Review: NATCHEZ BURNING by Greg Iles (William Morrow) | Civilian Reader
Greg Iles concludes his spectacular “Natchez Burning” trilogy romantic relationship with his nurse, Viola Turner, who is African-American. Often grim and frequently horrifying, these Natchez Burning novels set their . Denver Public Library is closing a chapter on fines for overdue books and goodies. Natchez Burning is a historical mystery by Greg Iles. What he discovers for certain is that Viola's brother had a relationship with a wealthy white girl many years ago. As this is the first book in a trilogy, the ending is left unresolved. The trilogy that began with “Natchez Burning” continues with a look inside follow the closing moments of “Natchez Burning,” which ended with a have had a relationship with an African American nurse named Viola Turner.
Review: NATCHEZ BURNING by Greg Iles (William Morrow)
Natchez Burning is the fourth in a series starring Penn Cage, who is a mystery writer, prosecuting attorney, and now mayor. Despite some references to earlier cases, I didn't feel lost starting the series here.
On the other hand, I have no doubt that readers who have read all the Penn Cage books will have a deeper connection to the characters, the city of Natchez, and the situations described in the book. Note that Natchez Burning is the first in a planned trilogy within the Penn Cage universe. Penn Cage's worst nightmare comes true when his father--a revered and much-loved physician--is accused of murdering a black woman who was once his nurse and rumored lover.
Never mind that Viola was dying of cancer and that Dr. Tom Cage hadn't seen her in almost forty years, witnesses could place the doctor at her house the night she died of an apparent adrenaline overdose.National Writers Series: Greg Iles
Meanwhile, Viola's death also stirs up a local civil rights investigative reporter, a hate-crime syndicate, and many old wounds and personal rivalries. Can Penn clear his father's name before his father is sent to jail? Iles created a multilayered story that exposes some of the ugliness of the Jim Crow South and the still-unresolved racial divide. Although the bulk of the novel takes place in modern times, there are references to the postwar years, Korea, and the tumultuous s. The description of the hate crimes and the people who instigated them are not for the weak-stomached.
The characters and the emotional connections between them are realistic, and the complex political, ethical, and philosophical issues left me with a lot to think about. What I didn't like: Iles packs quite a bit of story in this novel, and much of the background is given in long speeches in which one character is telling another about some important past event.
There are also a number of passages in which characters are remembering their youth, so that readers can grasp the complexity of the situation or understand the motives or true beliefs of the individual in question.
After awhile, however, I just craved more firsthand action instead the long recollections. I got my wish for a lot of action here. This, too, was well done — there are no sudden leaps of logic or improbable epiphanies.
Each character works with the knowledge they actually have. All of which adds further verisimilitude to the narrative. Some of the other perspective characters are reprehensible, truly evil people — Snake Knox, Brody Royal to name but two — and their actions are shocking and horrifying.
Men Reading Books: Natchez Burning by Greg Iles
This does not always end well, and their conflicting goals create a couple of the most dangerous situations in the novel. However, the various storylines converge quite nicely as the narrative progresses. The ending sets up the next book very well, too. This is probably what jumped out at me first, and helped me sink into the story so quickly — the place felt lived in, very well established.
I think there were moments that could have been tightened up or truncated, but I cannot deny that I was hooked. Very quickly, I found myself picking the novel up at any and every opportunity, even if I only had time to read a handful of pages. The immersive, epic storytelling made it addictive. This is a fantastic first book in an epic, far-reaching trilogy.