Fiction Short Take: Mississippi Burning – Greg Iles

This conclusion to Iles’ three-part thriller on race and the American South is such a slam dunk to be yet another bestseller that I almost skipped mentioning it. But watching my wife immerse herself in all three books over the last couple weeks reminded me what a completely compelling experience this story is.

With three stared advance reviews, Mississippi Blood does right be the fans–and there are still plenty of new fans to be found. I recommend displaying it along with the first two books in the series—Natchez Burning and The Bone Tree.

Iles’s terrific conclusion to his Natchez Burning trilogy is a sweeping story that remains intimate. The Double Eagles, a savage KKK splinter group, have declared a personal war on Penn Cage, a former prosecutor who’s now the mayor of Natchez, Miss., necessitating 24-hour security protection for him and his family. The toxic bigotry escalates as Penn’s father, Tom, once a respected physician, goes on trial for the murder of his former nurse and one-time lover, Viola Turner, an African-American who was suffering from terminal cancer…. [R]elentless pacing keeps the story churning, with unexpected brutality erupting on nearly every page. The trial scenes are among the most exciting ever written in the genre.”
Publishers Weekly (boxed starred review)

“Faulkner meets John D. MacDonald, and that’s all to the good. A boisterous, spills-and-chills entertainment from start to finish.”
Kirkus Reviews

“From his opening line, Iles draws you back into Penn Cage’s deep South in this phenomenal trilogy’s final novel…. [A] heart-racing, enthralling thriller.”
Library Journal (starred review)

“This trilogy is destined to become a classic of literary crime fiction.”
Booklist (starred review)

Mississippi Blood (9780062311153) by Greg Iles. $28.99 hardcover. 3/21/17 one day laydown.

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.