Natchez Burning by Greg Iles
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
As always, Greg Iles delivers with more than just a punch in this the fourth in the Penn Cage series and first in his epic trilogy about the sins, the sinners and the saints of the civil rights war in the 1960's south.
When Penn's father, Dr. Tom Cage, is accused of murdering the nurse who worked by his side in the days the KKK and a secret murderous cult known as the Double Eagles had more power and influence than J. Edgar Hoover and his army of FBI agents, secrets thought to be long buried ooze to the surface. Penn, devoted to his aging and ill father, disregards the past ghosts, though, now forty years in the rearview, to save his father from a corrupt DA and the hit the Double Eagles put out on Tom. But in the course of Penn's frantic efforts, he not only comes in conflict with the horrific past and those who will stop at nothing to keep their role hidden, but also his fiancé, the Noble Prize winning editor of the local newspaper. To get the jump on the story, she wants to reveal the web of terrorists who murdered several black men in the mid '60s before Tom, who has gone to ground, can be found.
Iles is a master of the thriller. "Edge of your seat" and "thrill ride" doesn't begin to describe this read. It's more like clawing at the walls while your fingernails rip and tear from their roots. I only have two minor critiques and is why the four star rating. 1) This is a Penn Cage novel and Penn is hardly a character for the first third of the book. 2) Iles is a bit repetitive on historic details. I found myself saying, "I already know that," when he would describe an event through a new characters eyes.
But don't let that get in the way of the read. If you love great thrillers, I guarantee that once you start reading "Natchez Burning" you'll find it almost impossible to put down.
View all my reviews