Greg Iles

The Bone Tree

""...this is a real feat of storytelling and one that will hold your attention..." "


Former prosecutor Penn Cage faces the crisis of a lifetime. His family has been torn apart and his father made a fugitive after being accused of murdering an African-American nurse.

Now, Penn has unwittingly started a war with the Double Eagles, a violent faction of the KKK who know more about Dr. Tom Cage than Penn ever did.

Tracking his father through Natchez and beyond, Penn is targeted by criminals and corrupt police whose power reaches the top levels of state government – people who will stop at nothing to prevent the truth from coming out.

To clear Tom's name, Penn must either make a deal with the devil or destroy him. But there are others pursuing a different mission – one which will lead them to the 'Bone Tree', a legendary killing site that conceals far more than the remains of the dead.

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The first book in this series – 'Natchez Burning' – was one of my favourite books of 2014, (reviewed on Crimesquad in May 2014 by little 'ole me), so I was on tenterhooks waiting for 'The Bone Tree'. Was I disappointed? No, but it comes with caveats. More of that later. What you have is a continuation of the story as set up spellbindingly in the first book. You have the same set of fascinating characters, a sense of place that has you dripping with Louisiana sweat and a feeling of genuine concern for the people in the book as Iles skilfully weaves his tale. 'The Bone Tree' is a meaty read – from all perspectives - detailing civil rights issues that still strike at the heart of what it means to live in the US today and testing his characters until the deeds of the 'good' and the 'bad' guys are all but interchangeable. Iles' thoughts here are never more clear than when he describes the actions of Dr. Tom Cage and how his son, Penn reacts to them. Motivation towards the greater good being the thing that differentiates them. My one area of unease is the part of the book that links the KKK members, through the mafia to the assassination of JFK. If that period of history is your bag, then you'll lap it all up. For me, it felt unnecessary. Make no mistake this is a real feat of storytelling and one that will hold your attention and despite my concern as noted above, one that I wholeheartedly recommend to you.

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