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Down River [Kindle Edition]

John Hart
3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: £3.95 includes VAT* & free wireless delivery via Amazon Whispernet
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Book Description

Going back is never easy . . . Adam Chase has spent the last five years in New York trying to forget. When he left North Carolina, Adam left for good. Now he has no choice but to return - and being remembered as a murderer doesn't help.

Within hours of arriving, Adam is beaten up, accosted and has to face the hostility of those closest to him, including Grace, the young woman he cannot forget. Nothing has changed. And then people start turning up dead. For a man only just acquitted of murder, Adam's homecoming does not go well. And he has a dark streak, a history of violence.

Everyone doubts. No one trusts him. And as the past threatens to overshadow the present, Adam becomes the prime suspect for the new murders. He alone can clear his name.

Product Description


'I don't always agree with the Richard & Judy recommendations, but this time I am with them all the way. This book is a really classy thriller, with a plot that is complex and beguiling without being too convoluted ... Whenever I thought that I had unravelled the plot, another twist left me flummoxed, and the solution had me blinking with surprise and admiration' (Matthew Lewin, Guardian)

[Hart] explores betrayal and forgiveness in indelible prose (Observer)

Hart spins a clever mystery and keeps skilful control of his plot (Sunday Telegraph)

'Hart builds the suspense of this whodunit expertly' (Douglas Wight, News of the World)

'A Chandleresque thriller' (Sunday Times)

'A heart-pounding thriller that explores the dark side of human nature' (Metro)

'A gripping thriller full of twists and turns' (Oldham Evening Chronicle)

'Hart proves here he is certainly no one-hit wonder' (Good Book Guide)

'This is a big, warm-hearted novel' (Natasha Cooper, Crime Time)

The story works both as a suspenseful whodunit and as a sensitive rumination on the emotional force of family dynamics (Washington Post)

If you value Harper Lee, James Lee Burke, Truman Capote and Michael Malone, its time to add John Hart to your bookshelves (New York Sun)

A novel about the power of family, how it defines and follows us, no matter how far or fast we run . . . Evocative storytelling and lush prose (Boston Globe)

Splendid . . . a beautifully constructed story of personal redemption, family secrets and murder a small-town epic, if there is such a thing (Booklist (starred review))

A taut, entertaining thriller . . . there are few books published that can legitimately be called a must-read, but this is one of them (Chicago Sun-Times)

'This pacy, well-written mystery grabs you from the first page and keeps you there until the last.' **** (MX Sydney Magazine)

'The 'current hot kid of American crime fiction' (TNT Magazine)

Sunday Telegraph

'Hart spins a clever mystery and keeps skilful control of his plot'

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2696 KB
  • Print Length: 336 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0312359314
  • Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton (14 May 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002VCR0AI
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #128,256 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

John Hart was born in North Carolina in 1965, and lives with his wife and two young children in Rowan County. He has degrees in French, accounting and law, and worked as a banker, stockbroker and attorney before beginning his writing career.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Unimpressive and tedious 12 Aug. 2008
Often I read reviews on Amazon, where people have generally liked a novel, and there is one where the reviewer writes 'I must be missing something', or words to that effect. Well in the case of this novel, I must be that person, because I don't understand all the hype about it at all.

I just about forced myself to finish it as I was (just) interested enough to read the end, but only just. I kept thinking there must be some amazing twists in the plot to come, but they never arrived, and I had already realised what some of the outcomes were going to be earlier on in the book. This isn't a problem if the writing itself is stylish and the tale enthralling enough to keep one reading whether you have worked out the plot in advance or not, but in this case I don't think it is.

The main character, Adam Chase, finally returns to his home town to face the demons of his past, which saw him wrongly accused but fortunately acquitted of the murder of a local young man. The action centres around his family and a small circle of other inhabitants, and gradually unravels how their pasts have actually crossed and reveals hidden secrets that lead to the revelation of the real murderer, but not before a further murder and an assault have occured. Chase rekindles a romance with a local detective on his return and proceeds to antagonise her and the other detectives by going behind their backs to conduct his own investigations.

The relationships could have been built more believably, which would have evoked more empathy with the characters, or at least an understanding. It all just seems a bit sketchy.
If you want a very easy, undemanding read, which admittedly many readers do in the summertime, then maybe give this a try. Evidently many others have enjoyed it more.
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36 of 39 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Some clever twists 6 July 2008
There isn't much product information available on Amazon so to give you an idea what it's about, Adam Chase lives in New York having left his home town five years following an acquital from a murder charge - all this is revealed within first and second chapter so it isn't a plot spoiler - but his friend from home calls him and he has to go back. When he gets home people start turning up dead and unfortunately Adam looks like number one suspect with only him being able to clear his name.

