Sunday, June 25, 2017

Mississippi Blood, Book 3 of Greg Iles Natchez Burning Trilogy

Well, I have finally finished Greg Iles' Natchez Burning trilogy.  #3, Mississippi Blood, is a mere 692 pages (vs 791 and 804 for 1 & 2).   But at times it felt a little long.  I reviewed book 1, Natchez Burning, in 2 parts - 9/29/14 and 10/2/14.  And it was my #1 book in 2014 - obviously a 4/4!  I reviewed book 2, The Bone Tree,  on 6/18/15.  And I gave that one a 3.25.  It was slightly boring in parts.  So what did I rate Mississippi Blood?  This one is a 3.5.  It had a different pattern than #2.  In MBlood, I thought the 1st part of the book was a bit slow.  Then the middle few hundred pages were very strong, centered on a trial.  And the last 80 pages of the book, although the climax, didn't really work that well for me.  But as I said at the end of my review of The Bone Tree, this is still a very good book.  That's how top-notch Iles is.  When he's not perfect, he's still a 3.25-3.5.  And as I also said in my review of TBTree, I will always read anything Iles puts out.

If you want to know what the story is about, you can go back to my earlier reviews.  For those of you who have been reading my posts through the years (a big thank you to my immediate family), I don't want to bore you.  And for the rest of you, it might be helpful to either read my reviews of 1 & 2, or even go on Iles' website or Goodreads and get the summaries.

Let me just do a quick list of the pluses (I've already listed the minuses):

1.  On pages 6-9, the story lists 2 newspaper articles which act to remind the reader of what went on in book 2.  That was a great way of giving us a recap.
2.  Iles is one of a fairly small amount of writers (at least in my experience) who write extremely well but are still very readable.
3.  I learned a bunch of fascinating stuff about the Korean War.
4.  There is one long scene during the trial that reminded me of Jodi Picoult's The Storyteller, which is still my favorite Picoult of all time.
5.  There is an editorial from a local paper that not only synopsizes the trial, but also puts it into historical perspective.  I was super impressed with how Iles did this.
6.  With much of the book centered on the trial, I learned a whole bunch about trial tactics.  It's a great way to learn.
7.  Lest you think that I didn't really care about Penn Cage, Tom Cage, et al, I will tell you that I certainly had some emotional moments.  I don't think I will ever read an Iles and not emotionally connect with his characters.  He's just too good.

When you read 2300 pages of a story, you are bound to have a few slow(er) moments (unless you're Follett).  But don't let that stop you from reading the Natchez Burning trilogy.  Besides a number of unforgettable characters, you will learn a lot about a lot of things, including at least a partial feeling of what it was like to be black in 1960's Mississippi (you can't know the true deal unless you were black and lived it).  Not every page is lighthearted (in fact, most definitely are not!).  But you will certainly get a small taste for how it was.


  1. I read the first two so long ago, I feel like I would have to do re-reads, which, given the length of his books, would take forever!

    1. He does a pretty good job of bringing you up to date. With the help of a couple of newspaper articles in the first few pages, it jogged my memory...and that's no mean feat!

  2. I'm impressed that you've finished the series - I have the whole thing and haven't even started it.

    1. Once you start reading book 1, you won't have much trouble sticking it all the way through. You will probably want some gaps between them. But they're pretty powerful and compelling.