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  • Barbara Copperthwaite

Review: REDEMPTION ROAD, John Hart

Redemption Road, by John Hart. Review by Barbara Copperthwaite

“At its heart are questions about redemption, salvation, and fresh starts”


Elizabeth Black is a hero. She is a cop who single-handedly rescued a young girl from a locked cellar and shot two brutal kidnappers dead. But she's also a cop with a history, a woman with a secret. And she's not the only one.

Adrian Wall is finally free after thirteen years of torture and abuse. In the very first room he walks into, a boy with a gun is waiting to avenge the death of his mother. But that is the least of Adrian's problems.

He was safer in prison.

And deep in the forest, on the altar of an abandoned church, a body cools in pale linen. It is not the first to be found.

This is a town on the brink.

This is Redemption Road.

Brimming with tension, secrets, and betrayal, brilliantly evoking an America of small towns and remote landscapes, of the abandoned, the derelict and the desperate, this is a novel so chillingly suspenseful and a story so full of twists and turns that you simply cannot stop reading. It marks a new high point in the writing of this bestselling master of the literary thriller.


Redemption Road is a complex tale where everyone has a secret, and cases from the past collide. At first it is a little confusing, perhaps, as so many characters with labyrinthine histories are introduced, but it soon had me gripped. It rapidly turned into a tense, tightly woven, gritty and gory story, that had me changing my mind back and forth as to who had done what and why.

The crimes themselves are not easy. One in particular involves the abduction and rape of a young teenager. The descriptions are unflinching and sometimes brutal, so it isn’t for the faint-hearted. And my word there is a high body count.

There is more than blood-lust to this tale, though. As the title suggests, at its heart are questions about redemption, salvation, and fresh starts. Who deserves them? Which characters will get them? Can a lack of ‘finding salvation’ push people over the edge? The subject matter is thought provoking and this is not a crime novel that will simply tell its story and allow you along for the ride. Redemption Road wants you to think, to make judgments, and to feel uncomfortable on occasion, as lines are blurred.

This is a great read. By the end of the novel I was flying through pages, as breathless as the characters. The ending is both horrifically taut and satisfying.

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