The writing style took me a little while to settle into. The sentences are disjointed in places and there is no descriptive narrative as such. The only thing I can compare it to is Gordon Ramsey when he does his recipes and he simply says the bog standard ingredient and method. Hopefully you know what I mean if you've ever watched his most recent shows. Because of this, I couldn't get into a flow and my reading initially wasn't enjoyable. However I soon got used to it and eventually the plot became more of a focus than the writing style.

All of the characters are interesting. Some of the relationships will leave you a bit puzzled, mainly for me that was the relationship between Grace and Adam. Eventually all the links between the characters becomes clear and you can start putting two and two together; yet I don't think you'll ever completely work everything out. John Hart has been clever and there are some amazing aspects of the plot that come in the last quarter of the novel.

I don't feel like it's a fast paced thriller but it is definitely atmospheric and exciting; leaving the reader to question the betrayals that have happened and whether they would do the same in Adam's situation.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Tedious 18 April 2010
By Jonathan Posner VINE VOICE
I see no one's yet given this novel a one-star review. Well somebody had to and I'm afraid it's going to be me.

This is a book populated with far too many people, a ridiculously-convoluted and contrived plot and zero character development. Oh, and it's poorly written - sorry, but it is. Adam Chase has been away from home for five years: we get that on page one. But if you were to count up the number of times the pair of words "five years" subsequently appear it feels like it could be a hundred, maybe more. Everyone knows you've been away for five years so don't hit us over the head with it every three pages - enough already!

I really struggled with this book and could barely get to the last page. I swear that every night while I slept someone snuck in to my bedroom and added another fifty pages to the end because it took me a month to finish it.

The worst part, and the reason I ended up with it in the first place, is that it formed part of a Richard & Judy selection. This is the same book club that has led me to some of the finest books I have ever read, novels like 'The Laments', 'The Testament of Gideon Mack', 'The Girls', 'The Time Traveler's Wife'. They're also the same outfit that chose the magnificent 'The Lincoln Lawyer' by Michael Connelly, a novel of a similar genre to Down River but in a class apart. To call 'Down River' a lapse in judgement for them is, I fear, something of an understatement.

John Hart seems like a nice bloke and I like his stated desire to write about family relationships, a rich seed-bed for a crime novel if ever there was one. I just wish he could do it better.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
nice item many thanks
Published 6 months ago by MR A MADDER
2.0 out of 5 stars A quiet, slow backwater.
The plot of this book belongs to the genre of …. Returning home to face the music and address all those issues that made you flee in the first place. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Adrian Maxwell
4.0 out of 5 stars Another good read
Arrived well wrapped and on time.If these two books are as good as other books by the same author then they are going to be great.
Published on 3 Mar. 2013 by geoffers
3.0 out of 5 stars Ok
The storyline was ok (turns and twits), but the setting was a bit too rural for me. So just okay
Published on 15 Feb. 2013 by Marlene Magelund Larsen
3.0 out of 5 stars Bought as gift hence difficult to review
I cannot review the book as it was a gift. Arrived without problem and promptly. The same applies to the other books purchased.
Published on 28 Dec. 2012 by Edward Fielding
5.0 out of 5 stars Happy Families are all Alike; Every Unhappy Family is Unhappy in its...
"Down River" is the award-winning second mystery/thriller from native North Carolinian John Hart, who made an unusual leap to early New York Times Best-Sellerdom with his debut,... Read more
Published on 31 Oct. 2012 by Stephanie De Pue
1.0 out of 5 stars Hard to believe
I find it hard to believe that Down River came from the same pen as The Last Child and The King of Lies, which I thought a magnificent novel of its kind. Read more
Published on 17 May 2012 by Allegra
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Read
Never read John Hart before and did not know what to expect. Slow start to this story, but as it progressed I got more into the plot and the twist at the end suprised me. Read more
Published on 12 Mar. 2012 by reg
1.0 out of 5 stars Dull as dishwater
It's not a good sign when you feel a sense of achievement at finishing a book. Half way through I felt like giving up but determination and bulldog spirit pulled me through. Read more
Published on 13 Dec. 2011 by Amazon Customer
1.0 out of 5 stars Just plain painfully tedious
I couldn't wait to finish this book because it was one of the most boring books I have ever read. It was supposed to be a thriller but instead of my heart rate racing it nearly... Read more
Published on 25 Sept. 2010 by Ms. Aileen C. Hankin
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great book so far 0 9 Feb 2010
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