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MISSISSIPPI BLOOD: A Novel – #3 of the NATCHEZ BURNING Trilogy ~Greg Iles

Thursday, April 6th, 2017

“Adrenaline-fueled excitement…A very American epic.”  (Washington Post)

“The endgame is at hand for Penn Cage, his family and the enemies working to destroy them in this exhilarating final volume in the epic Natchez Burning trilogy set in modern Natchez, Mississippi – Greg Iles’s bold and ambitious story of blood and honor, violence and revenge that explores how profoundly the sins of the past haunt the present.” (Book cover)

MISSISSIPPI BLOOD is another book I could not put down.  I read it cover to cover in two sittings during a rainy, windy weekend and then took a deep breath.  The writing is intense and does not let up right to the very last couple of pages – there is no relief in the speed in this whole series. One is compelled to find out who killed Viola Turner, the young black nurse who was raped twice by a gang of KKK men and her brother was skinned alive.  Turner has come home to die but someone has sent her off before she could tell her tale and Dr. Cage is being blamed.  Penn Cage, the mayor, is trying to save his father and find the truth as he loses more of the people he loves.

After I reviewed NATCHEZ BURNING, I persuaded 10 friends to read the book.  After I reviewed #2, THE BONE TREE, I persuaded another 10 friends to read book one and then two and wait with me for book #3. There is so much in these stories that I found to be true in my younger years living in the South.  I found that there was an ingrained mythology about events and history that I had no evidence for or could I achieve some foothold in making change.  Such as so many Southern folks did not believe that the Civil War was about Slavery – nope it was about State’s Rights!!!  I found myself teaching a psychology seminar to most of my peers because the psychology that the Professor was expounding was not true or reasonable. This trilogy was about what I believed was going on and actually happening.

It is truly difficult to believe that these things happened when wrapped up in a contemporary suspense story.  It is hard to image that a writer from Natchez, Mississippi could have figured things out and been open to exposing such ideas.  Then again maybe it is the local boy who can render change in his neighborhood with stories better than outsiders.  Just maybe we need him to restructure thoughts about government in general and our last election.  Iles is a master storyteller.

TLC Book Tours  sent me an advanced copy of MISSISSIPPI BLOOD for review – It is definitely 5 Stars.

“Greg Iles spend his youth in Natchez, Mississippi.  His first novel, SPANDAU PHOENIX, was the first of fifteen NEW YORK TIMES bestsellers, including THE QUIET GAME, TURNING ANGEL, THE DEVIL’S PUNCHBOWL, which hit number one, NATCHEZ BURNING, and THE BONE TREE.  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, lives in Natchez, Mississippi, with his wife, and has two children.” (Cover)

Greg Iles Website
Greg Iles Facebook
Greg Iles Twitter

Related:
Natchez Burning
The Bone Tree

13 HOLLYWOOD APES: A Layla Remington Novel ~Gil Reavill

Monday, December 22nd, 2014

“You see? We treat people like they’re nothing, like they might as well be inanimate rocks.  But when we open up our hearts we see them as fellow creatures, then as humans, and finally as friends.” (Location 1812)

Putting on the Top Hat and wrapping myself around a lot of old movies and actors in my archives division, I curled up to see what was going on in Los Angeles in 13 HOLLYWOOD APES; I found it stylish, interesting and loaded with some meaty issues to keep my mind questioning and problem-solving.  The reader finds the first pages full of chimpanzees being shot in a sanctuary during a raging hillside fire and the first question arises; was it a mercy killer or was it murder?

Layla Remington is a detective investigator for the police substation in Malibu.  The daughter of a police officer and a person who worked her way up the ladder to her current job,  Layla has a wealth of old movies in her mental archives and a father who likes to watch them even now.   She grabs onto each question which arises and digs deeply into figuring out the answer and solving the next problem. Remington perseveres even when her superiors are running in other directions.  When she discovers the 13 HOLLYWOOD APES were movie stars and abused lab animals which were given this sanctuary for their whole lives, she becomes extremely glued to the case and figuring out the answers.  The reader journeys with Remington and may even figure the plot early on, and yet the twists are tricky making the reader want to help Layla while being well characterized, some by well-placed snippets and clues.    The pacing of the story was just right for my need to enjoy this escape.

The theme of the story I found truly captivating.  I realized I did not have an answer as to what I deeply believed about animal rights.  Are they individuals with rights, just property, slaves and what is cruel and unusual behavior towards them?   While reading this story, I read an article about a beloved dog which is healthy and fairly young being held in a shelter until it can be decided whether or not the dog should be euthanized and buried with it’s deceased owner according to the designated will or does the dog have rights to a new life contrary to the original owner’s wishes?  The courts are being challenged to decide this dog’s fate. The courts and lawyers are being challenged in 13 HOLLYWOOD APES.

I would recommend this book to those who like thrillers and I would caution this book for younger readers who are not versed in animal rights, neo-Nazi style protesters, and racist insinuations.  A smart read and I enjoyed the new information shared and thinking about animal rights from various perspectives.

TLC Booktours sent me an Uncorrected Proof ecopy of this book and I appreciated the read and style of the book very much.  Thank you for the opportunity.

