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February 1, 2021

The Unwilling by John Hart ~ a Review

by Susan Roberts

"Jason drank again and French wanted so much, just then.  He wanted to slap away the anger from his son, to pull him up and squeeze him so hard there'd be no question of favorites or history or love.  He wanted to say, 'You're my son goddamn it, and I don't care what you've done or what you are or even that you hate me.'  He wanted to hold the boy until his heart was flooded and the sun rose and his arms hurt. Instead, he nodded again and walked away."
( p 31)

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The Unwilling
February 2021; St. Martin's; 978-1250167729
audio, ebook, print (384 pages); historical thriller
I am a long-time John Hart fan and his new book will continue to add to his legacy as a fantastic writer in his genre. The Unwilling is a thriller but it is so much more. It's about love and family, brothers and friendship, war and grief.

The Unwilling takes place in North Carolina during the Vietnam war and centers around the French family. The father is a police detective who is trying to keep his family together, the mother lives her days in grief as she over-protects her third son. The three sons are Robert who was killed in Vietnam, Jason who was dishonorably discharged after three tours in Vietnam and has just gotten out of prison, and Gibby, a high school senior who desperately misses his brothers. When Jason returns from prison, he wants to re-connect with his younger brother. He doesn't want to see his parents because his mother made no secret of the fact that she wished he had died instead of her favorite son, Robert. When Jason and Gibby spend a day together, Jason brings along two females. One of them does something stupid in a drunken moment and it changes everything. When she is found murdered a few days later, Jason is the major suspect, and Gibby is also suspected when the second woman goes missing.  Gibby is determined to prove that his brother is innocent so he goes into the underground of drugs and violence to try to meet people who can give him information on his brother. What he finds out helps him better understand his brother but it also puts his life in great danger from the person who wants to put his brother back in jail.

This novel is a real page-turner and doesn't get resolved until almost the end. The characters are well written and strong as they each work to help out other family members. It's a dark and gritty book that will take the reader on a roller coaster ride of emotions and is full of characters that won't soon be forgotten. I predict that this book will be a MUST READ book for 2021.

Buy The Unwilling from Amazon

About John Hart

JOHN HART is the author of five New York Times bestsellers, The King of Lies, Down River, The Last Child, Iron House and, most recently, Redemption Road. 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.  
Susan Roberts lives in North Carolina with her husband of over 50 years.  She grew up in Michigan but now calls North Carolina home. Since her travel plans had to be canceled for this year, she is starting to make plans for travel in 2021. She reads almost anything (and the piles of books in her house prove that) but her favorite genres are Southern fiction, women's fiction, and historical fiction. Susan is a top 1% Goodreads Reviewer. You can connect with Susan on FacebookGoodreads, or Twitter.

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