John Hart is an American writer and the author of five New York Times best sellers. Hart is a former criminal defense attorney, banker, and stockbroker. He was born in Durham, North Carolina to his father and mother who were, at the time, a surgeon and a French teacher in that order.
Order of John Hart Standalone Novels
John Hart attended the Davidson College after completing high school. While in the college, he studied French literature, clearly taking after his mother. He even lived in Paris and London briefly after college. Later, he returned to his home in Rowan County, North Carolina, where he went on to attain a degree in accounting and law. It is his home town that provides the perfect setting for his first two novels. It is the basis for the fictional Raven County.
In those days, Hart did writing as a release, after engaging in rigorous work during the day. That was before he started engaging more seriously as he embarked on various writing projects. While he cherishes the fond memories of him flying helicopters and sailing small boats, he now engages in a harder, but much safer venture; writing books full time.
To date, Hart has written five New York Times bestsellers, with the most recent release being the Redemption Road. These books are The King of Lies which was his first, Down River, The Last Child, and Iron House. To date, John Hart has over two million of his books in print. What’s more, his books have been translated into more than 30 languages and they are available in more than seventy countries.
John Hart Awards
In his writing career, Hart has won the Edgar Award for best novel twice, the Barry Award, and the Southern Bookseller’s Award for fiction books. He has also worn the Ian Fleming Steel Dagger Award and the North Carolina Award for Literature. Hart is the only author in history to have worn the Edgar Allan Poe Award for two consecutive novels.
Best John Hart Books
There are two titles that one could consider the best John Hart books. The two books are the ones that won him the Edgar Award for Best Novel; Down River, written in 2008 and The Last Child, written in 2010. The First Novel, Down River is a thriller based on the life of a man known as Adam Chase, a man with a troubled childhood.
Down River: Adam grew up in Rowan County but he suffers from a childhood filled with hardships. At some point in his life, he finds himself accused of many wrong doings, including the murder of a local football hero. Worst of all, even his family and close friends turn against him. In fact, his mother testifies against him.
Although the court acquaints him, no one believes the verdict is correct. Adams therefore opts to run away to New York with no plans of even coming back. However, a phone call from an old friend changes his mind. He opts to come back to Rowan County, the only home he has ever known.
Unfortunately for him, nothing seems to have changed. Shortly after arrival, he is beaten up, locked up by a former girlfriend and faces hatred friends and foe. However, his tough past strengthens him to fight for the truth. He is determined to solve the murder of his friend Danny, prove his innocence, and reclaim his life back. It’s a thick plot filled with suspense, secrets, and conspiracies.
The Last Child: His second award-winning book is The Last Child, a story about a determined brother, intent on finding a twin sister who disappeared from a town side street. The story is quite emotional in that it focuses on Thirteen year-old Johnny Merrimon’s lonely life. While everyone else believes that his sister Alyssa is long dead, Jonny is convinced she is still alive, and he is determined to find her.
A year on since her disappearance, Jonny is still looking, undeterred by the dangers that lurk in the dark side of his town. What he does not know though is that he is not the only one who is looking. Detective Clyde Hunt is also still on the trail of the lost girl one year on. However, he also constantly plays the role of a protector to the boy who seems to be completely unafraid.
On uncovering some leads, Jonny calls on his friend, ignoring the warnings from both his mother and the detective, as they look for the truth. What follows from then on, deeply challenges the two boys and tests their wits to the limits.
With these two books as examples, Hart is clearly a uniquely gifted writer.