Author: Greg Iles
Provided Synopsis: #1 New York Times bestselling novelist Greg Iles returns with his most eagerly anticipated book yet, and his first in five years – Natchez Burning, the first installment in an epic trilogy that weaves crimes, lies, and secret past and present into a mesmerizing thriller featuring Southern mayor and former prosecutor Penn Cage.
Review: Penn Cage is a former writer and criminal prosecutor who is now the mayor of his Mississippi hometown, Natchez. Up until this point of his life, he and the community have always held his father, Dr. Cage, in high regard and with plenty of faith. But how well does Penn truly know his father? Through the unknown course of events of a single night the sins of the past are pushed to the present-day’s light.
Dr. Cage is accused of the murder — through an assisted suicide or premeditated action — of a woman who used to be his nurse in the 1960s. The evidence that is available is up for many different interpretations, yet when Penn attempts to help his father prove his innocence Tom Cage refuses to speak on the matter. Flashbacks from forty years ago reveal the atmosphere of the town of Natchez as it struggled with race relations. A select few members of the Ku Klux Klan had separated to form a group called the Double Eagles. Their victim list is long, and none of the crimes they committed can be proven even in present day. Yet, somehow, all of the events of the past are connected with the death of Viola Turner, and to save his father Penn Cage will need to solve the mysteries of Natchez from long ago.
A word to describe the scope of this story is sweeping. Natchez Burning is only the first book of a planned trilogy to tell the story, yet it in now way felt like it served as only a set-up book. The crimes and the evidence lead in so many directions that it is clear it will take Penn some time to pull everything together, and as a reader I have every intention of going on this ride with him. The characters of the story leap of the page. The unraveling of the truth kept me engrossed. There are hate crimes, and prejudice, and so many awful actions that humans commit against other humans to read about in this story. For those interested in crime fictions and thrillers this would be the prefect book to dive into.
Before Natchez Burning I had never read a book by Greg Iles, and I think it is important to note this fact so people know they will not have to either. Characters from Penn’s past investigations are present, but they are explained with enough context to familiarize the unaware reader. Once again, this book is the beginning of a trilogy, so if you have ever been interested in a Penn Cage story by Greg Iles then this one is great to start with. The story is large, but there is satisfaction in the end as some reach justice. And all that remains to be done will leave you wanting more.