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Iron House

4.10  ·  Rating details ·  13,613 ratings  ·  1,814 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, ti

Hardcover, 421 pages
Published July 12th 2011 by Thomas Dunne Books
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Dave Wickenden Their mother work for the Slaughter family and she slept with many of the rich guests, so there were multiple fathers. It was even alluded that Randal…moreTheir mother work for the Slaughter family and she slept with many of the rich guests, so there were multiple fathers. It was even alluded that Randal Vane might have been there as it was speculated that his money might have come from the mining of the mountain. But it is uncomfortable to think that Abigail might be his daughter and his wife.(less)

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Average rating 4.10  · 
Rating details
 ·  13,613 ratings  ·  1,814 reviews

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May 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: public-library
Whew! What a story! Started off at breakneck speed and never let up. Characters with more secrets than you can shake a stick at. Slopped through my chores today in order to get back to reading. I typically jot down at least a few notes while reading, but didn't want to stop long enough to do that here and thus, the abbreviated review. Loved every minute of it.
How is it that I fall more and more for this author with every book of his I read??!!?? This one was full of action, edge of your seat suspense. I loved it!! This one tugged at my heart something fierce. Lol.
Mar 15, 2016 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
Aug 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
A hit man, his lover, an author, a rich benefactress and a slew of monstrous gangsters are all part of the large cast we meet in this story that had me wondering whether I was reading Hart or DeMille. That’s not a disparaging comment, I’m quite fond of Nelson, but this just didn’t feel like Hart’s style especially the violent, rip roaring start that read more macho than moving. Add in an orphanage with Dickensian aspirations and it was almost too much to handle.


Because all of the other
Feb 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-loved
This is my first venture into John Hart & I must say how awesome this book was, its fast paced never lets up & I loved every character except for Randall Vane as he made my skin crawl. The plot was A1 I just loved every minute I could not put this book down, even if I did due to things going on I got back to it as soon as I could.

Michael & his brother Julian were brought up in Iron Mountain a boys home both very different Michael was strong as they come, Julian was weak & sickly, always picked o
Florence (Lefty) MacIntosh
Jul 28, 2012 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
Aug 29, 2011 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
D.B. Woodling
Sep 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Suspense Fans
Iron House, an orphanage in the mountains of North Carolina, is a dismal and dangerous place, embodying an almost Dickensian undercurrent. This brutal beginning prepares Michael for a profitable but less-than-illustrious career as an enforcer for a New York Mafioso-type crime boss.

On the run following a bloody power struggle, Michael spirits his ladylove, Elena, away and returns to the North Carolina Mountains where he hopes to keep her safe and reunite with his long-lost brother, Julian. But Ji
Doug Bradshaw
Sep 04, 2013 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Frederick Masterman
Oct 22, 2011 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,
Jan 19, 2015 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
Nov 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
I like the way Hart writes and the Iron House plot just keeps humming along. So trying to figure out why I didn't love this. I think it was a disconnect to the characters who I found annoying or unbelievable. Hoping I like other books more, because I have several on my TBR list.
Aug 03, 2011 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
Mar 11, 2011 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
Jan 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery-fiction
I find The morality of The work interesting when all The characyers of cosequence bad bad guys, good bad guys or bad good guys. It suggests that our morality has grown askwed.
Jun 21, 2011 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
Jenny Jo Weir
Another one knocked out of the park by John Hart. I borrowed this one from the library, finished it and already bought myself a copy to own. Yes, it's that good.

I think Hart is one of those authors to which writing comes naturally. Nothing in his books feels forced or unnatural. Everything has a flow and good follow through. I also enjoy how the characters evolve and the unveiling of their back stories. Highly recommend this one!
Sep 23, 2013 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 to the
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

Sep 09, 2013 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
May 30, 2012 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
Aug 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. Except for Elena. She was annoying, weak and just TSTL.
Aug 06, 2011 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
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
Mar 12, 2011 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 (
Nov 05, 2014 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
Andrew Smith
Jul 26, 2011 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.
Jun 15, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: giveaways
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!
Aug 24, 2011 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
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JOHN HART is the author of six New York Times bestsellers, and of THE UNWILLING, which will be released on February 2, 2021. 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 Dagger Award and the North Carolina Award for Literature. His novels have be ...more

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His Favorite Thrillers that "Run Deep": The mystery writer shares five novels with characters who transcend the genre, like the flawed hit man in...
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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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