughout most of the book.

A bleak story but a good read nevertheless.
Jan 19, 2015 David rated it did not like it
The writing is so poor that it got in the way of the storytelling.
Dan Lawton
Jul 17, 2015 Dan Lawton rated it it was amazing
I credit John Hart for inspiring me to finally put pen to pager (metaphorically speaking). THE KING OF LIES is his debut novel and one in which introduces John's literary-like character development and gripping storytelling ability. The build up to the final reveal is intense, and the dynamic between "Work" Pickens and his wife is explosive. It reminds me a lot of Gillian Flynn's GONE GIRL in that aspect. Once I started reading John Hart I've been unable to stop. I've been patiently (or impatien ...more
Aug 26, 2013 Adam rated it it was amazing
This review is extremely biased. I had been having a pretty awful week. So bad that I was utterly unable to concentrate on reading, until I picked up this book. I could read this book. It just worked for me. Mysteries just under the surface gradually revealed throughout the book, an acerbically funny main character, and lots of sordidly mesmerizing details about the not so perfect lives of the residents in this small North Carolina town.

So, this book gets a hearty recommendation.

As to whether
Michael Tuggle
Mar 11, 2012 Michael Tuggle rated it it was amazing
I stumbled on this incredible debut from John Hart by accident and it blew me away. I couldn't put it down and immediately bought his other two books - now three. Literally one of the best books I have ever read.

(From B&N)

From the masterful New York Times bestselling and two-time Edgar Award-winning author of The Last Child and Down River, comes this tour de force of murder and the dark ripples it sends through a man, his family and community.

Jackson Workman Pickens—known to most as Work—mi
Joseph Perkins Jr.
Jun 23, 2013 Joseph Perkins Jr. rated it it was amazing
AMAZING!! This novel was phenomenal! This was my second John Hart novel. My first was The Last Child which was excellent as well. I had a very high expectations when I picked this novel up, and was thoroughly impressed! The King of Lies is actually John Hart's debut novel, and I can honestly say I am a huge fan. The King of Lies North Carolina setting is the perfect background for this intriguing, thrilling, captivating Southern murder tale. Hart uses this drama and our leading character Jackson ...more
JoAnne Pulcino
Jul 23, 2011 JoAnne Pulcino rated it really liked it
John Hart
A magnificent debut novel that is brilliant and quickly becomes a complex, fast paced and intelligent mystery thriller.
Jackson Workman Pickens, “Work” is totally overshadowed by his larger than life father. When his mother dies, and his father disappears all his inner demons brought on by a loveless marriage, poor emotional choices, and his worry about his sister’s psychological traumas are swept aside when his father’s murder is discovered.
As Work stands to inherit fift
Maureen DeLuca
May 26, 2016 Maureen DeLuca rated it liked it
I kinda liked it. Most of my friends of GR liked it better than me. BUT, DON'T take my word for it... I'm guessing it is better than I am giving this book credit for- just my frame of mind... what I can say FOR SURE ... IS by far... one of the BEST books I've read was by this author, and that book was THE LAST CHILD that is is MUST read for sure !! xx
Diana Donnelly
Jun 12, 2015 Diana Donnelly rated it it was amazing
This is the third book I have read by this author and he's wonderful. This was a fantastic story and a real page-turner. I noticed that Pat Conroy commented that it "reads like a book on fire" and he's also been a favorite author of mine for years. If you haven'y read something by this author I would highly suggest that you do as you won't be disappointed.
Jun 29, 2010 Linda rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery-thriller
This is the first John Hart book that I have read and I enjoyed it.

Jackson Workman "Work" Pickens is a lawyer who has been keeping secrets form himself and others every since a scene with his dad, Sister Janet and his mom. His mother died that terrible night and that plot is woven throughout the story. His sister has mental stability issues, his father is a high pressure highly acclaimed lawyer and his wife is seemingly the perfect society wife. When there is another death involving "Work" the s
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Won copies of this book for my book club 4 23 Feb 06, 2013 05:59AM  
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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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“I'm sixty-nine years old, and I have no plans to run for reelection. Do you think I give a damn?” 4 likes
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