Hart's novel The Last Child was one of my favorite reads of last year, so I couldn't wait to pick this one up, and I have to tell you, I literally could not put it down. I read this one in two days, which in the exta busy summer months just seems impossible to me, but it's true. The writing is so wonderfully rich and the story so exciting, that every chapter just kept me wanting to find out what would happen next.
Iron House is an orphange where the two brothers in the book, Julian and Michael, grew up after being abandoned and left for dead in a freezing river in wintertime. Julian is the weaker of the two and is constantly harrassed by older boys who are inexplicably cruel. Michael is his guardian until a terrible incident forces Michael to run away, just when a rich Senator's wife has come to adopt them. So Julian is given a life of privilege and Michael is forced into the world of organized crime by a boss who finds and "saves" him, training him to be an extremely skilled enforcer.
But eventually, Michael finds a woman who makes him see a future filled with love and family instead of guns and hatred, and he wants out. He is granted immunity by his adopted father, but when the crime boss dies, Michael is left to flee the others who are after the don's millions. The rest is an exciting game of cat and mouse with some disturbing family drama thrown in to make it more interesting. Hart's characters are wonderfully real and dynamic, and the action and drama are perfectly paced so that at every turn the reader is pulled deeper into the story. It is not a book for the squeamish, however, as many scenes are violent and at times, gruesome. But when it's a book about organized crime and childhood abuse, there can be no other realistic way to play it.
So if you like thrillers that make you turn page after page in the wee hours of the night, this is the one for you this summer. Give it a try and let me know if you love it as much as I did!