About the Author:

Gil Reavill is an author, screenwriter, and widely featured in magazines, Reavill is the author of Aftermath, Inc.: Cleaning Up After CSI Goes Home,  and the co-author of Beyond All Reason: My Life with Susan Smith and the screenplay that became the 2005 film Dirty, starring Cuba Gooding, Jr.  He lives in Westchester County, New York, with his wife, Jean Zimmerman, and their daughter.  (From the ebook cover).

Gil Reavill LinkedIn
Gil Reavill Webpage 

Related:
The Condor Song 
Accidents of Marriage 
Supreme Justice
The Light Between Oceans

IN DOUBT: A Legal Thriller ~ Drusilla Campbell

Monday, December 8th, 2014

“She had participated in making herself a victim.  That was what shamed and silenced her.” (Page 138)

The writing craft of the author is what kept me in tune with this good piece of fiction, also the fact that I was driving right through the area of the story on the Redwood Highway (101) while reading the book made it fun.  I figured out the ugly truth of the story early on, but the plotting and movement of the themes made the story grab hold.

Campbell kept working on the theme of family relationships, how psychological factors play into an ugly situation, how far back the pain can originate; the human relationships and situations were vital to the story line and comprehension.  How do childhood events shape lives and change the trajectory?  What happens when the community decides the verdict and there is a mob response and vicious threats included?   How mean can people be in our current environment and how does that play out in a community?

From the cover:

“Defense Attorney Sophie Giraudo is about to open a new practice in her California hometown when the beloved governor is shot during a celebration in the town park.  The only thing more shocking than the crime itself is the identity of the would-be assassin: a seemingly gentle teenager named Donny.”

I recommend IN DOUBT for all those who enjoy a good suspenseful thriller because it is defined by a solid premise, finely crafted writing, interesting, and I think many people will enjoy the story because of the family dynamics and psychological reveals.  I think the lawyer had to be a woman for this story to find the drive and produce understanding for the reader; it made it hard to leave the story and do other activities.  I recommend this story to those who do not normally read legal thrillers because the story is not overwhelmingly violent, there is so much more depth.

“Drusilla Campbell is the author of the critically acclaimed novels When She Came Home, Little Girl Gone, The Good Sister, Blood Orange, The Edge of the Sky, Wildwood, and Bone Lake.  She had crossed the Pacific Ocean three times before she started school, and in her twenties lived in Europe and Central American.  Today she is happy to stay home in San Diego with her husband, attorney and poet Art Campbell, and their two rescued dogs and three horses.”

DrusillaCampbell.com 
Drusilla Campbell died of cancer October 2014
She won the San Diego Book Award for her last novel.

Larissa sent me a copy of this book.  It contained the study guide for book groups
Larissa Ackerman|Claire McKinneyPR, LLC
41 Main Street Suite B, Chester, NJ 07930
larissa@clairemckinneypr.com / 908-955-7579
Thank you for the opportunity to read this story and share my thoughts.

I work at being concise in my reviews because I just hate reading lengthy reviews and those wordy plot destruction spoilers.  I just want to tease your reading appetite while giving the reader a nudge.

Please Share this review – the buttons are here!  Thank you

Related
Conquering Shame and Co-Dependency 
Accidents of Marriage
Supreme Justice 
Ghost Horse

ASYLUM CITY: A Novel ~Internationally Awarded Best Selling author Liad Shoham

Monday, November 17th, 2014

“The Israeli public was indifferent to the problems Itai encountered on a daily basis.” (Page 195 of unproofed advanced copy)


ASYLUM CITY grabs the reader and holds on for dear life. What an amazing thrilling ride thru the underworld of Tel Aviv, politics, law, refugees, deportations and social workers. It is a look at problems that every country is facing right now, pinpointing Israel’s intense problems with the Eritrea-African migration to avoid the death squads in Ethiopia while at the same time being abused by the underworld, mob expectations and blaming. Everyone taking from the vulnerable, depersonalizing, and the exploiting of children; there is an edginess which opens the readers eyes to what is going on in their own country. There is a reveal of anger and hate and blame which clarifies the vision; refusing to solve the problem.

The chapters are very short and move from character to character in a very dynamic fashion allowing one to cope with the difficult sections, keeping the story moving and extremely interesting. I had a bit of trouble keeping the Israeli names straight so needed to make a list of the characters and a note about several as to whom they were related. I could not put the book down so unusual names weren’t too big of a problem at this pace. I would have not chosen this book at a bookstore and I am so glad that TLC Booktours (tour cancelled) sent this unproofed advance copy for me to read. I would never have been able understand the relationship to the Global problems of war and cruelty; the overview of the huge problem facing all the refugees worldwide is caught into a snap shot of one country’s problem. We are all doing the same things and fighting the same reactions and it is definitely not working – anywhere.

I would like to see that more people were reading this recently translated book, discussing and working on understanding and gaining an overview. I was aware of how President Obama has a huge overview and truly leads in understanding the Global perspective, what can he do or accomplish with all the hate and name-calling creating obstruction? Ignorance so often backfires with huge ramifications.

ASYLUM CITY is certainly a discussion starter!

“LIAD SHOHAM is Israel’s leading crime writer and a practicing attorney with degrees from Jerusalem’s’ Hebrew University and the London School of Economics. All of his crime novels (six to date) have been critically acclaimed bestsellers. He lives in Tel Aviv and is married with two children.”

Related:
The Contractors 
A Constellation of Vital Phenomena 
The Dressmaker of Khair Khana 
The Lemon Tree