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Extended Audio Sample Down River: A Novel Audiobook, by John Hart Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (4,518 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: John Hart Narrator: Scott Sowers Publisher: Macmillan Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: October 2007 ISBN: 9781427201942
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The New York Times bestselling and Edgar Award-winning novel with from an author whose "prose is like Raymond Chandler's, angular and hard" (Entertainment Weekly).

Adam Chase has spent the last five years in New York City trying to erase his worst memories and the scorn and abandonment of his family. Then a phone call from his best friend awakens in him a torrent of emotion and pain. Having left North Carolina and its red soil for good, he never thought returning would be easy—but being remembered as a murderer doesn't help much. Adam is beaten, accosted, and hostilely confronted by his family, including Grace, the young woman whose abandonment torments him still.

Then people start turning up dead.

Within this small Southern town, John Hart explores the lengths to which people will go for money, family, and pure greed—and whether or not forgiveness is ever attainable.

Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Southern writer John Hart's work has a lyrical quality that Scott Sowers narrates with a growling weariness...The combination of Hart and Sowers provides the perfect marriage of prose and voice. Together they enable the book to transcend genre fiction and become something exceptional. AudioFile, Earphones Award Winner

  • Scott Sowers delivers a solid performance reading Hart's powerful second novel…Hart writes with an intimate sense of melancholy and loss that Sowers resonates perfectly. Using a low-key, Southern accent to good advantage, Sowers draws the listener into the story from the very beginning with his simple, earnest delivery, and holds them tight. Publishers Weekly
  • An ambitious debut thriller...well spun...a gripping performance. People on The King of Lies
  • There hasn't been a thriller as showily literate since Scott Turow came along. The New York Times

  • “This book should settle once and for all the question of whether thrillers and mysteries can also be literature.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “As in his Edgar-nominated debut, The King of Lies, Hart takes his time, snaring the reader with evocative storytelling and lush prose.”

    Boston Globe

  • “A sensitive rumination on the emotional force of family dynamics.”

    Washington Post

  • “There are few books published that can legitimately be called a ‘must-read,’ but this is one of them.”

    Chicago Sun-Times

  • “An engrossing, bittersweet reading experience that expertly evokes William Faulkner, John Grisham, and John Berendt.”

    Mystery Scene

  • Down River is a beautifully constructed story of personal redemption, family secrets, and murder—a small-town epic…A truly splendid novel with a deep emotional core.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • “Hart’s sophomore effort surpasses his debut…This work is reminiscent of Raymond Chandler’s novels…The writing is simply superb.”

    Library Journal (starred review)

  • “Hart’s work invokes the spirit of the best of southern literature. Down River puts readers in the mind of topics explored by Thomas Wolfe, Tennessee Williams, and William Faulkner, with a contemporary vision and edge that is memorable and haunting. Hart is a deep and strong talent whose future offerings will be greatly anticipated and welcomed.”

    BookReporter.com

  • A 2008 Barry Award Finalist for Best Novel
  • Winner of the 2008 Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best Novel
  • Winner of an AudioFile Earphones Award
  • Among longlisted titles for Audible.com Best of the Year, 2007
  • Winner of Edgar Allan Poe Award Winner, 2008
  • Among longlisted titles for AudioFile Best Voices, 2008

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Amy Bradley | 2/11/2014

    " The cover warranted a look inside this book. When I discovered it took place in North Carolina, I had to read it. Adam Chase is aquitted of murder in Rowan County and is run out of town. Adam returns several years later to right some wrongs. There are many twists and turns along the way among the relationships between the characters. The ending took me by surprise. I would recommend this book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jo | 2/9/2014

    " First book I have read for John Hart, and I can say that I couldn't put down the book till I finished it. Not that it was all amazing & had a waw factor ... on the contrary, I just wanted to see how the end was!!! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Carolyn Teague | 1/31/2014

    " Mystery story of a man from a wealthy, Southern family who was accused of murder, acquitted, moved to NY then returned home after 5 years. Upon his arrival there is another murder, assault, etc. Lots of family dysfunction and secrets. I had it figured out early on....not one of my favorites. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Joanne7758 Hoffman | 1/19/2014

    " I couldn't put this book down. Adam Chase and his ridiculously dysfunctional family is a wonderfully nuanced characterand even though you may figure out part of the mystery, you never get it all which keeps you reading until the last page. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Tim | 1/18/2014

    " Really good book! It was not a formula mystery and kept you thinking and wondering throughout the entire book. I enjoyed the characters and the plot. Plus it is set in the South by a southern writer. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Maureen Chason | 1/13/2014

    " Didn't like it as much as "The Last Child" but was still well worth reading. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Amanda | 1/12/2014

    " As the central mystery unfolds in this book, so does the mystery of the main character's past--even the past he was not aware of. Secrets are revealed and many are forced to come to terms with decisions they have made. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Leslie aka StoreyBook Reviews | 1/8/2014

    " first book I read by this author, very good! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jeffrey Hammerhead | 1/7/2014

