Natchez Burning

Natchez Burning

Book - 2014
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Penn Cage must investigate when his father, a beloved family doctor and pillar of the community, is accused of murdering Violet Davis, the beautiful nurse with whom he worked in the dark days of the early 1960s.
Publisher: New York, NY : William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, [2014]
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9780062311078
Call Number: MYS ILE
Characteristics: 791 pages ; 24 cm


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Jan 24, 2020

This is a story about family - the struggle between fathers and grown sons on both sides of the law. There are questions to be answered and seeds of doubt to be planted. The author’s skilled use of foreshadowing develops a smoldering sense of foreboding right from the get-go. He cleverly ties in references to the King/Kennedy’s assassinations with the KKK – a new angle to the conspiracy theories.

A fitting and amusing side light are the pistol packing geriatric friends of his father as well as Southern dowagers who supply subtle possibly essential gossip which furthers the story line. Mental illness and multiple personalities are used as a plot device and obstacle for the main character who is painstakingly trying to sift facts from mentally disturbed townsfolk. Dread and tension build as the author weaves story lines together using a chance encounter between characters heretofore unknown to each other. This author expertly sets up the story line for the next book in the series.

The reader, David Ledoux, well uses his vocal talents to tease listeners deeper into the story line the author ably sets out and keeps us there throughout this book.

It’s a real treat to follow this series through the years in the characters lives reveling in the author’s skill in crafting the events laid out in this story. Treat yourself to a re-listening of this series, too. It’s delicious to return to the series because you anticipate what’s coming for the characters and can truly fully appreciate the nuggets of foreshadowing/clues the author casually drops like breadcrumbs for all of us to follow to the unexpected end. Get cozy, throw another disc on the player and travel to Natchez for the evening…ok, the next few evenings!

Apr 28, 2019

Given the current political climate as related to racism, this was a great find. Unfamiliar with the author, his storytelling talent is outstanding and like the story, he's had a personal life 'plot twist' which hasn't impacted his ability one iota. Since he lives in Natchez, MS his knowledge of the barbaric treatment of African Americans by the Double Eagles, a spin off from the KKK is substantial. Add to that a cynical monster that directs the members, an innocent doctor on the run, a son trying to save him while his fiance chases a Pulitzer, and plot twists that constantly evolve, the story is filled with excitement. In the beginning, I struggled with the barbaric treatment used by the Double Eagles difficult. Overall, Greg is a tremendous author and worth reading if crime/action genre is amenable. Highly recommended!

Mar 26, 2019

Man oh man. Good read. Crazy story line. Kept you wanting to turn the page. Ending was.. see for yourself...

Mar 20, 2019

First of a trilogy- Bone Tree next, then Mississippi Blood

Sep 07, 2017

I have read the trilogy and wish there had been a Readers Digest Condensed version. I'm sure two books would have sufficed. Way to wordy and repetitive. Characters that repeatedly make horrible decisions. The author must have set out with a trilogy in mind regardless of the content. I struggled and stuck it out to the end, skipping pages to find out what the end really was.

Jun 27, 2017

This book was a disservice to the black men, women, and children who died during the Civil Rights Movement. I won't go into detail on this thought because it would lead to many spoilers, but there is not one black character who is a main character, a good guy, or lives to the end of the book. A strong black supporting character would have done a lot to help show the race relations in this book. The book was basically white people shocked about the brutality of white people and how white people try to solve these murders.
The author failed to address the systemic racism that currently exists in the state and the country. In the book, racism is only shown as something that exists among the villains. By doing this, the author creates a false narrative that only the KKK was guilty of the killing of black people. All white people in the book who lived in the 1960s were guilty because they never took any actions to seeks justice. In the book, the white characters feel sad about the murders, but they say "why didn't they move North to avoid persecution?" But a better question would be "why did the people of Natchez create an environment to fuel racism?"
The writing was amazing, but the story could have been 200 pages shorter. The last part is basically a typically thriller, but the beginning and middle make the reader think the problems can be solved through law or diplomacy. This contrast led to a weird dissonance. Though it's highly possible the author did this because he knows the law does not favor African Americans.

Jun 27, 2017

A long book indeed.. nearly 790 pages. It petered out towards the end, but I'd read Iles again. 3.5 out of 5 stars

Feb 01, 2017

Great action book with a historical background about a dark time in our country's history. Good characters and lots of twists and turns. I'm going to read the next one very shortly.

Jan 03, 2017

I loved this book! I immediately got the follow up to it, "The Bone Tree" and was up till 4 a.m. this morning finishing it. Thoroughly enjoyed both and I'm on pins and needles until the 3rd and final installment comes out in March 2017.

cmlibrary_cwood Dec 21, 2015

The first of a trilogy, although the fourth book involving main character Penn Cage, Natchez Burning takes you to present day Natchez, Mississippi where lawyer turned writer turned mayor Penn Cage suddenly finds himself trying to help his father who has been charged with murder. However, as the story moves along, you find out that there is more to this murder charge and Iles takes us back to the tumultuous times of Natchez in the 60’s where it all began. The story then weaves together the events from decades prior and their consequences in the present. An engaging read, although it does drag at times, you still find yourself turning the page to find out what really happened and whether Penn’s father will be cleared of the charges. Iles uses many characters from his previous books, so it is helpful to read those first, but it is not necessary. Overall it is as much a commentary on race and social relations in the South as it is a mystery. It does have darker, violent aspects that some people may be uncomfortable with, but it attempts to show the perspective of southerners during the 60's and how that mindset is reflected today.

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May 30, 2014

Natchez Burning is the first installment in an epic trilogy that weaves crimes, lies, and secrets past and present into a mesmerizing thriller featuring southern mayor and former prosecutor Penn Cage.


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May 30, 2014

“Nothing frightens me more than the faith in my daughter’s eyes. How many men deserve that kind of trust? One by one, the mentors I’ve most admired eventually revealed chinks in their armor, cracks in their façades, and tired feet of clay—or worse.”


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