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True Evil: A Novel Hardcover – December 12, 2006

538 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Smooth prose, psychological depth and crafty plotting lift bestseller Iles's latest suspense thriller, which puts a fresh twist on a familiar theme-the cat-and-mouse game between an FBI agent and a fiendishly-clever serial killer. One personal tragedy after another has struck Alexandra Morse, a rising star in the FBI who specializes in hostage negotiation: her father's shooting death in a robbery, her mother's diagnosis of advanced ovarian cancer, and a misstep on the job that left her face scarred and a fellow agent dead. Now Alex's sister, Grace, lies dying in a Jackson, Miss., hospital after suffering a stroke. Alex arrives from Washington just in time to hear Grace say that her husband has murdered her. After Grace's death, Alex learns that Dr. Eldon Tarver, a brilliant scientist in need of funds for research into developing a biological superweapon, has teamed with a Mississippi divorce attorney who offers select clients the opportunity to avoid a protracted court fight by arranging for their spouses to die. When Alex identifies the next intended victim, Dr. Chris Shepard, she goes undercover as one of the idealistic doctor's patients and soon finds herself in a race against Tarver as well as her own superiors, who have not sanctioned her investigation. This pulse-pounder is sure to be another bestseller for Iles (Turning Angel).
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

The new novel by the author of, among others, Mortal Fear (1996), 24 Hours (2000), and (most recently) Turning Angel (2005)begins with a big surprise. Dr. Chris Shepard, a doctor in Natchez, Mississippi (where the author lives), is visited by an FBI agent who tells him two things: a local divorce lawyer has a series of clients whose spouses have all died suspiciously, and Dr. Shepard's wife paid this lawyer a visit about a week ago. Now agent Alex Morse wants Dr. Shepard to help her trap a killer. If Iles has a trademark, a single literary feature that identifies him, it's his intriguing, ordinary-people-in-extraordinary-situations premises that hook readers immediately, forcing us to read on. How will Chris Shepard, a successful doctor in a seemingly happy marriage, react to the news that his wife may be planning to have him killed? Will Alex Morse, the deeply troubled FBI agent (she's still recovering from her own brush with death), confuse professional responsibility with personal interest? Before you know it, you've reached the last page, and you're all out of breath--but you've had one hell of a ride. Plot-driven is too often used as a pejorative term; Iles shows the other side. David Pitt
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner; First Edition edition (December 12, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0739477668
  • ISBN-13: 978-0739477663
  • ASIN: 0743292499
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (538 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #173,843 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Greg Iles was born in 1960 in Germany where his father ran the US Embassy medical clinic during the height of the Cold War. After graduating from the University of Mississippi in 1983 he performed for several years with the rock band Frankly Scarlet and is currently member of the band The Rock Bottom Remainders. His first novel, Spandau Phoenix, a thriller about war criminal Rudolf Hess, was published in 1993 and became a New York Times bestseller. Iles went on to write ten bestselling novels, including Third Degree, True Evil, Turning Angel, Blood Memory, The Footprints of God, and 24 Hours (released by Sony Pictures as Trapped, with full screenwriting credit for Iles). He lives in Natchez, Mississippi.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

55 of 58 people found the following review helpful By Thriller Lover VINE VOICE on April 20, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I'm a big fan of Greg Iles, but TRUE EVIL was a big disappointment for me. The main reason I enjoy Iles is because he is highly skilled at creating unique, fascinating main characters who seem like real people. His best novels, like DEAD SLEEP and THE QUIET GAME, are genuinely exciting because you deeply care for the protagonists and genuinely fear for their safety.

Unfortunately, TRUE EVIL lacks good characters. There are too many of them in this novel and most of them are simply caricatures. Alexandra Morse, the rogue FBI agent character, is pretty much just a cliche that I've seen many times before. All the bad guys are cartoonishly evil and have no depth whatsoever. In short, this book reminded me more of a silly action movie than the character-based thrillers that Iles is famous for.

