Author John Hart is a contemporary southern novelist along the lines of Pat Conroy or Tom Franklin, but I think his writing is even better. He hasn’t written a novel in five years, so I was eager to read Redemption Road. I was certainly not disappointed. The novel, though dark, was riveting.
Hart’s story features a lot of people who are seeking redemption. An ex- cop is getting out of prison after 15 years of serving time for a murder that he has always claimed he didn’t commit. A young boy feels it is his duty to get even with the ex-cop who he believes killed his mom. Seemingly unrelated, a young woman is kidnapped and raped by several men who are about as evil as any author can dream up.
The tie between all of these characters is Detective Elizabeth Black. She always believed Adrian Wall was innocent of the murder. She took the boy under her wing after his mother’s murder and his father’s subsequent tumble into alcoholism and drug abuse. She also has become the confidant and friend of the young rape victim.
When the murders resume the very day following Adrian Wall’s release from prison, it looks as though he will once again be accused of the crimes. But Elizabeth is certain that he is innocent and sets out to prove it.
Hart’s writing is absolutely compelling. The novel is about as dark as any I’ve ever read, but the writing kept me turning the pages.
While not a typical whodunit, the question about who is the murderer if it isn’t Adrian Wall remains unanswered until the very end. And a series of seemingly unrelated events all come together in a clever and believable manner.
Redemption Road was one of those novels that I had to be very careful about reading before bed, but it was also one of those novels that kept me reading, chapter after chapter.
I hope the author doesn’t wait as long for his next novel.