    " John Hart won the Edgar in 2008 for this book. Lots of twists and suspense. An excellant read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Cathy | 12/21/2013

    " At first it seemed like any other crime drama, but the characters grew on me and I found myself actually liking the book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Orla | 12/20/2013

    " Thoroughly enjoyed all the twists in this novel "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jane L. | 11/24/2013

    " I had a hard time liking the central character, due to his rashness and anger issues. I could identify with none of the characters in the book at all. Plot was more the author's strength. Lots of action and a good mystery, even though I pretty much guessed the "killer". "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Randy Holmberg | 11/24/2013

    " Books was pretty good despite a slow build. I think enjoyed John Hart's King of Lies more than this one...despite that I enjoyed this book and will probably pick up another book by this author soon. Good legal / murder mystery kind of books. Was surprised in the end but it all made sense. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Cmayorga Mayorga | 9/26/2013

    " This book was a page turner. I thought I figured the story out, but I was wrong. Good suspense novel that kept my attention throught the entire novel. It was a bitch to find though! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nancy Banks | 9/19/2013

    " Finished book and enjoyed it very much! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Justaskmom | 9/14/2013

    " This book reminded me of a contemporary Tennessee Williams novel...in a good way. Family secrets unraveling page by page. I could not put this book down until I finished it in the middle of the night. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 David Beck | 7/9/2013

    " A very good and complicated story. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Paula | 3/19/2013

    " Not as good as his other books. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Irene Ziegler | 1/21/2013

    " This won an Edgar Award, so I picked it up. I put it back down. I'll stick with James Lee Burke. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lynette Barfield | 11/28/2012

    " This is an amazing author. This book is not quite as good, in my opinion, as Iron House and The Last Child, but it is still really good. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Connie | 9/27/2012

    " John Hart does it again. Characters that are rich and deep, and a real gift of descriptive prose. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Free Beneke | 9/8/2012

    " I like his writing style, he always manages to get human relationships pretty accurate. Bit of suspense and some plot twists. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kennedy | 5/19/2012

    " Dude can write; very good murder mystery. Liked it a lot "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Janet | 4/2/2012

    " Good story, not too predictable. I listened to the audio version with Scott Sowers narrating, which was a plus. "The Last Child" was better, but I liked this one well enough that I'll read/listen to his next one, "Iron House." "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lisa Beyeler | 11/2/2011

    " Captivating read. Characterization is fabulous, the plot is captivating, I couldn't put it down! Excellent slice of life mystery. I usually figure out 'who done its' within the first 2 or 3 chapters but this one fooled me. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kathy Adamson | 8/15/2011

    " Writing is a gift and John Hart received a double dose. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Stefanie | 6/16/2011

    " I loved this book. I just wish Hart would have wrote more into the ending. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jane | 5/16/2011

    " I had a hard time liking the central character, due to his rashness and anger issues. I could identify with none of the characters in the book at all. Plot was more the author's strength. Lots of action and a good mystery, even though I pretty much guessed the "killer". "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Menofamily | 5/13/2011

    " Undoubtedly better than his first! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Cara | 5/3/2011

    " you wont be abe to put this book down!! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jessica | 5/2/2011

    " I absolutely love love loved this book. I simply could not put it down. Great book. Excellent writing. I love Hart's prose. Beautiful. Likeable relatable characters, mystery, love, family dynamics. Amazing! Highly recommend. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Pat | 5/2/2011

    " I received this book as a gift. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Marge | 4/28/2011

    " Have now read all three of Hart's novels and can say that he is getting better with each one of his stories that always involve families and the relationships within. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Pam | 4/26/2011

    " Another great mystery from John Hart "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mary | 4/25/2011

    " After reading "The Last Child" I was ready for something else by John Hart. Again he adds dimension to the mystery with a look at the themes of family and forgiveness. Engaging story. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Nancy | 4/22/2011

    " Fast moving tale of a man's ties with a river and his past. Once again, John Hart has written a captivating story of a man who perseveres against all odds of exposing the truth. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Amy | 4/12/2011

    " So far, real good. When I can't wait to pick up my kindle, then I know I have a good one!

    Finished it last night. Had me guessing to the end. I thought I had it all figured out, but I didn't. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Rachel | 4/11/2011

    " I was in the mood for a mystery/thriller and this fit the bill. I have read his other books and they keep you entertained with the plot and it's many twists. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sue | 4/9/2011

    " Good story, learning the family secrets that contribute to a young man who is returning home. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jeanie | 4/1/2011

    " Heavy topics - searching for happiness, what happened in the past and how has it shaped the person. "

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About the Author
Author John Hart

John Hart is the author of several New York Times bestsellers. He is the only author in history to win the Edgar Award for Best Novel consecutively, and he 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 languages and can be found in more than seventy countries.

About the Narrator

Scott Sowers is an actor and audiobook narrator. AudioFile magazine named him the 2008 Best Voice in Mystery and Suspense. He is the winner of seven Earphones Awards.