Book of the Week: Natchez Burning – Greg Iles

Bestselling writer Iles’ return to fiction after five years has been met with much anticipation. After living through a terrible accident in 2011, Iles refocused his writing and this novel is the beginning of a major trilogy about the South and our complex history of racism in the 20th century. If you’re a bookseller, the imminent arrival of this book likely isn’t news to you. What you will want to know is that the advance reviews are spectacular (four starred reviews!) and we expect many, many more strong reviews at on sale. So keep an eye on stock; we expect this to be a major bestseller from day one.

Iles talks about Natchez Burning below. Review excerpts follow.


“A searing tale of racial hatreds and redemption in the modern South, courtesy of Southern storyteller extraordinaire….Iles, a longtime resident of Natchez, knows his corner of Mississippi as well as Faulkner and Welty knew theirs….[He’s] a master of regional literature, though he’s dealing with universals here, one being our endless thirst to right wrongs. A memorable, harrowing tale.”
— Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“It’s been half a decade since Iles’ last Penn Cage novel, but, oh boy, was it worth the wait! . . . This beautifully written novel represents some of the author’s finest work, with sharper characterizations and a story of especially deep emotional resonance, and we eagerly await volume two.”
— Booklist (starred review)

Much more than a thriller, Iles’s deftly plotted fourth Penn Cage novel doesn’t flag for a moment….His father, Dr. Tom Cage, who has been an institution in the city for decades, faces the prospect of being arrested for murder. An African-American nurse, Viola Turner, who worked closely with Tom in the 1960s and was in the end stages of cancer, has died, and her son, Lincoln, believes that she was eased into death by a lethal injection….The mystery is inextricably interwoven with the violence Natchez suffered in the 1960s, including the stabbing of Viola’s brother by Ku Klux Klansmen in a fight. The case may also be connected to the traumatic political assassinations of the decade. This superlative novel’s main strength comes from the lead’s struggle to balance family and honor.”
Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“An absorbing and electrifying tale that thriller fans will be sure to devour.”
— Library Journal (starred review)

“Simply put, this is Faulkner’s Yoknapatawpha County for the Breaking Bad generation: life’s rich pageant, delivered unharnessed and uncensored by a writer at the peak of his powers who is mad as hell, and just as heartbroken.”
— BookPage

“Imagine William Faulkner and Stieg Larsson had a love child.  Natchez Burning—its plot hinging on unsolved murders during the civil rights movement—combines the pace of Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo with a Faulkneresque, bone-deep knowledge of Mississippi in all its beauty and racial torment.”
— AARP magazine

“Not only is this a page-turner of the first degree, but it’s also a great literary novel about civil rights and how far the movement hasn’t come. I have read several Greg Iles books before, but none of them prepared me for the intensity, the sheer audacity and ambitiousness of the whole thing!…This is my pick for the best book I have read so far this year….This wraps up a main storyline, but there are numerous open-ended questions that will probably haunt book clubs until the next book.  Really.  I cannot wait to sell this to people!”
— Bill Carl, The Booksellers on Fountain Square, Cincinnati, OH

Natchez Burning (9780062311078) Greg Iles. $27.99 hardcover. 4/29/14 one day laydown.

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