Title: The Bone Tree Series: Natchez Burning #2
Publisher: William Morrow
Release Date: April 21, 2015
Genres: Mystery & Thriller
*I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.*
About The Bone Tree
Greg Iles continues the electrifying story begun in his smash New York Times bestseller Natchez Burning in this highly anticipated second installment of an epic trilogy of blood and race, family and justice, featuring Southern lawyer Penn Cage.
Former prosecutor Penn Cage and his fiancée, reporter and publisher Caitlin Masters, have barely escaped with their lives after being attacked by wealthy businessman Brody Royal and his Double Eagles, a KKK sect with ties to some of Mississippis most powerful men. But the real danger has only begun as FBI Special Agent John Kaiser warns Penn that Brody wasnt the true leader of the Double Eagles. The puppeteer who actually controls the terrorist group is a man far more fearsome: the chief of the state polices Criminal Investigations Bureau, Forrest Knox.
The only way Penn can save his father, Dr. Tom Cagewho is fleeing a murder charge as well as corrupt cops bent on killing himis either to make a devils bargain with Knox or destroy him. While Penn desperately pursues both options, Caitlin uncovers the real story behind a series of unsolved civil rights murders that may hold the key to the Double Eagles downfall. The trail leads her deep into the past, into the black backwaters of the Mississippi River, to a secret killing ground used by slave owners and the Klan for over two hundred years . . . a place of terrifying evil known only as the bone tree.
The Bone Tree is an explosive, action-packed thriller full of twisting intrigue and deadly secrets, a tale that explores the conflicts and casualties that result when the darkest truths of American history come to light. It puts us inside the skin of a noble man who has always fought for justicenow finally pushed beyond his limits.
Just how far will Penn Cage, the hero we thought we knew, go to protect those he loves?
About Greg Iles
Greg Iles spent most of his youth in Natchez, Mississippi, and studied the American novel under acclaimed southern writer Willie Morris at the University of Mississippi. His first novel, Spandau Phoenix, was the first of thirteen New York Times bestsellers, and his new trilogy continues the story of Penn Cage, protagonist of The Quiet Game, Turning Angel, and #1 New York Times bestseller The Devil’s Punchbowl. Iles’s novels have been made into films and published in more than thirty-five countries. He is a member of the lit-rock group “The Rock Bottom Remainders” and lives in Natchez with his two teenaged children.
The Bone Tree is a captivating story that blends multiple pivotal moments in history with modern-day racism and drug-dealing. The Bone Tree seemingly picks up where Natchez Burning left off. I had not read the first book in the series, but I was able to jump into the story without confusion because the author provided plenty of information to get me started. Because the book is told from multiple points of view, I quickly gained understanding of prior events and characters’ motivations.
Each of the main characters has their own reason for being interested in the Double Eagle group (believed to be linked to many past and present hate crimes, drug-dealing, and the assassination of JFK). Mayor Penn Cage works to save his father from being harmed by corrupt state troopers. He will do anything to insure his father’s safety. His fiance, Caitlin Masters, is a hungry reporter trying to get to the truth of the Double Eagle’s crimes and those of the Knox family who lead the Double Eagle group. FBI Agent John Kaiser is most interested in proving the Knox family was responsible for the assassination of JFK. Sheriff Dennis Walker is most concerned with getting revenge for his cousin’s death and ridding his parish of the drug dealers. Because of all these characters’ varied goals, they often come into conflict with one another. However, they all share the goal of bringing down the Double Eagle group.
I will admit I was intimidated by the size of The Bone Tree. I haven’t read a book this long in probably twenty-five years, since I borrowed and read many of my mother’s Stephen King novels. However, because the writing flows so smoothly and there is so much to keep a reader entertained, the pages go by quickly. It wasn’t anywhere as painful as I expected it to be. I found myself turning page after page without much consideration for how much I had left to read.
Part of what kept me glued to the pages was the intensity of every character. They were all very determined and they all had a lot to lose. Some characters were more level-headed than others, but even when a character acted irrationally, it was understandable. Penn was probably the least predictable and my least favorite character because he tended to not see reason. He was very smart, but only when he allowed himself to calm down enough to think things through.
The only negative about The Bone Tree in my opinion was the shifting tense and point-of-view. When the story was being told from any character besides Penn’s perspective, it was told in third person and past tense. When the story was being told from Penn’s perspective, it was told in first person and present tense. I didn’t like this and I didn’t see the point of it.
Otherwise, I thought The Bone Tree was an excellent book, full of suspense, danger, and thought-provoking material. If you like books that mix real history with fiction and conspiracy theories, you should give this book a try if you haven’t already. I recommend it to readers who like a balance between nail-biting action and in-depth thinking about the all-too-real evils in American society. I give The Bone Tree 4.5 stars. I would definitely read more books by Greg Iles. He is a talented author.