I first became acquainted with John Hart when I read The Last Child back in March of 2010. I remember being truly surprised at how great that book was. John Hart combined thriller, romance, and mystery into an emotionally charged reading experience. I was hoping for something equally as great with Iron House. I got what I wanted.
John Hart knows how to craft interesting characters. I think his success with this is based on ratios. Each character is comprised of greatness, mediocrity, and evil. The magic is in how these are proportioned within each character. There are no cookie cutter characters in Hart's works. They are deep and complicated.
The settings in Iron House were described in a vivid way that was unobtrusive to the plot. The mountains in North Carolina seemed so removed from the rest of the world, adding to the sense of desperation some of the characters felt while forced to be there. The compound of Senator Vane equally added to the nefariousness of his character.
My commute is about an hour each way, so audiobooks are my preferred method to pass the time without going crazy. With some books, I have found it hard to keep focused on the story. But not with this one. It held my interest from the very beginning. I found myself sitting in the parking lot at work trying to justify listening to just a little bit more.
The narration is top shelf. Scott's voice has a deep, raspy timbre that just feels comfortable right away. His pacing and emotion make it easy to identify with the characters, especially the main character, Michael. If you have not listened to many audio books, this would be a great one to start with. There is plenty of action and suspense, and hearing it, somehow makes it just pop.
It is rare that I give a book a five out of five rating. I feel this one deserves it. Iron House is a hard charging thriller with lots of action and suspense. But it is also an intense psychological thriller, with deep characters that are both flawed and exceptional. The narration by Scott Sowers makes this experience a memorable one.
I received a review copy of this audiobook from the publisher.
Iron House by John Hart
Read by Scott Sowers
Publication Date: July 12, 2011
John Hart is the New York Times bestselling author of Down River,The Last Child and The King of Lies. He is a two-time winner of the Edgar Allen Poe Award. Hart was born and raised in North Carolina. For a time he practiced criminal defense law, but left to focus on his writing. He used to do foolish things, like fly helicopters and sail small boats across large oceans. Now, with a loving young family, he writes books, which is harder but safer.
Scott Sowers is an accomplished actor of both stage and screen. His theater credits include roles in Inherit the Wind, A Streetcar Named Desire, Bus Stop, and A Few Good Men. His screen credits include guest roles on Law and Order, The Black Donnellys, Six Degrees, and All My Children. He has also appeared in Trust the Man, The Village, and The Ten. He has narrated audiobooks for many authors including Douglas Preston, Robert Ludlum, John Hart, and Nicholas Sparks.