I love longer reads, it’s so much easier to stay entrenched in the same story than to start a new one. And when they move as fast as Greg Iles’ Natchez Burning, these books often feel no different than one that runs half the length! This was my first Greg Iles book and it definitely won’t be my last. Iles has written a number of novels in the past, but this was his first in 5 years, having sustained life-threatening injuries in a car accident in 2011.
The cast of characters is incredibly expansive. There are layers and layers of supporting characters and their corresponding lives and histories. The chapters pass across the lives and intersections of this cast, each one revealing a little bit more about past events in tandem with present happenings. Each felt like a tv episode leading up to a season finale – thrilling, packed with action, and over too quick. It did take time to read given the length, so it’s not as if I could categorize this book as a whole as a fast read; however, the pace moved very quickly and was engaging throughout.
I really enjoyed this book, and think it would be a great one for you to add to your list for the summer. What I liked most was that there’s something better about this book than your typical thriller – the writing. I have found with this genre that though sometimes the story is there with other authors, their writing is subpar, and in some cases bad to the point that it’s distracting. That is not the case here. This is a great story with solid writing backing it up. The pages fly one after another, to the point that I found myself putting the book aside in the middle of chapters, knowing that if I were to reach the end, I wouldn't be able to stop.
As a side note, to those who are bothered by violence in books, this maybe isn’t the one for you. There are killings (attempted and successful) that occur as well as references to rape and other forms of torture. The novel is not graphic, but if you are bothered by these subjects, probably best to steer clear.
All in all, get this book - it’s perfect for your next vacation (or if you’re stuck in the office or in school all summer, this will be a welcomed respite).