Literary Quote of the Month

“For poems are not, as people think, simply emotions (one has emotions early enough)—they are experiences,” … Rilke, The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Natchez Burning by Greg Iles.. a Review

I read this book so fast that it wasn't just Natchez Burning, it was the pages of the book burning!

When I was checking out the new books coming out at the end of April, I stumbled upon The Bone Tree by Greg Iles. It sounded like just the thing I was in the mood for at the time… kind of a murder/police procedural with a gung ho ex-procecutor in the heart of the deep south. BUT, then I read that this was part of a trilogy and this was book 2. It's not always a sin to read books out of order, and The Bone Tree seemed as though it was dealing with new circumstances with the same characters, but ultimately I decided to read what was considered the first book in the trilogy, Natchez Burning. And I am so glad I did!… But first let's talk about Natchez Burning by Greg Iles

The setting for Natchez Burning is Natchez, Mississippi. The book opens in the 1960's, the era of the Ku Klux Klan, where 3 unsolved murders of black men, will remain in the mind of a young white man who grows up to be a journalist and spends his adult life trying to find justice for them.

Greg Iles delves deep to make this an incredible read. Not just for the way he writes about the historical time period, but for the way this book comes alive with such amazing characters that truly breath life into the story. As the pieces of the 50 year puzzle came together, I was literally on the edge of my seat and flipping those pages as fast as I could. It was exciting, frightening, and heart stopping. Good cops, bad cops, surprising twists, bad guys looking for redemption, a swamp you never want to be taken to… and a great start to a planned 3 book trilogy… my only "not so glowing" part of this review is that the ending was a bit monotonous. There are quite a few characters and as the story hit that pivotal moment when all hell breaks loose, it got a bit crowded with too many characters having major parts. But up until that point the book was superbly written. And just because it got a bit muddy at the end does not mean I would steer you away from reading this. READ THIS!

And now, why you need to read this book first and the trilogy in order… Because when I started book 2, The Bone Tree, it started off exactly where book one ended. And for the next 80 pages (give or take a few) the story rehashed the ending of book 1. Now if I had read book 2 first, I would have known what happened and how everything worked out without the thrill of the surprise. It almost seemed as though the first 2 books were really just a huge tome that the publishers had to cut off somewhere because who's going to read a 1700 page book, right?! The first book is about 875 pages and book 2 is about 800 pages. I am on page 89 of The Bone Tree (yes, I had to immediately start book 2 because I am hooked) and waiting for things to heat up again.

If you love murder mysteries, Natchez Burning is right up your alley. It is a kind of police procedural, but not as stringent as you would normally expect. The murders are ultimately revealed and solved as each character reveals their part it either the act or the hunting down of the people responsible.


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