The King of Lies
This is Hart´s debut novel and as such probably full of autobiographic details, too full, this reader here might suggest.
He packs just too much into this mystery-novel and it is all terribly tragic, sad, tormenting, for his main character “Work” Pickens, and for the reader.
Work is a young lawyer, always in the shadow of his overtowering lawyer-father Ezra, who from very humble beginnings ruthlessly made it to the top. To please his father, Work married Barbara, member of the top circles of this North Carolina community. But it is a loveless marriage, because Work´s true and only love is Vanessa, last of an impoverished landed gentry.
A year ago Ezra disappeared, after he had pushed his wife down the stairs, killing her in the process. Both Work and his sister Jean witnessed the scene. Jean fled the family, Work covered the murder up, but has felt miserable ever since.
When his father´s body finally is discovered, Work soon finds himself the prime murder suspect, as his father left him 15 million. Work thinks his sister murdered her father and he tries to protect her by taking all the shame.
In the end, of course, it all ends well for him, but he has to suffer pain galore to make it come true.