At a Glance
Last Updated on March 10, 2023 The American author John Hart is the writer of several New York Times bestsellers, including the Johnny Merrimon crime mystery series which currently includes two books. I, honestly, didn’t believe it would turn into a series since the first book was published back in 2009. Yet, here we are in 2018 with a second book released in February.
Besides this series, the author has also written several thriller standalone novels which are listed below. So here are the John Hart books in order for his so-far short series and his novels. The book list is updated as soon as a new story is published.
Latest John Hart Book
Johnny Merrimon Series in Publication Order
- The Last Child, 2009
- The Hush, 2018
Other John Hart Books in Publication Order
- The King of Lies, 2006
- Down River, 2007
- Iron House, 2011
- Redemption Road, 2016
- The Unwilling, 2021
John Hart Biography – About the Author
The author John Hart was born in Durham, North Carolina in 1965 as the son of a surgeon and French teacher. His mother stopped working to be able to raise the children.
At some point, his family moved to Rowan County, where two of the author’s books are also fictionally located: The King of Lies and Down River in Raven County.
He attended the Davidson College located north of Charlotte, where he studied French Literature, from which he graduated in 1988. When he returned back to North Carolina after his graduation, author Hart stayed in Rowan County. It is the same place where he set the plots of his initial couple of novels. He had received his graduate degrees in law and accounting, but neither was useful since that was not where his interest lay. It lay in writing, which is when he decided to become a writer.
The first John Hart book was published in 2006 with the title The King of Lies. His debut novel was nominated for several awards, including the Edgar, Anthony, Barry, and Macavity Awards.
His second book, Down River, published in 2007, was also nominated for the Barry Awards and the Edgar Awards, the second one which he also won. It was the first award this author won for his writing.
Next, the third of the John Hart books, The Last Child, which is also the first in his Johnny Merrimon series, was nominated for the Anthony Awards and won the Barry and Edgar Awards. As far as the awards are concerned, he is so far the only writer to have earned two consecutive Edgar Awards for best novel.
Some additional awards his books won are the Southern Independent Bookseller’s Award for Fiction, the Ian Fleming Steel Dagger Award, the Southern Book Prize and the North Carolina Award for Literature. It is no surprise that his books earned so many awards. After all, the novels have been often compared to works by legal thriller authors John Grisham and Scott Turow.
The author’s books have over 2 million copies in print and have been translated into over 30 languages and sold in no less than 70 countries worldwide.
Before becoming a full-time writer, John Hart worked as a criminal defense attorney, a stockbroker, an apprentice helicopter mechanic, and a banker. Back in the day, he didn’t have as much time to write as he has now since he has been working full time as an author. Doing so, he used to wake up at 4 am just to grab a couple of hours of writing novels.
Before his debut success, he wrote two novels that never saw the light of day.
He always wanted to become a writer, he was dreaming about this all his life, but he didn’t believe he could pull it off until he actually tried it, when he began writing his first novel. To write the first book he actually left his successful law practice. He wrote the book, but as it took him 4 years to publish it, as he didn’t want to be a lawyer any longer, he went on to become a stockbroker for a while.
Although scary, he did pull it off because he never really cared all that much about being a lawyer. It was never his dream career. Writing was.
The Last Child, the first Johnny Merrimon book by John Hart is told from a child’s point of view, which is different from the author’s previous novels, which were all told as an adult white male’s perspective.
Having read the book, I think the writer pulled it off quite well in his book. The author never intended to create sequels for his book, yet Johnny, the 13-year-old child, stuck with the author for many years, so eventually, he brought him back as a young man.
In the second book, The Hush, by John Hart 10 years have passed since the evens in The Last Child, so Johnny is no longer a young kid. He now lives in The Hush Arbour as a loner, on a land that his father left him, and his best friend, Jack, is a lawyer. But, as the past never leaves one quite alone, some strange things are happening on that land which lead one back right to those old and almost forgotten times.
If you haven’t read the first book in the series, you can still pick up The Hush and read it as a standalone. The author gives just enough background story for people to understand the main characters’ origin. Thus, overall, reading the John Hart books in order is not a requirement. For his book series, it is nice to do it, but you will not really lose anything by doing it.
Having read pretty much all the author’s books so far, I do believe that this book series makes some of the John Hart best books so far.
John Hart Awards and Nominations
Over the years, John Hart has received the following awards and nominations for his books. He is the only novelist to have won the Edgar Award for best novel for consecutive novels.
- Anthony Award nominee for Best First Novel in 2007 for The King of Lies
- Barry Award nominee for Best First Novel in 2007 for The King of Lies
- Edgar Award nominee for Best First Novel in 2007 for The King of Lies
- Macavity Award nominee for Best First Novel in 2007 for The King of Lies
- Barry Award nominee for Best Novel in 2008 for Down River
- Edgar Award winner for Best Novel in 2008 for Down River
- Anthony Award nominee for Best Novel in 2010 for The Last Child
- Barry Award winner for Best Novel in 2010 for The Last Child
- Edgar Award winner Best Novel in 2010 for The Last Child
Amazing writer . As I read his books I realize what an unbelievable story teller John is. I start to read another book and I got another package delivered with more of his novels. I did not even think twice to shut the book I was reading and pick up the new Jon Hart. I can say literally so many times the hair on my arms stood up not just because it was eerie or creepy story but the fact that the braiding is so hauntingly beautiful. You will never regret reading any novel this man is written. The book stay with you.
I love John Hart’s books. Have read all of them, and look avidly for the next one. From the first page I am
always thoroughly hooked. This is the meaning of a really good writer. Looking forward to John’s next
book, just hope we don’t have to wait too long. I am currently rereading all his books. And enjoying them
just as much the second time round. I know you are a friend of John Gresham and admire him greatly, but
I think you are a far better writer.