Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
Down River

Down River

A Novel

John Hart

Minotaur Books

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Edgar Allan Poe Award Winner

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Down River is the winner of the 2008 Edgar Award for Best Novel.

Everything that shaped him happened near that river....

Now its banks are filled with lies and greed, shame, and murder....

John Hart's debut, The King of Lies, was compelling and lyrical, with Janet Maslin of The New York Times declaring, "There hasn't been a thriller as showily literate since Scott Turow came along." Now, in Down River, Hart makes a scorching return to Rowan County, where he drives his characters to the edge, explores the dark side of human nature, and questions the fundamental power of forgiveness.

Adam hase has a violent streak, and not without reason. As a boy, he saw things that no child should see, suffered wounds that cut to the core and scarred thin. The trauma left him passionate and misunderstood---a fighter. After being narrowly acquitted of a murder charge, Adam is hounded out of the only home he's ever known, exiled for a sin he did not commit. For five long years he disappears, fades into the faceless gray of New York City. Now he's back and nobody knows why, not his family or the cops, not the enemies he left behind.

But Adam has his reasons.

Within hours of his return, he is beaten and accosted, confronted by his family and the women he still holds dear. No one knows what to make of Adam's return, but when bodies start turning up, the small town rises against him and Adam again finds himself embroiled in the fight of his life, not just to prove his own innocence, but to reclaim the only life he's ever wanted.

Bestselling author John Hart holds nothing back as he strips his characters bare. Secrets explode, emotions tear, and more than one person crosses the brink into deadly behavior as he examines the lengths to which people will go for money, family, and revenge.

A powerful, heart-pounding thriller, Down River will haunt your thoughts long after the last page is turned.

Praise for John Hart and The King of Lies

"Treat yourself to something new and truly out of the ordinary."

---Rocky Mountain News

"A top-notch debut. Hart's prose is like Raymond Chandler's, angular and hard."

--Entertainment Weekly (grade A)

"A gripping performance."

---People magazine

"A marriage of carefully crafted prose alongside have-to-keep-reading suspense."

---The Denver Post

"A masterful piece of writing."

---The News & Observer (Raleigh, NC)

"A gripping mystery/thriller and a fully fleshed, thoughtful work of literature."

---Winston-Salem Journal

"The King of Lies moves and reads like a book on fire."

---Pat Conroy

"John Hart's debut . . . is that most engrossing of rarities, a well-plotted mystery novel that is written in a beautifully poetic style."

---Mark Childress, author of Crazy in Alabama

"Grisham-style intrigue and Turow-style brooding."

---The New York Times

Now with an excerpt from John Hart's next book The Hush, available in February 2018.

Edgar Allan Poe Award Winner, AudioFile Best Voices, Audible.com Best of the Year, Edgar Allen Poe Award Winner

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Down River by John Hart--Audiobook Excerpt

Listen to this audiobook excerpt from Down River by John Hart. A powerful, heart-pounding suspense thriller from the unparalleled New York Times bestselling and two-time Edgar Award-winning author of The Last Child and The King of Lies, Down River will haunt your thoughts long after the last page is turned.

Reviews

Praise for Down River

“This book should settle once and for all the question of whether thrillers and mysteries can also be literature.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“As in his Edgar-nominated debut, The King of Lies, Hart takes his time, snaring the reader with evocative storytelling and lush prose.” —Boston Globe

Down River falls squarely in the league of the best of Southern novels.” —South Florida Sun-Sentinel

“A sensitive rumination on the emotional force of family dynamics.” —Washington Post

“There are few books published that can legitimately be called a 'must-read,' but this is one of them.” —Chicago Sun-Times

“An engrossing, bittersweet reading experience that expertly evokes William Faulkner, John Grisham, and John Berendt.” —Mystery Scene

“If you value Harper Lee, James Lee Burke, Truman Capote, and Michael Malone... it's time to add John Hart to your bookshelves.” —Otto Penzler, New York Sun

Down River is a beautifully constructed story of personal redemption, family secrets, and murder--a small-town epic.... A truly splendid novel with a deep emotional core.” —Booklist (starred review)

“Hart's sophomore effort surpasses his debut... this work is reminiscent of Raymond Chandler's novels.... The writing is simply superb.” —Library Journal (starred review)

“Sometimes, early success can be a curse for a writer....That's definitely not the case with North Carolina's John Hart...With Down River...he's only gotten better.” —Winston-Salem Journal

“Hart's work invokes the spirit of the best of southern literature. Down River puts readers in the mind of topics explored by Thomas Wolfe, Tennessee Williams and William Faulkner, with a contemporary vision and edge that is memorable and haunting. Hart is a deep and strong talent whose future offerings will be greatly anticipated and welcomed.” —Book Reporter

Reviews from Goodreads

About the author

John Hart

John Hart is the New York Times bestselling author of The Last Child and The King of Lies. The only author in history to win the best novel Edgar Award for consecutive novels, he has also won the Barry Award and England's Steel Dagger Award for best thriller of the year. He was born and raised in North Carolina. For a time he practiced criminal defense law, but left to focus on his writing.

John Hart

Kim Veillon Photography

John Hart

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