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I’ve often said that I think Michael Connelly is the finest crime fiction writing working today. John Hart is a close second, if not on par with Connelly. Connelly writes series, and Hart writes stand alones, but both write truly excellent books with well plotted stories, tension that keeps the pages turning, and protagonists that we can’t help rooting for. But most importantly, they write antagonists that are never one dimensional but rather fully realized individuals, and despite how depraved or heinous their acts, we are still able to see them as human beings, a most difficult feat.

Hart has written a compelling page turner, yet somehow manages to find the balance between rocketing suspense and creative imagery.

Adrian Wall is a cop superstar – great looking, charismatic and caring. Until he’s convicted of murder. A cop in prison is never a good thing, but Wall’s experience is grimmer than most. Thirteen years later, he is released early for good behavior but as he stops at a bar outside the prison to phone for a cab, the young teenage son of his alleged murder victim appears in the bar, gun in hand. The bartender manages to shoot the kid before he can kill Wall, but that’s just the beginning of Wall’s problems. The next day, a woman is murdered in an eerily similar manner to his convicted crime.

Detective Elizabeth Black is a woman with a lot of baggage. She’s had a major crush on Wall since she was 17 years old and he saved her life. In fact, it was because of Wall that she became a cop, disappointing her minister father. Black is the only one who never thought him guilty of the murder, so when he’s the chief suspect in this new murder, she wants to help.

Meanwhile, Black answers a call about a young woman screaming. She answers the call by herself, and finds Channing tied to the bed. She manages to free her, and kills both of the men who had kidnapped and raped the young woman. This turns into a racially charged killing as the men are both black, and were shot 18 times. Black soon finds herself suspended from the force and under suspicion of torturing and killing these men.

Than another body is found at the same location as Wall’s supposed other victims.

This is a multi-layered novel, and all of the characters have difficult choices to make as they try and find their own redemption.

I stayed up late into the night to finish this truly excellent, profoundly moving book. It is sure to be on my best books of 2016 list. Don’t miss it.

5/16 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

REDEMPTION ROAD by John Hart. Thomas Dunne Books (May 3, 2016).  ISBN 978-0312380366.  432p.


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