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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

Natchez Burning
The Bone Tree

KILLING SECRETS: A Nan Vining Mystery ~Dianne Emley

Monday, August 10th, 2015

A “Who Dun It?” murder mystery, which is well written and has an interesting female detective to follow around and figure out the perpetrator of the crime.  This is the 3rd book in a series about this detective and the background from the previous stories is quite good so the book can stand alone.

KILLING SECRETS has a sharp edge to the writing and although there is plenty of description, there is a precision to the writing that moves the story along and gets the reader hooked early.   Also Detective Nan Vining’s sixteen-year-old daughter Emily is very significant, as she discovers the body of her teacher and another student from her school in the story and that keeps the parental interests quite tuned in.

I chose to read KILLING SECRETS on a brutally hot day and it was a good escape from the heat.  Not the least bit flowery and fluffy, the book held my attention and kept me relating to the problems.   It held a nice twist in the plot, which brought resolution and some good chase moments and pursuit tension.   I felt like I had had an afternoon off from the heat and the pressures of the day.

I am certain a number of my readers will enjoy this book, but I do not have a great deal to say about it as it was a good read and with it’s concise writing any more reveal here could totally mess with the reader’s enjoyment of the story and I just so dislike reviews which ruin the story and plot.   Detective Nan gets the crime solved, her daughter is safe and the tough guys are arrested and put away.

The author lives in Central California and has written a great many stories and been published in many places and countries.  She has a husband, and editor, publisher, writing group, and has received lots of great support and critical acclaim for her words.  She is “ a pretty good cook and a terrible golfer.”

TLC Book Tours sent me a advanced copy for review and wow it was a fun read and Thank you for KILLING SECRETS.


Ryder: Bird of Prey
The Dead Key
In Doubt 

SHADY CROSS: A thriller ~James Hankins

Sunday, April 19th, 2015

“A small-time crook is given one shot at redemption…but sometimes being the good guy calls for doing bad things.”

SHADY CROSS is a fictional city in Indiana, big enough to have a crossroads and two major crime families.  Stokes is a small time crook who discovers a major crime gig in progress and this is the story of his crime spree in order to accomplish the right outcome.

Stokes actually makes  matters worse.  He races away from the bar on his motorcycle and forces a car off the road and into a tree and the driver is killed.  Stokes finds the driver’s back -pack full of $350,000.00 and a cell phone.   The money was to ransom the driver’s six-year-old daughter.

The cellphone begins ringing every hour and a little voice asks if her Daddy is coming to get her and they can go home.   The process and the plot thickens and the story goes at a quickened pace; the reader needs to know what is going to happen before the start of the new day.

The writing moves into twist after twist as Stokes attempts to find a missing $102,000.00 dollars that he is short.   He has to keep finding new cars to get him around on his treasure hunt.  He attempts to steal or loan the money he needs from some amazing characters that are interesting and quirky.  There is the opportunity for Stokes to evaluate his life and figure out why he left his 2 year old daughter and her mother.  Who was he supposed to be and how could he have turned out and lived his life differently?  A form of redemption emerges.

I would recommend SHADY CROSS for thriller readers.  The writing style is a bit gangsta for my taste, and yet the story line is good and the redemption theme is strongly written and saves the story.  I personally had a hard time reading the story later in the day because I tried to save the little girl from her kidnappers all night long.  Child victims are not a good theme for me.   I was quite happy that TLC Book Tours  sent me an advanced uncorrected proof to read and gave me more time with the book.

About the author from the TLC page:

Bestselling author James Hankins pursued writing at an early age. While attending NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, he received the Chris Columbus Screenwriting Award. After career detours into screenwriting, health administration, and the law, Hankins recommitted himself to writing fiction. Since then, he has written three popular thrillers, each of which spent time in the Kindle Top 100. Additionally, Brothers and Bones received a starred review from Kirkus Reviews and was named to their list of Best Books of 2013, while both Jack of Spades and Drawnwere Amazon #1 bestsellers. He lives with his wife and twin sons just north of Boston

The Dead Key
Duke City Hit 
13 Hollywood Apes

THE EXILES: A Novel ~Allison Lynn

Friday, July 19th, 2013

To be in a state of EXILE one must be in a state or period of forced absence from one’s country or home according to Webster’s Dictionary.   It was interesting to be reading THE EXILES while our news is full of a young man, Ed Snowden, who is currently experiencing an exile on the global stage.

Nate, a middle range employee on Wall Street, and his girlfriend Emily are moving from the wealthy lifestyle in New York City to a position in Rhode Island and a house that they have purchased and believe they will be able to afford.  This is a young couple in financial exile and in shock about losing their dreams and friends.   They load up their Jeep to the brim with air mattresses, clothing, their financial papers and baby arriving in their new city on a holiday weekend in time to pick up their house keys.  When they exit the reality office with their key, baby, stroller, diaper bag, and cell phones they discover that the Jeep has been stolen.

The police are helpful but the “shocks” keep rolling in as they discover they have very little cash, no credit cards or bank money available and maybe no motel room available on this holiday weekend in October.  With an officer’s assistance and because Nate had stayed at one of the fancier hotels when he was job hunting; they were able to stay in a suite, raid the mini bar, and use their bit of cash for diapers and baby food.  The first steps towards finding home and ending THE EXILE experience.

Whenever we are in shock, humans need to search their history to find relief, to open the channels for recovery towards a future.  Much of Lynn’s story is the back story of childhoods of Nate and Emily. What were they hoping for, what are they giving up and how their future hinges on caring for baby Trevor.   Thus begins a secondary story about Nate’s father George, a fairly successful international, Chicago architect, who has distanced himself from his family because buildings are just more important to him and what they will say about him in his future.  George is also on the road heading to his father’s home in Rhode Island.  George has chosen his EXILE.

The author actually understands the finances of the practice of architecture, and I truly enjoyed reading about how the money flows in and out; that there are times of feast and the corresponding famine during the rhythms of any given year or season.  There was little mention of the CFO’s role in an architect’s life, I think it could have added more dimension to Nate’s character and his review of his mother’s experience.  I was happy I could read between the lines, interpret and maybe the reader does not need to make this connection, though it weighted my analysis into the plus column.

The novel is also about Huntington’s disease and how we all fear the loss of control or having our mind controlled.  How we do not want to pass any of our weaknesses on to our children and how those fears can propel our responsibilities and our outlook.    Too many secrets, which of course improved the telling of the story and the reader turning the pages; the writer is skilled at her craft.

I found myself on the third page hoping that this story would have a happy ending and as in the way of great storytellers I was satisfied with the last pages and wishing the characters well.   I enjoyed reading THE EXILES.

Allison Lynn Books  
About the Author page 

If you purchase anything from the site from Amazon or Powell’s I will receive a few blossoms in my bouquet.  Thank you.  Donations also welcomed.

tlc logo I received an uncorrected proof copy from TLC online book tours and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishers.  I appreciated the good read and am pleased to share that there will be a giveaway copy of this book offered for a comment.  Yep!  A Free BOOK.

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The Fault In Our Stars
I Never Promised You a Goodie Bag
Lunch with Buddha & A Little Love Story (Cystic Fibrosis)
Our Love Could Light the World