Top critical review
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3.5 stars better than OK but not great
on 6 September 2012
John Hart has an eloquent and considered writing style, he isn't shy of some dramatic and almost poetic descriptive prose; while at the same time he delivers action and tough guy drama with genuine panache. He also has an eye for a story and generally sets them up well with good chararcters at the heart of it.
Iron House begins well - it has mystery, love and suspense. An over arching sense of impending doom follows the story of Michael and Elena. She is an interesting love interest and underpins his motivations well. The reveal of his past and the Iron House is neatley played - so to the introduction of the main support cast, all well delivered and sensibly written characters. With the possible exception of Stevan - we are left to assume too much about him and maybe we needed to read a little more of his personality. However, after the first 15 or so chapters the book grinds to something of a halt - as the intricacies of the story are developed sadly the pace drops to a crawl - adding in alot of driving and chatting didn't make up for it. The middle third is the books problem, as Elena makes way for another strong female charatcer so the relationships all change - it's like being back at square one, I wasn't really convince by the "investigation" element as it seemed a little too hackneyed way of getting to the truth. The book then sprngs back to life for the final 3rd, though the action climax is a smidge of an anti-climax in places.I'd liked to have seen a little more of the great Michael in action.
It's an interesting and well produced book, which drags in the middle. The subtext of mother's and sons, nature vs nurture is not over played, but neither is it subtle. Overall the it had enough to keep me and most readers going but given the intricacies the twist and 'reveal' wasn't enough to truly drop the jaw. I shall read more from Hart, his accomplished style and character development are worthy of further investment.