By now John Hart is an acclaimed best-selling author and maybe this is why he put aside all restraints and told a story so sinister, and dark, that you hardly wish to follow it.
Michael, his protagonist, shared his troubled childhood with his little brother Julian in Iron House, a Dickenesque orphanage. His brother is so terribly tormented by a gang of boys, that he kills their leader. Michael takes the blame, flees, lives on the street until a mafialike mobster boss adopts him and trains him to be the best killer in his organisation. When Michael falls in love with beautiful Elena, he wants out, but his boss and father figure dies and the mob want Michael dead.
Julian, on the other hand, is adopted by the mysterious wife of an extremely rich, extremely corrupt senator. Julian develops into a famous childrenīs book author and painter, but is haunted by schizophrenia: “Julian writes dark, because the light he hopes to convey is so dim it only shows when everything around it is black. You have read it: dark characters and black deeds, pain and struggle and betrayal. But the light is always there.” (p. 207) I do not know in how far Hart describes his own authorship here, but I canīt help suspecting it is a kind of excuse for this book. The most abhorring torture scenes are described in loving graphic detail and everybody is drawn into a maelstrom of violence and death.
In the overkitschy end, Michael and Elena live happily ever after.