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The Bone Tree: A Novel (Penn Cage) Paperback – September 13, 2016
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"Neverworld Wake" by Marisha Pessl
Read the absorbing new psychological suspense thriller from acclaimed New York Times bestselling author Marisha Pessl. Learn more
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“Richly plotted…[and] the action-packed narrative moves swiftly to a surprising and moving conclusion.” (Publishers Weekly)
“Best-selling author Iles superbly blends past and present in his swift and riveting story line.” (Library Journal (starred review))
“The second installment of his hard-boiled Natchez trilogy finds Iles’ hero Penn Cage on even swampier, and surely deadlier, ground than before.” (Kirkus Reviews)
“Absolutely compelling… A beautifully constructed story, some extremely fine writing, and some hard-to-bear tragedy.… Everything is big about this one: its epic scale [and] its built-in readership based on the success of its predecessor.” (Booklist (starred review))
“Race relations, adultery, murder, parenthood and friendship are all smashed together to form a searing saga of remorse and revenge. . . . Better than Natchez Burning. If the third book surpasses the first two then Iles will be elevated to the highest heights of famed storytellers.” (Huffington Post)
“’Great Expectations’ transplanted to an American South laced with comparably gothic overtones. . . . Establishes Iles as this generation’s William Faulkner, usurping Pat Conroy as our preeminent Southern writer and potentially establishing him as this era’s finest American novelist, thanks to this moving and meaningful masterpiece of storytelling.” (Providence Journal)
“Filled with menace, betrayal, [and] unexpected plot twists. . . . Running through this vast enterprise is the implicit belief that crime fiction is capable of addressing - and illuminating - any aspect of human behavior, including the tragic history of race relations in 20th-century America.” (Washington Post)
From the Back Cover
Penn Cage is caught in the darkest maelstrom of his life. The death of his father’s African-American nurse has fractured his family and turned Dr. Tom Cage into a fugitive. Penn has inadvertently started a war with an offshoot of the KKK, and Penn’s fiancée, journalist Caitlin Masters, is chasing the biggest story of her career.
Both Caitlin and federal authorities believe Tom can lead them to evidence of America’s most shameful history, a time when men committed race murders to conceal a conspiracy involving the Mafia, the Double Eagles, and the assassination of JFK. In the end, all roads lead to the Bone Tree, a legendary killing site that may conceal far more than the remains of the forgotten.
Enthralling and engrossing, The Bone Tree is a masterpiece of modern suspense and the next novel in the monumental trilogy that Greg Iles was born to write.
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Having now finished The Bone Tree, my opinion is that while it is not a bad book (I don't think Iles has it in him to write a bad book), it is a book that, for the most part, left me disappointed. As a matter of fact the extent of my disappointment is such that, at this point in time, I am undecided as to whether I'll want to make the time investment to read the final book in the trilogy. However, given my sense of loyalty to Iles, there's a decent probability that I will change my mind when Unwritten Laws comes out in about a year or so.
So why was I disappointed? One reason is that the book at 816 pages (which was even a little longer than Natchez Burning) was much too long, given that very little action of consequence occurs between the characters until the last couple of hundred pages. As such, I found myself at times skimming through large passages. Much of the book is talk, talk, talk with little action and few surprises. A second reason for my disappointment is that I found the book's jumping around between the sub-stories of its many characters to be convoluted and distracting, but even more importantly, somewhat unbelievable. While I don't want to get into any details to avoid spoiling anything for the reader, I will say that the events between two of the main characters while at the bone tree, both of whom were in extremely dire straits, was so unbelievable that I found myself rolling my eyes in disbelief. A third reason for my lukewarm feeling for The Bone Tree is that I found myself starting to not care much for the main character and for several of the other "good guy" characters very much; realizing that there really was just a thin grey line between their actions and the "real bad guys." Finally, the last major reason for my feeling let down is that Iles spent so much time writing about who killed JFK and why without providing sufficient suspense and surprises to justify the amount of pages devoted to this event. For me, by the time the 'big reveal' is made known, my reaction was "big whup".
Look, I know that if you read and enjoyed Natchez Burning you are most likely going to want to read The Bone Tree no matter what my review says. Further, although hopefully not, some people reading this review are probably going to give it a "no/not helpful" vote because they don't want to believe what I've said is true. Nonetheless, I hope my review provides you with some food for thought to help in deciding if The Bone Tree is a book for you.
Hard choices are made daily and evil wins out... most of the time. But champions like Dr. Tom Cage, Penn Cage and Caitlin Masters take up the cause to fight for those who cannot fight for themselves, like Viola Turner and Henry Sexton. Dr. Tom Cage, having suffered more than most will stop at nothing to protect what he holds dear. Caitlin Masters works tirelessly to try and discover the mysteries of the Bone Tree. She finds it and discovers the true evil that lurks there.
And Penn Cage - he learns a hard lesson that justice and right and wrong aren't always clear cut. He will be tested at every turn. And he will be left questioning everything.
The themes in this book are riveting and heartbreaking: the roots of racism/modern-day racism in the south; and a conspiracy theory regarding the death of JFK (and the deaths of RFK and MLK). It is these themes interwoven with the beloved characters of Tom and Penn Cage that make this book impossible to put down.
There were parts of this novel that had me in hysterics sobbing. I divorced but living in the house with my ex-husband when I read it. At one point, I was reading it and was sitting at our kitchen table and found myself reading a part that stunned me. I cried hysterically and could not stop. I read one page over and over and was un-consolable. I could not continue on in the book. My ex happened to be in the room. We were on good terms at the time.. and he came over and even tried to comfort me.. it was not possible.
This book is gut wrenching, suspenseful novel and will turn your insides out. It will have you smiling one minute and crying and/or yelling the next. It is Greg Iles at his absolute best and one of the best novels I've read this year.
I recommend this to anyone who loves a good suspense novel and wants to read about characters who stay with you forever.
Review revised on 4/7/17
Most recent customer reviews
Great Author!! Glad to have found him.
Will pass this on. Enjoy!!!