Since I first read one of his books about a year ago, Greg Iles has stood out as a quality writer of historical fiction sagas. So I jumped at the chance to get an advanced copy of his upcoming book, Cemetery Road.
D.C. reporter Marshall McEwan has spent the last 30 years hiding from various moments in his past, but when he returns to his small Mississippi hometown, everything floats the the surface.
Marshall is fighting to keep hold of his dying father’s newspaper, scheming to save the woman he loves from her unhappy marriage, and looking for answers about his surrogate father’s death. By these goals out him at odds with the Poker Club, a collection of men who run the town, unofficially, and are willing to do anything it takes to achieve their goals.
Going against the Poker Club puts everything in jeopardy, even his life. And suddenly everything starts unraveling for Marshall, and in order to get his life back in order, he has to face the past and finally put it to rest.
In classic Iles style, Cemetery Road has a lot going on, and a lot of it’s traumatic. This book did seem a little more edgy or gritty than the Natchez Burning trilogy (though, it’s also been a year since I read it). It seemed to have more explicit sexual content and cursing than I recall in the trilogy.
That said, it’s still a fast-paced page turner full of twists and turns. The good guys aren’t quite as good as they appear to be, and the story seems to wrestle with the idea of the lesser of two evils.
Iles writes a different kind of political thriller. In small, rural towns, Iles writes about the powerful few who run the town, and the brave others willing to fight and die for the good of the town. Instead of spies and espionage, Iles writes about the kind of political battles that people might fight on a daily basis at home.
While I don’t think I enjoyed it as much as the Natchez Burning trilogy (what can I say, I like series), Cemetery Road was still a quality book and a good read. If you’re looking for a different kind of thriller, look for it when it hits shelves in March.