This novel is also surprisingly slow-paced and drags in the middle. There is very little mystery in this novel. From the very beginning, the reader knows who the killers are and what they're up to. There are no really big surprises or twists in this book. Most of what unfolds is quite predictable. As a result, I didn't have much incentive to turn the pages.

Greg Iles, to his credit, doesn't write the same novel twice. But I found TRUE EVIL to be a bore, because I ultimately didn't believe in most of the characters and their motivations. If you haven't read Iles yet, my advice is to try some of his earlier work, like THE QUIET GAME, which is far superior to this book.
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88 of 97 people found the following review helpful By - Kasia S. VINE VOICE on April 22, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Hands down this was one of the best books I have read in a long time. Greg Iles does a brilliant job of writing a book that reads like a movie, the plot and scenery so realistic that I had a hard time tearing myself away from the story, reading it in three sittings despite the 500 plus page span. I would suggest not reading too much of the dust jacket as it tells the reader a lot about the story and I found to be a bit of a spoiler so I waited until the book was over to read it and realized that not knowing some of those facts made the book even better.

The main meat of the story is about the wicked way in which people decide to get away from their spouses while keeping all the money without dealing with messy and long divorce procedures. Husbands and wives no longer keen on keeping their marital vows turn to Andrew Rush, a divorce lawyer who for a price gives them eternal piece of mind; he has the answer to a perfect murder that would be their solution if they proved to be capable of paying for and keeping it confidential. Working with a brilliant doctor who induces cancer or deadly diseases in people while they have no idea about it, Andrew seeks out rich and morally corrupt people to make money off the crimes they consent to. All was going well for the evil duo until they decided to kill of a wife whose sister is an FBI agent. Alexandra Morse is the heroine whose sister dies in agony telling her something that is terrifying, the dark truth about her husband and his plot that ultimately ends in her demise.

Outraged and lusting for revenge, Alex is on a mission while working on her own to prove that her sister was murdered.
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Charlean Souligne on June 11, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Greg Iles has written another page-turner thriller. It is no surprise to fans of Iles that he builds his story line and continually adds to it as each chapter unfolds. It's like peeling an onion to get to the center of the story.

His characters are complex, and as we go along, more and more details are revealed about each one.

This book has a large cast of characters. The premise is almost science fiction in nature, ALMOST. We begin to believe that a cancer-causing virus is plausible. Maybe it has already been done. If so, then the research Iles does to create his fiction is extensive.

We have all the elements of a good thriller, and evil doctor, a money hungry, greedy, manipulative lawyer, a rogue FBI agent, innocent victims, including children, government conspiracies, medical/bio agents of destruction, uncooperative government agents, and a heroine who won't give up. What more could we ask for in a thriller?

Some of Iles books are just too technical for me to follow, but this one made even the medical/technical aspects clear enough for me to understand and follow along.

The story is fast-paced, they are under a time limit to stop this evil person, and the justice at the end is fitting to the crimes committed.

All in all, this was an enjoyable read and one to keep you thinking of the implicated possibilities long after the conclusion.
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40 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Kevin Hogan VINE VOICE on January 11, 2007
Format: Hardcover
True Evil is a brilliantly conceived story of love and betrayal...and what happens next....

Returning star Alex Morse and new character Chris Shepard. Alex wants to save Chris's life but Chris doesn't see the threat from his wife that Alex does. And no one is safe in Mississippi in this 500 page thriller. Not Alex, not Chris...not anyone.

Oh, and we get to see Tom Cage again, and in more than a walk on role.

The intricately woven plot causes you to miss one nights sleep as you fly through the pages.

Iles writes like few others can. Almost as good as Turning Angel and certainly every bit as good as the five stars it gets today.

Iles just keeps writing these gems and I am thrilled that he does.

Kevin Hogan, Psy.D.
Author of Covert Persuasion
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