It all comes down to this. Mississippi Blood is the final installment of Greg Iles’ stunning Natchez Burning trilogy, and the author holds nothing back in his latest emotionally-charged thriller.
Penn Cage, once a successful and prominent prosecuting attorney, returned to his hometown of Natchez, Mississippi, where he now serves as mayor. Penn’s father, Tom Cage, is well-known throughout Natchez and, as a doctor, has served the community for over forty years. But he recently suffered a disastrous fall from grace and is currently standing trial for murder.
In the 1960s, Tom had an affair with his trusted nurse, Viola. This, of course, was back when racial tensions were at an all-time high in the South, and the KKK was alive and well. Viola, an African American, secretly had Tom’s son (Penn’s half-brother) and was murdered several decades later.
In the present day, Tom is accused of murdering Viola, who was on her deathbed and suffering from cancer. As the trial approaches, racial tensions once again run rampant throughout Natchez with the Double Eagles, an offshoot of the KKK, establishing their dominance and displaying a surprising amount of power.
If the KKK is Al Qaeda, then the Double Eagles is ISIS. And the savage members of the Double Eagles don’t just feel they’re justified in their raping, beating, and killing of black men and women–they also go after any white folks who stand in their way or show love and sympathy toward the black communities.
Oddly, even though he faces life in prison, Tom Cage refuses to allow his son near the trial. With his expertise and his considerable amount of experience in a courtroom from his time as a prosecutor, Penn doesn’t understand why his father won’t accept his help, but realizes it must have something to do with a deep, dark secret his father has kept hidden for a long time–and is trying to protect him from.
The elder Cage, though, is hardly the only one keeping a secret. In fact, the whole plot is built on secrets, which eventually are revealed to readers.
In need of an ally, Penn teams with a semi-famous author named Serenity Butler, who had traveled to Natchez with the intentions of writing a book about Tom Cage’s trial. Together, they investigate Doctor Cage’s past, then start to dig up everything they can on the Double Eagles and its members, both past and present.
With one shocking revelation after another, Iles keeps readers off-balance and glued to the pages with lightning-quick pacing–something truly impressive for a novel that comes in at just under seven hundred pages long.
While it’s possible readers could pick up this novel and enjoy it for what it is, you’re far better off going back and reading the first two books (Natchez Burning and The Bone Tree), which carefully introduce and develop the characters. That way, by the time Mississippi Blood begins, readers will have a better understanding and appreciation of what’s happening.
Iles jumps right into the action with this one, finally delivering what fans have waited to see–Tom Cage’s trial. And while this book is far from your standard legal thriller, there’s little doubt that Iles has written some of the most mesmerizing and brilliantly choreographed courtroom scenes in print today.
Once the trial gets underway, there’s no putting this book down. There are multiple twists, turns, and jaw-dropping surprises along the way. Readers will race through the story, furiously flipping pages to see how it all plays out on their way to learning the fate of each member of the Cage family.
Whatever it is you’re looking for in a novel–a love story, crime, mystery, history, courtroom drama, family tension–Mississippi Blood has it all and then some. Iles doesn’t disappoint, delivering a deeply satisfying conclusion to his brilliantly-written series.
Author: Gregg Iles
Series: Natchez Burning
Pages: 688 (Hardcover)
Publisher: William Morrow
Release Date: March 21, 2017 (Order Now!)