Bookwatch: Thriller writer John Hart returns with ‘Redemption Road’

Author John Hart
Author John Hart Kim Veillon

After flashing onto the literary scene from his Salisbury hometown about 12 years ago and writing four best selling thrillers in four years, John Hart took a long break, leaving a giant fan base missing his best-selling, award-winning literary thrillers.

But he came back with “Redemption Road,” a finalist for the Southern Book Prize. It drew a praise from fellow author David Baldacci, who said the book’s “prologue is heart-wrenching and the chapters thereafter pull you in like matter to a black hole.”

“Redemption Road” delivers a complex plot with more than 30 important and complicated characters. None are more important or more complicated that the central character, Detective Elizabeth Black, herself an accused murderer, who is determined to find justice for Adrian Wall, a wrongly, she thinks, convicted murderer of an attractive young mother.

Her search for the real killer is the story line that holds Hart’s complex set of plots together.

Hart’s stories are based on characters rather than complicated plots charted in advance. “For me,” he said, “the books always begin with an idea of who the main character is. I have to see this person very, very clearly and know two or three emotional drivers that are going to shape that person throughout the book. Before I know the plot, I always see the character first.”

Hart’s sixth book, scheduled to come out later this year, may be a sequel to his poignant and successful novel, “The Last Child.”

EDITOR’S NOTES: D.G. Martin hosts “North Carolina Bookwatch” on Sundays at noon and Thursdays at 5 p.m. on WUNC-TV. … This Thursday, June 15, John Hart talks about “Redemption Road.” … The Sunday, June 11 telecast is pre-empted for other programming.