Author: John Hart
While I love just about any genre (okay, except sci-fi and robots, and fantasy that involves gnomes), my fall-back, never miss genre has always been mysteries. I can still pick up any dime-store novel, even if it's poorly written, and cruise through it on vacation. As long as it keeps me guessing, I'm in.
A couple years ago, my book club picked John Hart's first book The Last Child. The story revolved around a years'-old mystery surrounding a missing child, the remaining mother and son, as well as a deadbeat dad who abandoned the family. However, it was more than a mystery...it told the story of what happens to a family when a child is lost, as well as the aftermath amongst the townspeople. Hart is a master at fleshing out both characters and the relationships among them.
Since then, I have read all of his books...The King of Lies (story of a father's murder and his dysfunctional relationship with his son), Down River (story of returning son who has been accused of murder in the past and gets wrapped up in another murder, along with a wacky dysfunctional family), and my personal favorite, Iron House (story of the past with a creepy foster care home and the consequences it has had on its graduates). The best part of Hart's mysteries...I am usually still guessing at 'who done it' in the end, and after years and years of reading mysteries and watching old Law and Order shows, I'm usually pretty good at figuring it out. Hart always has a few good twists, plus the man can actually write. If you like a good mystery, you can't go wrong with any of these. They read fast and are definitely page turners.