Tuesday, September 20, 2016

The Bone Tree

The Bone Tree by Greg Iles
HarperCollins: 9/13/16
Trade paperback P.S. edition: 832 pages
ISBN-13: 9780062311122

The Bone Tree by Greg Iles is a very highly recommended riveting and epic Southern Gothic mystery/thriller. This is the second book in the trilogy that started with Natchez Burning and the fifth book featuring Penn Cage. Read Natchez Burning and then you will have to read The Bone Tree and Mississippi Blood, which is due to be released in March 2017.

In Natchez Burning Penn Cage and his fiancĂ©e Caitlin Masters barely survived an attack by Brody Royal and the murderous KKK faction called the Double Eagles. Now, in The Bone Tree, Tom Cage is still on the run, hiding from the evil Forrest Knox, who is trying to take the reins of the state police’s Criminal Investigations Bureau, and his uncle, Snake Knox, the de facto leader of the Double Eagles. Penn, who just wants to find his father and get him to safety, is doing everything he can to shake up the Knox family.

Caitlin, however, is still chasing what could be the biggest story of her career, solving murders that were committed decades before and still happen today. She wants to search for the bone tree. The bone tree is a huge old cypress tree that is hollow in the middle. It is growing way-back, hidden in the swamp, and rumors about it have been quietly shared for years. It is called the bone tree because there are layers of bones inside the hollow space. Some are animals, but many are human, put there purposefully to hide their murder.

FBI Special Agent John Kaiser has evoked the Patriot Act to charge the Double Eagles as a domestic terrorist organization so he will have jurisdiction over them. He knows they are responsible for numerous civil rights hate crimes over the years. The question he really wants answered is are these men, and those they worked with in the 1960's somehow involved in the assassination of JFK?

Iles continues to impress me with his incredibly details and skillful writing, intricate and complex plot twists, and well-developed characters. All of this is combined with nail-biting suspense. Really, everything I said in my review of Natchez Burning still applies to The Bone Tree:

"This is a tale of illegal activities, racism, greed, murder, corruption, and brutality, as well as the different legacies a family may be passing on to the next generation. Penn must decide if he will choose his father or truth. Penn is a crusader at heart, one who wants to right wrongs, but what if the wrongs involve his father, or result in his father's death?

"Incredible, rich, vivid, descriptive writing highlight this fast-paced, engrossing thriller. You need to realize that there are some very vivid descriptions of violent acts in Natchez Burning, but they are also crucial to the plot. Iles does an remarkable job allowing the facts and secrets to slowly emerge as characters uncover the monumental truth of the past and the present, piece by piece, and realize how far-reaching the gross injustices reach.  The character development is phenomenal. Iles has created characters that are memorable, complex, flawed, and totally believable."

I will admit that The Bone Tree seemed to read a bit slower than Natchez Burning, but I totally accept this as a symptom of it being the second book in a trilogy - it's the middle of the story. But if this page-turner is the middle, then what on earth is going to happen in Mississippi Blood? I may need to take a few days off when it is released just to read it asap.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from HarperCollins and TLC for review purposes.  


1 comment:

Heather J @ TLC Book Tours said...

I have both Natchez Burning and Bone Tree downloaded on audio to listen to as soon as I finish my current book - I'm excited to get started on them!

Thanks for being a part of the tour!