The King of Lies
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The King of Lies

3.81 of 5 stars 3.81  ·  rating details  ·  5,026 ratings  ·  728 reviews
From the masterfulNew 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—mindlessly holds together his life: a failing law practice left to him when his father, Ezra, mysteriousl...more
Paperback, 432 pages
Published February 1st 2011 by Minotaur Books (first published 2006)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Brandon
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
LJ
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...more
Brayden
Mar 20, 2008 Brayden rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
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
James Thane
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
Eric
May 07, 2008 Eric rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Eric 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...more
Debby
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...more
Nancy
Jun 04, 2008 Nancy rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
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.
Elizabeth
Nov 30, 2011 Elizabeth rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
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
Caitlin
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...more
Bill
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...more
Michael
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...more
Skip
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.
Jeffrey
Jun 03, 2008 Jeffrey rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
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.
Adam
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...more
Michael Tuggle
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...more
Linda
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...more
Robin Jonathan Deutsch
Given John Hart is a 2-time Edgar winner and I'm not, I can't rate this book a 0, but I really wanted to. It was nearly awful in every respect, with a passage here and there that was decent. It was predictable, pedestrian and over-written. The characters were ALL horrible and their dialog lacked any depth. I stayed with the book, but it left me about as unsatisfied with a novel as I've been in a real long time. Sorry, John. This one didn't cut it.
Steve
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kitty Myers
Have you ever read a book and didn't like the main character? That's the problem I had with "The King of Lies" by John Hart. Jackson Workman Pickens, known as "Work," is a lawyer who makes idiotic choices. He drinks to oblivion and then acts, he cheats on his wife, and he's spineless. I've got one more criticism, and it's a biggie. The sex scenes are not only gratuitous, they're horrible. The only character I did like is Det. Mills.
Edwin Battistella
When missing North Carolina lawyer Ezra Pickens turns up murdered. Suspicion falls on the members of his family—his son Jackson Workman Pickens and troubled daughter Jean, both of whom have plenty of family and relationship drama. There are plenty of other suspects too—and I was actually surprised at who the killer turned out to be (apparently I’m the only one). Work was an annoying character for much of the novel, feeling sorry for himself for the slower than necessary first part of the book, b...more
Sheri faulk
*Wasn't the best of his books but a lot of my friends liked it. It was pretty good.


Jackson Workman Pickens—known to most as Work—mindlessly holds together his life: a failing law practice left to him when his father, Ezra, mysteriously disappeared, a distant wife, and a fragile sister, Jean, damaged by the shared past they’ve endured.
And then Ezra’s body is discovered.
Set to inherit his father’s fortune, Work becomes a prime suspect. But so does Jean. Fearing the worst, Work launches his own inv...more
☮Karen
The first half of the book, while it was a good story line, was annoying to me as it seemed like Hart tried too hard to be a creative writer. That's one reason why this isn't 5 stars. The other reason is that I figured out who the killer was. His Last Child was written much better. But the last half of the book really picked up and the writing seemed to improve by leaps and bounds.
Rachel Bhattacharyya
This well-crafted mystery is not a formulaic plot where a body is found and the strong protagonist systematically solves the murder. Instead, Hart introduces a raft of characters who are very human, well-defined and complex. The plot is twisted, driving, and key points are disclosed in tiny increments. The result is a page-turner until the end because many of the characters have sufficient cause to commit murder! "Work" Pickens, a flawed but likeable protagonist, has lived a life of denial. He l...more
Beth
What a wonderful book, and incredible writer! The King of Lies is the first John Hart book I have read and I am totally hooked. Hart writes like a cross between Scott Turow and James Lee Burke, combining court procedurals and lilting descriptions of the South. An example: "I walked outside and found the wind: it gusted against my face as if to scrub it clean."

The King of Lies tells the story of Jackson Workman Pickens, "Work" to his friends, whose father is found murdered and he is in line to i...more
E.L. Lindley
The King of Lies is an intriguing crime drama surrounding the family life of Jackson (Work) Pickens. Work is a lawyer living in the shadow of his immensely successful, rags to riches, father. The two share a law practice but all of Work's life choices have been dictated by his father's expectations rather than what he himself wants. When his father is murdered, Work becomes the prime suspect and his life implodes. More used to burying his head in the sand, he is now forced to face both his colla...more
Danielle
This was hard to put down. The legal setting reminded me of John Grisham books, but I was really drawn in by the characters. Especially the protaganist. The book description pretty much tells you all you need to know about this book. All I can say is that it doesn't disappoint.
Kim Weinbach
I hate giving bad reviews. This book was ok. I just hate when the main character is supposed to be intelligent yet they do stupid things for the sake of the plot. I had it figured out less than a third of the way thru so that wasn't fun.
June Ahern
The writing style is good, but to me the story and characters were just okay and at times, less than that. The book started out very well and the more I got to know the characters the less I liked the book. I had no connection to any of them, even the dog didn't matter with all the confusion of who shot John and why would they? I mean like everyone would want mean ol' Ezra dead, even me, but which character took the time? The main character, Work, heck no wonder, Ezra his father, chided him, I w...more
Sue
I have read all three books by this "new" author--and this one did not disappoint. I intend to read everything he writes and hope a new book will be forthcoming soon.
Lynna Smith
I love a good whodunit and this is a well written doozy!
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Won copies of this book for my book club 4 21 Feb 06, 2013 05:59AM  
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47072
I was born in Durham, North Carolina in 1965, the son of a young surgeon and French teacher who quit teaching to raise her children. Eventually, I moved to Rowan County, where THE KING OF LIES and DOWN RIVER are both set, and on which the fictional Raven County is loosely based. My favorite memory of childhood is a five hundred acre farm that has since fallen to the sweeping tide of development th...more
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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?” 2 likes
“Our questions, which began politely, were politely ignored.” 2 likes
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