Redemption Road, recommended with reservations

St. Martin's Press
St. Martin’s Press

The road to redemption runs from Hell to Heaven, and Hell is where John Hart’s latest literary thriller begins, in the shadows of sins old and new . . . but whether the road ends in Heaven or merely Purgatory is in the eye, or mind, of the reader.

This is a dark, disturbing thriller. The crimes are brutal. The characters are sick and sadistic, tortured and torturing. The pace is frenetic, from first word to last. The beginning isn’t the beginning but the tangled twist of stories that come together more than 13 years after the first transgression, tying the good and the bad, the innocent and guilty.

From the publisher:  A boy with a gun waits for the man who killed his mother.  A troubled detective confronts her past in the aftermath of a brutal shooting.  After thirteen years in prison, a good cop walks free as deep in the forest, on the altar of an abandoned church, a body cools in pale linen…This is a town on the brink.  This is Redemption Road.  Brimming with tension, secrets, and betrayal, Redemption Road proves again that John Hart is a master of the literary thriller.

Hart hurls his readers into the deep end of this cesspool of sins as a killer snatches a young girl, a troubled teen sets out for revenge, and a battered cop walks free from prison, and he’ll take them all the way down before he begins to shine light into the utter darkness of lies, betrayals and secrets that bind the victimized and the villains.  At times, I wanted to walk away — but I couldn’t put it down.

Just don’t expect too much good, or too much innocence because even the good can be bad and innocence can be illusive.

Redemption Road isn’t for the meek of spirit. With the 40-hour rape of a teenaged girl, the 18 gunshots that freed her from her captors, the 13-year sentence of a cop convicted of killing a young mother and his torture at the hands of a ruthless warden, to the bodies found on and beneath the altar of an abandoned church, the violence is visceral, perhaps even egregious. What else would you expect from Hell?

John Hart, who debuted with The King of Lies, is the first and only writer to win back-to-back Edgars for Best Novel, for Down River and The Last Child

NOTE: Sis received a complimentary advanced reading copy from St. Martin’s Press in expectation that she would read and review this novel, yet she was never coerced to write anything other than her own, independent opinion.

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