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John Hart the guest for Summer Reading Challenge

It was a long, hot summer, and the first day of fall was dark and stormy.
Maybe you read something light and laughable during the summer.
Maybe you read something else — John Hart’s thriller, “Iron House.”
Hart and his book are the focus of 2011’s Summer Reading Challenge, which culminates Thursday with an on-stage interview at Trinity Oaks Retirement Community with book page editor Deirdre Parker Smith.
This year’s event tackled what everyone was talking about anyway — everyone who has been following Hart for the last few years.
He made his debut with “The King of Lies,” a tale of betrayal and murder set right here in the streets of Salisbury. No, that was not you on page 139.
He followed it up with “Down River,” with a new troubled man who must prove himself and his innocence. Hart took us down the road apiece to the banks of the mighty Yadkin.
Then he gave us Johnny Merrimon, the troubled child of a disintegrated family who puts himself in incredible danger to find out what happened to his kidnapped sister in “The Last Child.”
With each of these novels, there was an element of darkness, a touch of Southern Gothic, that pulled readers into the vivid settings and made the characters lifelike.
Hart has now made the leap to a more commercial genre — the thriller. But “Iron House” is full of Hart’s intense relationships and moody places.
He keeps re-inventing himself as a writer, using his best talents to keep us hooked, no matter what the story is.
After formal questions, the audience can pose their own queries at the Thursday event. It starts promptly at 7 p.m., with the interview, and continues with a book signing and refreshments.
Deal Safrit of Literary Bookpost will be on site to sell books for Hart to sign.
Once again, Barbara Setzer was the driving force in organizing the challenge, with help from Diane Hundley at Trinity Oaks.
Other sponsors are Catawba College, F&M Bank, Livingstone College, the Salisbury Post, Marathon Business Center, and, of course, the Bookpost.
You’ll like the new, cozier room, and there will be plenty of parking, complete with a shuttle bus and people directing traffic. Trinity Oaks is at 728 Klumac Road.
Already, more than 200 people have signed up. The event is free, but we do ask that you call 704-603-9204 by Tuesday to reserve a seat — we want to make sure everyone has a chair.
And as always, if you’ve read the book, plan to read it or never heard of it, you are welcome for this evening with award-winning, bestselling author John Hart, still a hometown boy.

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