Thursday, June 18, 2015

The Bone Tree - #2 in the Greg Iles Trilogy, Natchez Burning

As you all know, I went to see Greg Iles at Towne Center Books in Pleasanton on May 3. And he was fantastic.  And as you also all know (unless you don't read my blog regularly - and you know who you are!), book 1 of his trilogy, Natchez Burning, was my top book of 2014.  So you can imagine how excited I was to read #2, The Bone Tree.  And I have to say that I was just a bit disappointed.  800 pages once is a lot.  800 pages the 2nd time is a bit tough, especially when it's only 1 year later.  I still gave it a 3.25, but that's mostly because the last 200 pages were killer.  It started strong, but by page 400, I was a little bored.  In fact, circumstances dictated that I start another book in the middle of The Bone Tree (I had a dentist's appointment, and the prospect of holding a 800-page hardcover over my head for 45 minutes was not appealing).  I was actually glad to have a break.  After I read the interloper (it was a pretty short paperback YA), I was more engaged when I got back to Iles.

In case you don't remember my review of Natchez Burning (and you know who you are - wait, did I already use that line?), which I posted on September 29 of last year, I'll give you Goodreads' synopsis of #2:

Former prosecutor Penn Cage and his fiancee, reporter and publisher Caitlin Masters, have barely escaped with their lives after being attacked by wealthy businessman Brody Royal and his Double Eagles, a KKK sect with ties to some of Mississippi's most powerful men. But the real danger has only begun as FBI Special Agent John Kaiser warns Penn that Brody wasn't the true leader of the Double Eagles. The puppeteer who actually controls the terrorist group is a man far more fearsome: the chief of the state police's Criminal Investigations Bureau, Forrest Knox.

The only way Penn can save his father, Dr. Tom Cage--who is fleeing a murder charge as well as corrupt cops bent on killing him--is either to make a devil's bargain with Knox or destroy him. While Penn desperately pursues both options, Caitlin uncovers the real story behind a series of unsolved civil rights murders that may hold the key to the Double Eagles' downfall. The trail leads her deep into the past, into the black backwaters of the Mississippi River, to a secret killing ground used by slave owners and the Klan for over two hundred years . . . a place of terrifying evil known only as "the bone tree."

Don't get me wrong; there's a lot to like about The Bone Tree.

1.  It's a very intricate plot without being too difficult to follow.
2.  It's fun to read about alternate theories regarding the assassinations of JFK, MLK, and RFK, especially since it's all made-up.
3.  #2 actually starts on the same day that #1 ended.  That definitely made it easier to pick right up again.

I mentioned how good the last 200 pages were.  They were so good, in fact, that I'm really looking forward to #3.  Go figure!  I will just mention a couple of features of the latter part of the book.

1.  There's a scene where one of the protagonists has to administer first aid to herself.  That was tough to read.
2.  About 150 pages from the end, I actually said "Oh, no.  Darn."  (I may have substituted another word for "Darn.")
3.  There were a couple of speeches at a funeral (I'm not saying whose funeral it was) that were totally mesmerizing.

Just to be clear:  I will ALWAYS read a Greg Iles.  The man is so good that I complained some about the book and still gave it a 3.25.  When you set the bar high, which he has done repeatedly, it's probably not that easy to hit it every time.  He comes pretty close, though.

1 comment:

  1. I bet his event was awesome! I have Natchez Burning and The Bone Trees to read - I need to get with it!!