Natchez Burning

Natchez Burning

Book - 2014
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#1 New York Times bestselling author Greg Iles returns with this highly anticipated first novel in five years and auspicious start of a trilogy featuring Penn Cage.

As a former prosecutor and writer living in the small town of Natchez, Mississippi, where he grew up, Penn Cage has always been a fighter. He's never been one to see injustice and do nothing about it. He learned it from his father, Tom Cage, a beloved family doctor who spent decades taking care of folks no matter their origin or circumstance, rich or poor, black or white. Penn has always thought of his dad as a kind of Atticus Finch-like character, a man who had guts and backbone, even when his friends and neighbors didn't. And the old adage couldn't be more true: "Like father, like son". Or is it?

In a place like rural Mississippi, when the issues are race and crime, the pressures are formidable and the risks no less life-threatening. So when Tom Cage finds himself on the verge of being charged with murder-of his long-time nurse assistant and friend Viola Turner-Penn knows he must find the truth and rescue his father. The catch: his father believes client privilege forbids him from talking about the night in question and so refuses to say anything to help himself or Penn.

Penn soon learns that Viola's death is only the tip of the iceberg-for it brings into question several horrific, unsolved murders in the 1960s, one of which was her brother's. And it points to a group of secretive KKK members who call themselves the "Double Eagles", a crew that has cut a swath across the area for decades and includes Brody Royal, one of the wealthiest and most ruthless businessmen in the state, and brothers Frank and Snake Knox, men who have been born and bred to always get their way. Until now.

Rich in Southern atmosphere and electrifying plot turns, Natchez Burning is a high-water mark for Greg Iles. It marks the return of a genuine American master of suspense and a sensational new page in a brilliant career.

Publisher: New York : William Morrow, An Imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, c2014
ISBN: 9780062311078
Branch Call Number: FIC Iles
Characteristics: 791 p. ; 24 cm


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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.

Jun 18, 2015

Having read all of Iles' books, this one kept me up all night. Started off slow as is common with Mr. Iles and then, whammy, double whammy and ends up leaving me wanting more! Read the Large Print edition at a whopping 1,384 pages and again -WOW.

May 30, 2015

Seeing this book on the store shelves, I was intrigued immediately with the reviews. With outstanding reviews from Dan Brown, John Grisham, Jodi Picoult, Scott Turow, and Stephen King, I had to at least skim this book. Receiving reviews from other best-selling authors is a great achievement in itself. Even getting these busy writers to actually read your material can yield mixed results.

Natchez Burning is a giant book compared to the ones beside it on the shelves. However, true to what Stephen King said, “I defy you to start Natchez Burning and find a way to put it down.” I did indeed have a hard time putting it down. I completed this 880 page book in 3 days.

Greg Iles had me hooked from the beginning. From the first 10 pages, I knew I had to finish it. The main character, Penn, (a rich, white Mayor of Natchez) tries to help his doctor father who is charged with murder. But, along the way, Penn discovers a lot of interesting (and some disgusting) things about his father’s past. Based in Natchez, Mississippi in the 1960s, race wars are in full swing. With a huge, powerful (and crooked) family, a damaged political system, the KKK, a menacing police force, and history-making civil rights movements, this book is packed full of action and suspense.

However, because this story was so long, I found toward the end I got tired of the main character’s larger-than-live superheroisms. While I can imagine being in his shoes and living his life over the few days the book is set, I found it hard to read he (and his rich, white girlfriend) lost that fearfulness at the end. After all, their lives are in danger and they can’t trust anyone around them. When confronted by the powerful ego-maniacs in charge, I found it somewhat unbelievable that two rich white adults who have obviously never suffered in their lives to overstep boundaries like these two characters did.

I really enjoyed the story up until the end where it turned into a Hollywood shootout with a few strings missing. I didn’t expect this epic tale to end like that. A bit jarring.
-- Tofts Reviews

May 01, 2015

There is a second book. The Bone Tree.

Apr 03, 2015

Another Iles book featuring Penn Cage and his father who is accused of murder. Set in the southern USA ,it jumps back and forth from the present to the 60's and features that toxic mix of racism, the KKK and the murder of Blacks, Although long at nearly 800 pages it never lagged and I relished getting back to the book after putting it down for the night. Fast paced and interesting characters kept me up many nights. Highly recommended if you don't mind some violence with your drama.

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May 30, 2015

lisatofts thinks this title is suitable for All Ages


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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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