Even if I have the time, I seldom have the inclination to sit down and read a book from cover to cover these days. But that’s exactly what I did with John Hart’s Iron House.
I got up from my chair only to fortify myself with endless cups of tea (and to make room for more of the same!) throughout the 400-plus pages of absolute magic.
Brothers Michael and Julian spent their early childhood at Iron House, an orphanage in the mountains of North Carolina. Abuse and neglect made Michael stronger and had the opposite effect on Julian. Twenty years later, Michael attempts to trade his existence as a Mob enforcer for the opportunity to have a real life, with a real family. But criminals intent on revenge, and the twisted secrets of people linked to Iron House, toss Michael into a gripping and torturous series of events.
None of the main characters in Iron House is perfect. In fact, each of them is seriously flawed. Hart, however, painted their portraits in such a way you couldn’t help identifying with them and cheering them on–even when their goals and methods weren’t conventional. Hart also used his characters to delve into the subjects of evil, survival, and triumph.
Hart’s characterization is subtle. In a big sense, I realized where the characters were going and why. This ability to predict the overall plot would have spoiled the reading if it were another book or writer. Hart’s characters, however, contain infinite layers of motivation; nothing in this story about how two men survived childhood abuse and neglect was simple and straightforward. Although, I realized where the plot was going, the highway Hart drove me down took sideroads and detours that were entirely unpredictable. On one page I knew what would happen next … and it didn’t. If I suspected what a villain woud do, he did … only in a more horrific way than I could have imagined.
If you’re looking for a read that combines roller-coaster action with heart-stopping characters, pick up Iron Horse. And then, like me, go out and buy one (or all) of Hart’s other books!