Natchez Burning Book Review

Natchez Burning Book Review

Title: Natchez Burning
Author: Greg Iles
Published: 2014, William Morrow
No. of Pages: 800
Cover Price: $27.99 Hardcover, $12.99 Kindle

Natchez Burning, the first in Greg Iles Penn Cage trilogy (although Penn Cage is a popular character in previous novels), tells a powerful story of corruption in government and human hate during the civil rights movement of the 1960s, and also during the present day in the South. It brings some of the worst events in US history to the forefront, and although the actual events are (supposedly) fictional, they are close enough to real historical events, that the novel is both educational and eye-opening.

Penn Cage, a Southern lawyer and Mayor of Natchez is trying to save his father, Tom, a respected family physician who has treated both blacks and whites for over 40 years, from taking the blame for several unsolved murders. He is being framed not only to prevent the actual perpetrators from spending the rest of their lives in prison, but also because he is a “nigger lover,” and in their evil white world, this is reason for revenge. Tom Cage has been keeping secrets, however, and is not cooperative when it comes to clearing himself; he is obviously protecting someone and is willing to die for it.

Although the author obviously did a fair amount of research on the civil rights movement during the 1960s, he has been able to make the events seem absolutely authentic, since he grew up in Natchez, Mississippi and is able to tell the story from a personal perspective. The evil that existed in the South at that time would be difficult to explain if one did not actually experience it, and Iles allows his readers to vicariously live in the 1960s South through the unspeakable events in the novel and his characters that seem too real to be truly fictitious.

Iles has outdone himself with this novel. It is well-written and full of edge-of-seat suspense. For some, it may be a little on the long side – 800 pages – but once into the story, that issue becomes nil; the book is so fascinating there will be several short nights due to not being able to put the book down. Natchez Burning is the next-best thing to having lived through the terrible events that took place during that time. It gives readers a true feel for the magnitude of the crimes against humans that were happening, and the disgusting fact that most got away with them. This book is highly recommended – in fact it is an absolute “must read,” especially for those who are too young to have experienced what was going on during the time period. Iles has done a masterful job, and Natchez Burning should not be missed.

This book was purchased with personal funds and no promotion of the book was solicited by the author or publisher.

This book may be purchased at Amazon:
Natchez Burning: A Novel (Penn Cage)

Natchez Burning (Kindle Edition)

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