Publisher: St. Martin’s Press | Release Date: February 2, 2021
You can read more about the book at the following places, or pre-order your copy at:
Goodreads | Amazon CA | Amazon COM | Chapter - Indigo | Barnes & Noble
HE’D FOUGHT THE WAR AS FEW MEN COULD.
THE REAL TERROR WAITED AT HOME.
Set in the South at the height of the Vietnam War, The Unwilling combines crime, suspense and searing glimpses into the human mind and soul in New York Times bestselling author John Hart's singular style.
Gibby's older brothers have already been to war. One died there. The other came back misunderstood and hard, a decorated killer now freshly released from a three-year stint in prison.
Jason won't speak of the war or of his time behind bars, but he wants a relationship with the younger brother he hasn't known for years. Determined to make that connection, he coaxes Gibby into a day at the lake: long hours of sunshine and whisky and older women.
But the day turns ugly when the four encounter a prison transfer bus on a stretch of empty road. Beautiful but drunk, one of the women taunts the prisoners, leading to a riot on the bus. The woman finds it funny in the moment, but is savagely murdered soon after.
What he discovers there is a truth more bleak than he could have imagined: not just the identity of the killer and the reasons for Tyra's murder, but the forces that shaped his brother in Vietnam, the reason he was framed, and why the most dangerous man alive wants him back in prison.
This is crime fiction at its most raw, an exploration of family and the past, of prison and war and the indelible marks they leave.
About the Author:
JOHN HART is the author of six New York Times bestsellers, and of THE UNWILLING, which will be released on February 2, 2021. The only author in history to win the best novel Edgar Award for consecutive novels, Hart has also won the Barry Award, the Southern Independent Bookseller’s Award for Fiction, the Ian Fleming Steel Dagger Award and the North Carolina Award for Literature. His novels have been translated into thirty language and can be found in over seventy countries. “My only real dream,” John declares, “has been to write well and to be published well.”
I have loved every single book I’ve read by John Hart and THE UNWILLING is no exception. Hart has a creative way of layering his novels so anyone—whether they love historical fiction, romance, mystery, crime, or the thriller genre—can find something they love about this story.
Characters in a John Hart novel are never what they seem on the surface. Each one serves a purpose and is faced with individual moral dilemmas. Hart takes you inside each person, diving so deep, you can’t help finding the small cracks that make each of them human: their fears, their hopes, their lies, their secrets, their desires, their dreams, and their nightmares. The decisions they make are based on so many different things, that you as a reader are left wondering what you would do. This novel is thought-provoking times one hundred.
THE UNWILLING is about the search for light and happiness in all the dark and scary places that people try to avoid.
It was about an over-wrought mother struggling to cope with the loss of one son to the Vietnam War, the embarrassment of another son returning from the war high on drugs and addicted to the violent life, and the desperate grasp on protecting her youngest son from experiencing anything beyond the walls of his own home.
It was about brothers, one gone too early, one caught in an ugly underworld being forced to do things against his will to protect the ones he loved, and the last one struggling to become a man, figuring out how to make the right decisions in life and how to make his family whole again.
It was about a father who was a police officer struggling with the decision to uphold the law or disregard the rules to help his family before he lost them all.
It was about best friends who feel closer than brothers keeping secrets, dating girls, testing each other with dangerous challenges, and making tough decisions that could alter both their lives forever.
This book was filled with conflict, lies, and difficult moral decisions for almost every single character in the story. This is what drives the perfect thriller, but the dark underworld of guns, drugs, girls, gangs, prisoners, wardens, cops… these are the things that create amazing crime fiction. The suspense and tension will have you determined to “skip life” and just finish reading the novel.
I listened to the audiobook for this new release and I fell in love with Kevin Stillwell’s voice. John Hart added an author’s note at the end of the audiobook describing what inspired him to write this novel. I loved his answer regarding the dark vs. light and how good vs. evil.
Thanks to NetGalley and Macmillan Audio production from St. Martin’s Press for allowing me to listen to an advance copy in exchange for an honest review. I loved this book so much, that I have already pre-ordered a hardcover to add to my John Hart collection. If you love crime fiction, you MUST read this book!
(because I love reading books that dig deep into the psychological minds of broken people; books about dysfunctional families and why they became that way; books about motherly obligations and fierce protectiveness; books about brotherly connections; book about best friend relationships; and books that tear your heart out, but still make you smile).