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Iron House by John Hart
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Apr 06, 13

Read in October, 2011

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 mountains, two hunters come across a ten month old infant, Michael, and his premature brother, Julian, left abandoned on the river bank. The hunters carried the boys inside their coats to protect them against the elements. The next time we meet the brothers is during their stay at Iron House, a state run orphanage for boys located in the North Carolina hills and far away from civilization on Iron Mountain that was once a mental institution that housed shell shocked soldiers.

Michael learned early that to survive Iron House he would have gather all his courage not to run from a fight but to win every one. Julian was the opposite of his brother; he ran from every fight, was caught, brutally beaten then thrown out of windows. This was Julian’s life. After each beating, Julian learned to retreat into himself to pretend life wasn’t as bad as the beatings he incurred.

Michael told Julian he’d have to learn to fight back if he wanted the beatings to stop. And so Julian did. He found the courage to fight back when he found an old rusty knife and plunged it into the neck of the worse of the five boys who had tormented him throughout the years. His brother, suspecting that his nine-year old brother would be sent to prison, took the blame because he knew in his heart that his brother Julian would never survive prison. While Julian was murdering his tormentor, a senator’s wife, who had come to adopt them, sat waiting for them to be brought to her. Michael runs away, Julian is adopted, and they don’t see one another for a couple of decades, and then, under extreme unpleasant circumstances.

The bodies of the other boys who had tormented Julian are turning up in Julian’s family’s lake and Julian is suspected of being the murderer and Michael feels obligated to clean up the mess to, once again, save Julian.

The author does an exceptional job of making us go back and forth on whom we suspect of being the killer because we all know that Julian is not the killer, or do we?

It’s a challenge to distinguished truths from untruths from all the twists and turns.

Iron House is a piece of fiction that should remain on the New York Times best sellers list for years.

If made into a movie it should be made by a Clint Eastwood like director, or Clint Eastwood himself, Iron House would be at the top of my list of movies to see.

Iron House is a must read!

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