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Ratings and Book Reviews ()

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4.7 out of 5
5 Stars
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  • Could not put this book down

    4.5 stars that I will gladly round up to 5. The Unwilling is a story full of action, family drama, loyalty , murder and corruption. The French Family is at the center of story during the height of the Vietnam war. One brother is dead, one is back from the war but not in a good place and one has already registered for the draft When Jason comes back and meets up with Gibby, they decide to spend the day together. Things go horribly wrong and from here on in The Unwilling is non stop action, brutal at times . Its a dark and compelling story that captured my attention and kept the midnight light burning. John Hart is a great storyteller and The Unwilling is no exception.

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  • War shapes people for good or ill

    This book deals with so many serious topics and does a wonderful job with them! There is the French family who lost one son to the Vietnam war and another son to the after effects of that war with drugs and prison time. It starts out with Jason being released from prison and going back to his hometown and reconnecting with the one brother that remained at home (Gibby) smothered by his mother trying to protect the one "good" son that she has left. Unfortunately, secret plans abound and an awful murder is committed to further those plans. That bit was fairly graphic (the description of the murder) and there are several other parts as well. It made for much confusion among the cops trying to solve the case, including Jason and Gibby's father and sent them down the wrong path. This is definitely a thrilling book and I liked it and how it ended where you find out the truth of several things, like Jason's role in the war and how it shaped him. Well written!

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  • Frightful, atmospheric, and spine-chilling!

    The Unwilling is an engrossing, gritty novel that transports you to Charleston, South Carolina, during 1972 when the Vietnam War is still being waged and Detective Bill French, unfortunately, finds himself mixed up in a complex investigation involving a heinous killer with a penchant for sadism, and a young murder victim that seems to have known both his teenage son, Gibby and his delinquent, adult son, Jason a little too well. The prose is meticulous and crisp. The characters are raw, scarred, and maudlin. And the plot, including all the subplots, unravel and intertwine effortlessly into an ominous tale filled with mixed emotions, manipulation, deceit, corruption, grief, violence, and murder. I have to admit that I have been a huge fan of John Hart since 2006 when he published his debut novel, The King of Lies. And even though I didn’t love The Unwilling as much as some of his older ones, it is still an intricate, sinister, well-written whodunit filled with an abundance of deeply flawed characters that I thoroughly enjoyed.

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  • The Unwilling

    I have read every one of John Hart’s books and this one was the absolute BEST. It began like a steamroller and never stopped.

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  • Excellent

    The Unwilling by John Hart Multilayered magnificent look at a fractured family dealing with multiple issues. This book took me back to memories of high school when we sent cookies and letters to soldiers in Vietnam, letters I received thanking me, news clips, and the remembered dread of “what if someone I know is drafted?” It is not just the memories evoked that drew me…no…but those were as real to me as the characters described in this book. What I liked: * Jason: a complex man, war veteran, brother, son, and over time I grew to admire, root for, and wish him future success – would love to have a crystal ball to see how he was a decade later. * Gibby: graduating from high school, interested in Beck, conflicted about his future, beginning to assert himself – on the brink of becoming a man to be reckoned with. * Robert: the twin that was lost to war and a big part of the story though never seen in the flesh. * Chance: a good friend of Gibby’s through good times and bad. I wouldn’t mind seeing him in a story of his own a few years down the road. * Becky: smart, attractive, empathetic, strong and a perfect first love for Gibby * The darker side of the story and the impact of X on so many * Watching the growth of various characters as the story progressed. It wasn’t just the younger generation that grew and changed. * The conflict within Detective William French and how he grappled with it. * Ken Burklow: French’s homicide detective partner, Korean war veteran, good friend to both French and his sons. * The way some of the bad guys were outsmarted. * The revelations that Gibby and his father made related to Jason. * The closeness I felt between the brothers. * The high dive aspect of the book that ties in well with the cover – loved how the decisions were made to or not to dive. * The real feel of the story…or at least most of it. * The excellent writing, plotting and overall story. * All of it really except… What I didn’t like: * Knowing that there are sadists, sadistic mercenaries, and psychopaths that exist in this world just like the ones in this book * Gabrielle: wife of detective French and mother to Robert, Jason, and Gibby. I had moments I wanted to smack her, sit her down and give her a talking to, or…something worse. * A few of the homicide detectives… Did I enjoy this book? Yes Would I read more by this author? Definitely Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for the ARC – This is my honest review. 5 Stars

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